Changing ones : third and fourth genders in Native North America

by Will Roscoe

Paper Book, 1998


Gender diversity - in the form of third and fourth gender roles - is one of the most common and least understood features of native North America. Such roles have been documented in over 150 tribes throughout the continent. Widely accepted, often considered holy, berdaches, as they have been termed, combine the work and social roles of men and women along with traits unique to their status. In Changing Ones, Will Roscoe carefully reconstructs the place of these roles in traditional tribal cultures and traces their history up to the present. The result is a strikingly different view of native North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, marriages between berdaches and non-berdache members of the same sex were commonplace, and individuals sometimes changed their gender because of a dream. Drawing on a series of case studies, Changing Ones goes on to explore the theoretical implications of multiple genders for the fields of anthropology, history, and gender studies, and concludes by offering some intriguing suggestions regarding the social origin of gender diversity and its role in human history in North America and elsewhere.… (more)



Call number



New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Griffin, 1998.



Lambda Literary Award (Nominee — 1998)
Otherwise Award (Special Mention — 2005)


Original publication date



0312224796 / 9780312224790
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