Transgender Ethnographies

Gender variance, gender diversity, and third gender generally refer to culturally nonspecific terms (in comparison to the Euro-American term transgender) to describe cross-cultural forms of gender transgression by individuals whose gender identity or expression does not match or conform to their biological sex. The anthropological ethnographic record of cross-cultural studies of gender variance has been an invaluable resource to scholars interested in the study of gender and sexuality. This entry discusses the ethnography of transgender people.

Ethnographic studies documenting the existence of gender identities that are outside the paradigm of two complementary genders (i.e., male and female) have greatly contributed to our current understanding of gender as a cultural construct. From early depictions of Native American berdaches in the 1930s to contemporary analyses of tomboys in ...

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