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Monday, 18 June 2018


Women, who in their social status are men, still live in Albanian mountains.

2008-11-18 10:06

One of the last «women-men» is called Kamil, (before transformation - Kamile Stema). The youngest and eighth daughter in her family, about 80 years she swore she would never marry and would be a virgin to her death.


When she was 9, Kamile occupied the position of her father. She cut her hair short and changed dress for a man's suit. The only thing in her appearance that looks strange is the pistol she always wears in the belt.

To obtain man's status, Kamile had to line up support of 12 adult men, who were implied to watch her keeping her vow of chastity. In a patriarchal rural society «transformed» virgins had much more freedom than socially humiliated women, and no-one cared for possible sexual reorientation of «women-men». Kamile nostalgically remembers the long talks in a circle of men smoking tobacco, shepherding goats in far meadows, Friday prayer in a mosque among men, and other moments she would never had if she was a usual woman.

When she was asked whether she ever put on an apron to wash the dishes, Kamile answered: «I'm not a woman». But she doesn't forget of some drawbacks of her double being.

On her sister's wedding one jealous man tried to kill her, when she came close to his wife in a dance. Another trouble was the necessity to sit together with men in the meetings during menstruation.

Her mother and sisters died long ago, nephews left the village, she lives alone and doesn't feel pity for choice or her fate. Kamile criticizes modern representatives of the sterner sex, as they lost courage and manliness, as they obey women and follow women's caprices.


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