Ukà Playing the Zither Back to Gallery Back to Main Page



Ukà is "the woman who was born a boy" who was such a marvelous virtuoso on the bamboo zither. She came from some distance away to play for me, because she heard that I would like to hear her music. She played every night for the fortnight she was in Figel. After some confusion, I learned that she was "one-who-became-a-woman" and that Teduray were so devoid of sexual or gender competition that they believed people could select their own gender. If they didn't like being a boy, they could simply become a girl, and visa versa. Not many did this, but in the two years I was in the forest I met two such people: Ukà and "one-who-became-a-man." The latter was not a part of Figel neighborhood. Being rather old and frail, he made his living as a gambler near Upi. (See Chapter 9)

 

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