Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 07:28
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I think we can all agree that our binary two-gender system leaves little room for personal happiness.  Strict gender roles are more than discrimination against the LGBT community.  The absolute masculine/absolute feminine dichotomy enslaves women, undermines relationships, and fosters self-hatred in our children.  No one is happy living in a culture where there's one ideal for all. 

So, yesterday, when I saw this link to an article on how Native American people celebrated five genders: the male, the female, the two spirit female, the two spirit male and transgendered it gave me hope.  The conquering Spaniards, French and even the Brits were totally freaked when they saw Native Americans like this New Mexican "man" walking around town in female got their Catholic up...big surprise.  But their fear for the "Two Spirit" was the fire that lead to the destruction of Native populations. 


Colonizers even destroyed Aztec codices because they didn't want this gender fluid/two spirit concept getting back to their home countries.  It was one of the reasons they separated Native children from their families and sent them to boarding school - to eradicate this tradition of tolerance and even appreciation.  Two spirit people were revered by their tribes.

If we had incorporated Native American traditions and beliefs into our culture instead of marching them across the Plains and giving them all TB, how amazing would it have been - I could fantasize about it all day.  Lately, I've been feeling this incredible pull towards the Midwest especially New Mexico and the former Navajo territories.  They are part of this land in a way no other people have been, connected in time and space to the birth of this continent.  

As we unravel the past and better understand our humanity, I want my son to grow up in a world where the Two Spirit is acknowledged and celebrated.

Here is a documentary on the concept of the Two Spirit and the tragic death of a young Navajo boy (thank you, Marisa for the links):

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Links to View Two Spirits

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 15:42
Marisa Black

If you'd like to watch the Two Spirits documentary, see this post from 2011: