(Boylove Documentary Sourcebook) - The "Bate" Third-Gender Class of the Crow People of the United States

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The Crow bate Osh-Tisch ("Finds Them and Kills Them"), on the left, seated with a female companion, possibly The Other Magpie, a Crow warrior woman, ca. 1877–1878. Fort Keogh, Montana Territory, United States. Photograph by John H. Fouch.

From Patterns of Sexual Behavior by Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach (New York: Harper & Brothers and Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1951).

Note: The Crow term bate can be translated as "not man, not woman".[1]

Sodomy apparently is absent among the Crow Indians, although oral-genital contacts are fairly frequent. A few Crow men adopt women’s dress and mannerisms, and live alone. Adolescent boys and occasionally older men visit these bate, as they are called. The bate stimulates the boy’s genitals orally. One informant stated that there were four such men in his community and that seventeen of his adolescent friends visited them occasionally.

Young Indians hunting. Illustration by Pierre Joubert (1910–2002).


  1. Sabine Lang, Men as Women, Women as Men: Changing Gender in Native American Cultures, trans. John L. Vantine (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), p. 248.

See also