A mistranslation of Burmese အခြောက် (a.hkrauk /ăhcauʔ/, “dry article; homosexual man”), from အ (a. /ă/, noun-forming prefix) + ခြောက် (hkrauk /hcauʔ/, “dry”). Apparently introduced before 1987 by Coleman et al. (see quotation below) who had an "inability to speak the local languages" and a "lack of training in anthropology".
acault (plural acaults)
- A male who has special role in Myanmar folk religion and behaves in a way usually associated with women.
- 1990, Eli Coleman, “Paradigatic Changes in Our Understanding of Homosexuality”, in Sexology: An Independent Field, page 117:
- Because Manguedon is the spirit who controls success and good fortune, acault become an important intermediary between those seeking good fortune and success and the -[sic] spirit god.
- 2009, Michael G. Peletz, Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, →ISBN, page 156:
- Recall in any event that is not unusual, as Coleman et al. (1992:317) reported, for a male to have sexual relations with an acault or, presumably with someone in one of the other lexically marked subject positions, […]
The proper term in Burmese is နတ်ကတော် (natka.tau). In Myanmar, these spirit mediums may be female or male, and may or may not be transgender or cross-dressing, although they do wear costumes during ceremonial rituals when channeling spirits called "nats" in Myanmar. Homosexuality is not necessarily implied with spirit mediumship.
- ^ Eli Coleman; Philip Colgan; Louis Gooren (June 1992), “Male cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (Burma): a description of the acault.”, in Archives of Sexual Behavior, volume 21, issue 3, DOI:10.1007/BF01542999, pages 314, 320. Note versions of the paper were presented at conferences in West Germany and the United states in 1989.
- Addy Chen; Jack Arayawongchai; Sovannara (Thaiy) Kha; Nguyen Van Trung (February 2007), “Young Activists Reflect on Identity, Community, and Diversity Among Asia’s MSM”, in amfAR, retrieved 2021-12-20: “Another way we can reach MSM is through certain transgenders called Nat-Gadaw who act as interpreters of the spirit.”
- Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière (2005), “The Taungbyon Festival: Locality and Nation-Confronting in the Cult of the 37 Lords”, in Monique Skidmore, editor, Burma at the Turn of the 21st Century, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, →ISBN, OCLC 875895284, page 65