Sekrata

The importance of anatomical differences and their correlation with psychological differences essentially outline the boundaries of gender and sexuality in different cultures. How important femininity and masculinity are dictate whether or not people can transition between genders or have homosexual relationships. The Sakalavas of Madagascar contain a sect of effeminate males: the Sekrata. The Sekrata are males that are seen to have feminine features or behaviours from a young age and therefore assume feminine gender roles in the society (Ellis). These gender-crossers both speak and behave in traditionally feminine ways, which is why they are treated as female.

The Sekrata do not consider themselves to be males but rather identify, and are seen as, “real” women (Perkins). Sometimes the Sekrata even forget their true sex, behaving as women by wearing their hair long, putting silver coins in their ear lobes, and wearing multiple bracelets on their arms, wrists, and ankles (Bloch). They do not fulfill male duties such as serving in the military or tending to the cows. Unlike in Western civilizations, this gender-queer behavior is completely accepted by the Sakalavas. In fact, if a sekrata is insulted, they can put a curse on the offender to bring harm to them (Bloch).This viewpoint within the Sakalava culture emerges from the belief that if a man has an effeminate body and carries themselves in an effeminate way, then they must be psychologically effeminate. This is the case of the Sekrata, where their abnormally abundant level of femininity leads them to be pushed into becoming a transgender or a homosexual person.

 

Works Cited

Ellis, Albert. “Constitutional factors in homosexuality: A re-examination of the evidence.” Advances in sex research (1963): 161-186. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Perkins, Roberta. “Transgender, Transsexual, Gender Identity, Gender Diversity.” Polare 9: Cross-Dressing Magic. 1 Oct. 1995. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
Bloch, Iwan. Anthropological Studies on the Strange Sexual Practices of All Races and All Ages. The Minerva Group, Inc., 2001. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

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