Berdache refers to a two-spirited
person in Native American culture. The berdache has both masculine
and feminine qualities. In its modern usage, it has become an
umbrella term to refer to gender-variant people. In traditional
Native American culture, however, these two-spirited persons make up
what were considered the third and fourth genders: the masculine
female and the feminine male.
More About Berdarche
While modern bias may view
two-spiritedness as an inferiority, traditional Native American
culture regards the berdache highly. They were considered important
institutions by the different tribes, and held spiritual roles. By reclaiming the term, LGBT activists, especially those
with Native American lineages, are reminding people of the acceptance
and respect that gender non-conforming people deserve.