from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Usage Problem Among certain Native American peoples, a person, usually a male, who assumes the gender identity and is granted the social status of the opposite sex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Among Native Americans, a person who identifies with any of a variety of gender identities which are not exclusively those of their biological sex; a transgender person.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

North American French, from French bardache, catamite, from Italian dialectal bardascia, from Arabic bardaj, slave, from Persian bardah, prisoner, from Middle Persian vartak, from Old Iranian *varta-.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French bardache, from Italian bardascia, perhaps from Arabic بردج (bardaj, "slave"). Compare bardash.


  • So, Annie says 'No, berdache is not transgender, either.'


  • Until recently I would have used the generic anthropological term berdache - but I recently found out that it is considered disrespectful by most Native Americans - and I am truly sorry for my use of this word in the past.

    Thomas Paine's Corner

  • Two-spirited ones (formerly known as berdache) were commonly found in many Amerindian cultures.

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  • Explained to the idjit about how offensive the word berdache was, about how it didn't mean lesbian or gay.


  • Most Native American tribes formally recognize -- and honor -- human homosexuality and transgender in the role of the 'two-spirit' person (sometimes formerly known as berdache).


  • A male warrior could marry a berdache, which is a male that takes on the roles and positions of a female.

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • The tribe watched what he took with him as he ran out, and if it was the basketry materials they reconciled themselves to his being a 'berdache'.

    Two Spirits

  • The Native Americans call these homosexuals or hermaphrodites "berdache".

    American Chronicle

  • The term "berdache" is considered by most in the culture to be insulting.

    The Full Feed from

  • The Crow people, for example, recognized a third gender, or berdache, understood by natives as "two spirit" people possessed of both maleness and femaleness and, in many tribes, permitted to marry partners of the same sex.

    Elizabeth Abbott: Is New York's Gay Marriage Truly Historic?


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  • "Okay, in some cultures we're considered freaks," she went on. "But in others it's just the opposite. The Navajo have a category of person they call a berdache. What a berdache is, basically, is someone who adopts a gender other than their biological one....The berdaches are the shamans of the tribe. They're the healers, the great weavers, the artists."

    —Jeffrey Eugenides, 2002, Middlesex, p. 489

    August 17, 2008