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Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 313–321 | Cite as

Male cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (Burma): A description of the acault

  • Eli Coleman
  • Philip Colgan
  • Louis Gooren
Article

Abstract

Cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is reported. Western concepts of transsexualism, gynemimesis, transvestism, and homosexuality are not distinct categories by the Burmese. Males with cross-gender behavior are referred to as acaults. Although Myanmar is a profoundly Buddhist society, the people still have strong animistic beliefs with an elaborate system of 37 nats (spirit gods). One of these nats is a female named Manguedon who may take possession of males and impart femininity on them. The cross-gender status of the acaults is sanctioned by their spiritual marriage to Manguedon. The acaults, while not envied, are respected for their roles as shamans and seers.

Key words

cross-gender behavior transsexualism transvestism homosexuality cross-cultural studies 

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References

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eli Coleman
    • 1
  • Philip Colgan
    • 1
  • Louis Gooren
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Free University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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