Stana Cerović

Stana Cerović (1936–2016) was a Montenegrin sworn virgin in rural Montenegro. He was part of the practice that permitted Albanian and Montenegrin people who were assigned female at birth to take on the gender role of men. By the time of his death, he was known as the last such virgin in his country.

Stana Cerović
Born1936 (1936)
Died1 August 2016(2016-08-01) (aged 79–80)
Known forLast Montenegrin sworn virgin


Stana Cerović was born in 1936 in a village near Šavnik, Montenegro, as the daughter of Anda and Milivoje Cerovic.[1] He had three sisters and two brothers, both of whom died in childhood. In response, he promised his father that he would continue to look after the family and live as a man. He began dressing male, and only socialised with men. Cerović began to smoke when he was five, and worked in the fields on his father's farm at seven. At a young age his mother was resistant of the masculine qualities that Cerovic’s father was reinforcing, and before Cerovic’s oath was taken, his mother continuously tried to change his dressing, and the chores he participated in.[1][2] Cerović learned traditionally male skills,[3] including being taught to shoot by his father.[2] He showed a passion for hunting and shooting throughout his life, and typically joined the men on their wolf hunts, despite not having a hunting license. When a shooting club was founded in a nearby village, he applied for membership, but was turned down. He later showed up at a tournament organized by the club, and after seeing all the men miss the mark, he took it upon himself to leave the audience and grab a rifle. His first shot hit the mark proving that he was an excellent marksman.[4]

This was all part of becoming a sworn virgin, a traditional Balkan cultural institution whereby females would take on the role of men and remain unmarried and without children throughout their life. Over time, this practice became accepted, because it does not conflict with any of the three major religions practiced in the Balkan region; Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Although many sworn virgins were forced into the practice due to familial needs, or blood feuds, Cerović was proud of his masculine identity and believed that it was nature that was at fault for his biological sex.[5] He continued to live in his village for his entire life, raising cattle.[6] At 35 Cerović became head of the household[2] and remained in his parents′ home following their deaths, where he looked after his sisters.[5] Following the death of his closest sister Vukosava, he became very distraught. Vukosava was the sister that typically helped him with most of his tasks in the fields, and they worked together often as brother and sister.

After being injured by one of his cattle in 2015, he sold them off. After being featured on Montenegrin television, offers of assistance to Cerović were made from around the country, such as travelogues offering him more exposure to the public eye, and news articles asking for monetary aid on his behalf.[7] The local authorities arranged for him to be moved to a care home in 2016 at a house in Risan for the elderly poor.[1][8][2] It was reported by Montenegrin state television in early August 2016 that he had died.[9] By the time of his death, he was considered to be the last sworn virgin in Montenegro.[2][10]


  1. ^ a b c Marjanović, Vera. "The last man of Montenegro". KOSMO. NACH OBEN. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Knezevic, Gordana (13 June 2016). "The last 'sworn virgin' of Montenegro". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Posljednja crnogorska virdžina". Al Jazeera (in Croatian). 9 February 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  4. ^ Laurence Hérault. Les ”vierges jurées” : une masculinité singulière et ses observateurs. Sextant, 2009, pp. 273–284. <halshs-00438673>
  5. ^ a b Bremmer, Jan N. (2014-06-27). From Sappho to De Sade (Routledge Revivals): Moments in the History of Sexuality. Routledge. pp. 153, 155. ISBN 978-1-317-67124-4.
  6. ^ Interview with Stana Cerovic made by the journalist Miomir Maroš for the Montenegrin National Television RTCG in 2004
  7. ^ 2014 interview with Stana Cerovic for the Montenegrin national television
  8. ^ Slavujević, Svetlana. "Help needed for the last CG Virginia". RTCG - Radio Televizija Crne Gore - Nacionalni javni servis. TVCG. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Balkan country's last 'sworn virgin' dies in his 80s". New York Post. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  10. ^ "Montenegro's last 'virgina' dies". Seattle Times. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2017.