Being A Sworn Virgin Is A Dying Tradition

88-year old Qamile Stema has lived most of her life as a man.

88-year old Qamile Stema has lived most of her life as a man.

The BBC has an interesting article about women cross-dressing as men and living as men in Albania. They interviewed an 88-year old woman who was, for the most part, accepted as a male in her small village. For her, Qamile Stema, she took on the role of a male when her father passed away leaving behind her sisters and mother. In the older Albanian culture, a family was seen as lost, leaderless, and vulnerable if there wasn’t a male figure in the household.

But for other women it was a form of punishment when she refused to marry. If a suitor was rejected by a young lady, this was grounds for him to exact revenge on the girls’ father and/or brother. To prevent this, the girl would cut off all her hair, wear men’s clothing, and become a “sworn virgin” for the rest of her life. Link!

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