Male cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (Burma): A description of the acault

Eli Coleman, Philip Colgan, Louis Gooren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is reported. Western concepts of transsexualism, gynemimesis, transvestism, and homosexuality are not distinct categories by the Burmese. Males with cross-gender behavior are referred to as acaults. Although Myanmar is a profoundly Buddhist society, the people still have strong animistic beliefs with an elaborate system of 37 nats (spirit gods). One of these nats is a female named Manguedon who may take possession of males and impart femininity on them. The cross-gender status of the acaults is sanctioned by their spiritual marriage to Manguedon. The acaults, while not envied, are respected for their roles as shamans and seers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of sexual behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1992


  • cross-cultural studies
  • cross-gender behavior
  • homosexuality
  • transsexualism
  • transvestism

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