- Shamans in many cultures perform alternative gender and other cultural, societal, and kinship roles different from those locally deemed “normal.” Some male shamans adopt the costume of women, while some female shamans adopt that of men. They may do so to indicate their difference from the rest of the community or to show that they have formed an intimate, even sexual and/or marital, relationship with an otherworld, other-than-human, or spirit person of the same gender. Transvestitism may be temporary, a part of specific performances, or permanent, a sign of a distinctive everyday identity.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.