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Here’s more information on the Yimpininni women of Australia: 

•Sistergirls don’t like to be referred to as “gays”. They prefer the term “women”. They also reject a lot of the myths about them, both from the mainstream and from Indigenous society. Firstly, they reject the claim that they are “unnatural”. A Sistergirl is born, not made. It is clear by the age of two or three if a person has been born this way, and when they get to the age of six, parents give them to older sistergirls to look after because they’re in that special category. 

•Sistergirls are distinct from the wider homosexual community, as they have their own internal law. They have their own customs, rituals, rules and leadership, and as such are a separate cultural group rather than part of an undifferentiated “gay” category defined by broad definitions of lifestyle or sexuality choices. 

•Sistergirls reject early anthropological studies of Tiwi society, which omitted their identity from the texts. Transgenderism has been a part of Tiwi custom since time out of mind, but in the old days the Sistergirls were called “Yimpininni”, and were honoured, rather than subjected to the rape, violence and marginalisation that came with western colonialism. These horrors continue to plague them, and are only increasing with each year that passes.


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