American Indian Berdache

496 Words2 Pages
The main point of the article is that in many cultures, there are alternatives to “man” or “woman” and that not all countries agree with the Western culture’s strict classification of male and female.

Supporting Evidence
The author, Walter L. Williams, first provides evidence of his main argument at the onset of the article. Before even introducing the berdache, Williams explains that Western tradition is often viewed to be normal, and anything outside of those norms may be considered abnormal. Williams then explains that to an invididual raised under Western ideals, gender is often viewed simply as male or as female. The concept of an alternative to “man” or “woman” is then introduced, prior to discussing the American Indian berdache transition. By providing context before introducing the main subject, Williams is able to convey his main point to the reader more effectively. At the conclusion of the article, Williams introduces the
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Williams begins the article by explaining that the western convention of a male-female gender binary is not consistent with other views throughout the globe. As evidence of an additional perspective, Williams introduces the berdache tradition, an American Indian gender. Berdache are born male physically, but are not masculine and do not fill society’s typical male roles. As berdache is not a concept present in western culture, Williams conveys berdache as being somewhere between male and female. Following an introduction of the berdache and their behavior, Williams explains a brief history of American Indian religions and the spirit of the berdache. An important point worth noting is that a boy is only considered a berdache once the child makes the proper move, meaning that the status is not forced upon an individual. At the conclusion of the article, Williams mentions that American Indians encourage respecting nature, so if a person is born “different”, there is typically not an initial instinct to fight nature’s
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