Talk:berdache

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definition & usage[edit]

  • berdache is an outdated and derogatory term; additionally "Indian" for native American and "transvestite" for crossdresser are considered pejorative terms; and neither the terms transgender nor crossdresser accurately describes two-spirited people Nicoleta 18:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    There are two issues here. Firstly, you changed the plural form but offered no evidence for it. (The current citation uses a different plural.) Secondly, your change to the definition, while not something I particularly object to, suggests that it's only used "historically", which is also argued against by the fact that we have a citation from 2005. Ƿidsiþ 18:22, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    It is a historical term, at least for proper usage, just as "homosexual" for gay/lesbian, "transvestite" for crossdresser, & "hermaphrodite" for intersexed are still used today, that doesn't mean these terms are accepted, they're considered pejorative by their respective communities, and should be avoided; "hermaphrodite" in particular is considered very offensive, and I have seen it used in academic papers written within the last decade Nicoleta 18:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    Regarding the plural form, I can pull up references to "berdaches" if you like, it's from Spanish, the plural form in both languages uses -s. Nicoleta 18:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    It's not from Spanish, but anyway I've added berdaches as a valid plural form. I've also changed the wording. The word isn't "used historically": it's still used in plenty of contexts without comment. I am not arguing that it's seen increasingly as pejorative, but we have a Usage Note to explain that. Ƿidsiþ 18:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    additionally, the citation gives a close-minded view of two-spirited people, portraying them as transgendered, describing them as CD/TG is ethnocentric and doesn't account for the complexity of gender in native American society; the author also uses the offensive and historical term "sodomite" in his title, this is not a very good citation for usage of the word or representing two-spirited people Nicoleta 18:33, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    Look, this is important: the citations are not there to explain the concept described by a word. They are there to show that word's use, whether in socially approved ways or otherwise. You are perfectly welcome to stick another couple of cites in if you want, but try to consider linguistic criteria as well as politically correct ones. Ƿidsiþ 18:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    I'm copying & pasting this discussion to the berdache talk page, so other people can contribute as well. Nicoleta 18:40, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    OK sounds good. Ƿidsiþ 18:41, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I'd suggest just changing it to "A pejorative term for a two-spirit." Describing two-spirits (berdaches) as CD/TG is close-minded and ethnocentric, and not accurate. Nicoleta 18:45, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    I don't mind the current definition too much -- although cisgendered is a horribly jargony word to have in a definition. But why remove the TG reference? The OED's def of "transgender" is "Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender, but combines or moves between these." In my view, that's an excellent description of what you are trying to say with this def, and in that sense "transgender" has the same meaning as "berdache" for many users of the word(s). Ƿidsiþ 19:05, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    See the definition under two-spirit; "transgender" usually specifically refers to someone who's gender identity is trans (across from, opposite to) their biological sex, someone who has two genders (bigender), a mixed gender (e.g. an androgyne), or is third-gendered wouldn't fit under that definition, though they're still often described as transgender (sense 2) when the word is used as a catch-all for anyone with non-cisgendered gender identity or expression Nicoleta 19:14, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    Except that even a cursory look at usage on Google Books shows that it isn't; you are inventing definitions based on how you think words should be used, and not on how they are, in fact, used. Well, I've had enough of this for tonight, I will review it all tomorrow. My advice to you is start with citations and work backwards, you might surprise yourself. Ƿidsiþ 19:18, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    "Cisgender" is only seen as jargony because people who're cisgender don't realize all the strife they're missing out on, for example, often I hear people making statements about "women" when they're actually only referring to ciswomen; people in a privileged class tend to not realize their privilege; saying "all women have vaginas" is not correct linguistically, politically, or medically Nicoleta
    Once again you are confusing political issues with linguistic ones. "Cisgender" might owe its unfamiliarity to unfair social privileges, but it is not the job of a dictionary to fight that battle. (Similarly, for many people women means exactly those people who are biologically female; the fact that you would like the definition to be different doesn't automatically make it so. We have to base definitions on ACTUAL USAGE.) Ƿidsiþ 06:32, 23 April 2010 (UTC)