This cultural and psychological study of gender identity and sexual development in a New Guinea Highlands society includes rich material on initiation rites and socialization studies, and contrasts the Sambia with other societies, including the United States. For example, Sambia boys experience ritualized homosexuality before puberty and continue this practice until marriage, after which homosexual activity is prohibited. The implications are developed cross-culturally and contextualized in gender literature.
Gilbert Herdt, Ph.D. is Director and Professor of the Human Sexuality Studies Program and Professor of Anthropology at San Francisco State University. He is also the founder of an interdisciplinary research institute-- Institute on Sexuality, Inequality and Health--and Director of National Sexuality Resource Center at San Francisco State University. He has served on more than 10 international committees or agencies, 8 major national committees and academic committees (NIMH, SSRC), and approximately 15 departmental and university-wide committees at 4 American universities. Dr. Herdt is the recipient of various awards and research grants, including the William Simon Henry Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and a Pre-doctoral Fulbright Scholarship to Australia. Dr. Herdt's research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Ford Foundation, Spencer Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association, International Academy of Sex Research, and Royal Anthropological Institute (UK).