BERDACHE OR TWO SPIRITS
Berdache is generally a male who takes on the roles of women and who may also dress as a woman and engage in sexual intimacy with men. Berdache also refers to a transvestite or a person given to transvestitism.
Transvestitism is the practice of wearing or desire to wear the clothes of the opposite sex, esp. as a sexual stimulus.
More recently, the term Two Spirits, which has traditional roots, has been preferred. This status was found in several North American First Nation's cultures and is interpreted as a way of integrating deviant members into cohesive, small societies.
While the term berdache is sometimes used to refer to women who take on male roles there do not appear to have been female berdache in North America and authors tend to prefer the term amazon to describe these women.
The terms berdache or two spirits and amazon are important parts of the anthropology of gender and sexuality and reveal the social or cultural construction of gender.
American Indian and Alaskan Native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and
two-spirited individuals (two spirits) are a drastically understudied and underserved
group, at risk for multiple health and mental health problems. There are no national,
quantitative, representative studies of this population on any topic. This application, in
response to PA-01-096, is for a FIRST TIME R01 by a NEW INVESTIGATOR. Building upon solid
preliminary data, it proposes three innovative and significant aims. First, we will
conduct structured survey interviews with 400 two spirits drawn from six sites across the
U.S. With these interview data, wewill test a theoretical model of stress and coping
specific to this population. Sub-aims are to (a) establish preliminary prevalence rates of
trauma and health outcomes (i.e., HIV sexual risk behaviors, alcohol and other drug use,
and mental health indicators); (b) test the direct associations between trauma and health
outcomes; (c) determine how cultural and spiritual coping factors moderate the effect of
trauma on health outcomes; and (d) examine the mediating role of substance use on the
trauma-HIV sexual risk behavior and trauma-mental health relationships. - Abstract -
Health Survey of Two-Spirited Native Americans - WALTERS, KARINA L.
The second aim is to test the, feasibility of an innovative non-probability sampling methodology that combines targeted, partial network, and respondent-driven sampling procedures in order to approximate a representative national sample of two spirits. Additionally, we will test the feasibility of two different mechanisms (agency based vs. census based) by which we execute this sampling method. Our results will contribute toward the refinement of a sample strategy useful in studying other hidden and stigmatized populations. Our third and final aim is to conduct a qualitative study involving 12 focus groups and 60 key informant interviews in order to identify emergent themes regarding stressors and coping strategies specific to two spirits. Through the course of this project, we aim to develop the research infrastructure at the six community agencies comprising our participant recruitment sites in order to facilitate future goals of designing and evaluating interventions to address the urgent needs of two spirits.
Transsexual is an individual who has physically crossed the boundary between the sexes and thus becomes the other sex. While movement may be in either direction, more transsexuals are men who have become women.
Western cultures have been criticized frequently for being extremely dualistic in gender or sexual identities, making little room, or no room, for a third or fourth sex.
Hinduism by contrast has an elaborate repertoire of sexual transformations, bisexuality and sexual expression. The term transgender is now preferred since it clearly suggests that sexual categories are themselves social constructions.