Women who become men in the Balkans

Throughout the Balkan region, some women take on male roles and appearance. They are referred to, in English, as sworn virgins. Slate, among other publications, carried a photo essay of several sworn virgins of Albania. The anthropological and related literature on sworn virgins is thin. Some studies refer to the women as “cross dressers,” which seems to be an inadequate label. It is unclear whether the practice is dying out or continuing as always.

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