Native Americans and Transgender Identity

In Native culture, the term two spirit refers to someone who is an embodiment of feminine and masculine qualities. Traditionally, Native Americans accepted those with variation in gender identities and expressions, whereas Western cultures adhered to a binary view of gender as male and female. Two-spirit people were often highly respected in spiritual, medicinal, caregiving, and economic roles within their culture. As a result of the colonization of Native people and the acculturation of Christian beliefs, the two-spirit people were silenced but since have been somewhat re-acculturated into Native culture.

Traditional Native Culture

The first record of two-spirit people was reported during European expeditions to North America. Álvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a conquistador who explored what is now Texas and the southwest in 1528 to ...

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