sworn virgins

sworn virgins is the term used to describe biological females in the balkans who have chosen to live as men.  this historical practice dates back to the kanun states whose laws relegated women to the status of property and forbade them to vote, drive, wear pants, smoke, swear, or own guns.  women who chose to become sworn virgins or burnesha were given the same elevated status as men in exchange for adopting traditionally male mannerisms and attire.  as their name connotes, sworn virgins took a vow of lifelong celibacy. today, only a few sworn virgins remain, and photographer jill peters captured the images below:


images by jill peters via feature shoot

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful kernal from a far off nook of the globe. Work with lots of trans folk here in SF and appreciate other cultures translations……


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