- Fritz Graf
The wearing of a dress of the opposite gender during *ritual. Ritual transvestism belongs to rituals of reversal where the values of ordinary life are temporarily abandoned; it is often combined with functionally similar rites, as in Dionysiac rituals (see dionysus). It is a special case of ritual change of dress; a structural equivalent is the taking up of freedmen's dress by Roman citizens during the Saturnalia (see saturnus). In Greece it occurs in many rituals, among them those which were understood as transformations from initiatory rituals (e.g. *Oschophoria; see initiation) where a temporary role reversal was characteristic for marginality. Persons who perpetually live on the margins of society might perpetually wear transvestite attire, as did the eunuch priests of *Cybele (see eunuchs, Religious).
- Greek Myth and Religion