non-native people using the term two-spirit to mean trans* identified (or using the term to identify themselves). it’s not. really, i promise, it’s that simple. for the record two-spirit is an pan-indian (pan means all, yes virginia there is more than one type of indian) term that was agreed upon at a conference of native QTBLG people as a term to idenitfy one’s self as native and queer. why is this important? because modern sexuality can and often is a colonizing force (read settler homonationalism by morgensen). in addition, sexuality does not happen in isolation it is within our experiences as indigenous peoples who exists as in nations that continue their imperialistic actions, policies, and violence.
example, me as a queer native woman could use the term two spirit. i am cis, femme identified, and light-skinned; it is still appropriate for me to use the term and not be offensive. i don’t use it cause i have some issues with pan-indianism being new to it cause i’m tlingit from alaska and it’s different up there.
so end story, if you’re white and talking about how you want to use/identify with the term two-spirit, it is wrong and offensive. Additionally, it’s even worse if you start spewing romanticized bullshit about two genders in one body, opposite gender in another body, more than one gender, etc… why? because although some tribes and nations (oh yeah, btw, there’s a lot of us and we’re different. we’re not just all indians) did have different ways of conceptualizing genders and models that could reflect current trans* narratives and discourses that could reflect that line of thinking; that’s just it, it was a different way of conceptualizing gender. so by continuing to impose colonial sexuality conceptions upon it, you’re continuing to erase indigenous identities, our varied and different cultures, and the fact that we are different people and nations.
to my indigneous peeps, let’s have fun with the term and continue to enrich it with our own amazing and different experiences of being queer/LBGT/fabulous/non-heterosexual/gender fucking/basically being our sweet native selves.
(oh, and DO NOT even think that admiring us and saying how it’s all sunshine and fucking daises with native communities in regards to queerness and how you like the term so much because of the above logic.) if you like it cause it’s awesome to not have a term that is not occurring in isolation or upholds a single identity politic, go for it, cause it is pretty fucking awesome.
/finally putting my degree to use.