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Gender Studies

The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis.

Getting Started

This page provides suggested resources (books, video & film, articles & databases) relevant to Two-Spirit Identity and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Indigenous Identity.

The term Two-Spirit (2S, 2Spirit, Two Spirit, Twospirited) was coined in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg. The term is a pan-Indian, umbrella term used by a number of Indigenous Native Americans to describe Native Peoples who fulfill traditional third-gender or variant-gender roles in their communities and cultures. The term is generally accepted but faces controversy from critics who consider it as reinforcing western notions of binary gender or attempting to erase terms that already exist in traditional communities for gender-variant members. 

Acceptance, treatment, status, and rights of LGBTQIA Indigenous peoples and Two-Spirit individuals have varied historically. Contemporary understandings of Two-Spirit identity and what it means to be Indigenous and LGBTQIA vary greatly from tribe to tribe. We hope the resources collected in these pages will help readers gain a nuanced understanding of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity. 

In his talk, Nick Metcalf gives insight into his experiences being a two spirit, and explains why gender fluidity is necessary in today’s world.

Further Reading & Resources
Annotated Bibliography on LGBTQ/TwoSpirit Native Americans and First Nations People (ALA - GLBTRT)
How Indigenous Communities Can Support Two-Spirit People (Black Girl Dangerous)
8 Things You Should Know About Two Spirit People (Indian Country Today)
Indigenous Identity and the Significance of the Term "Two-Spirit" (them: inqueery)
Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures (PBS)

Next Steps
If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration of Indigenous communities and identity, we've created a guide with list of resources, as well as a playlist featuring Indigenous musicians, on the Media Studies Research Guide. There is also an overview of Indigenous Philosophy on the Philosophy Research Guide. 

For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at the Land Acknowledgment section on the left-hand side of home page.

Suggested Keywords for Searches

Suggested Keywords for database searches relating to Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous identity: 

  • Indigenous
  • Aboriginal
  • Native
  • Race
  • POC (people of color)
  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color)  

 

  • Queer
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender
  • Identity
  • Sexuality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Two-spirit (sometimes "two spirit", "two spirited" or "two-spirited")
  • LGBT
  • LGBTQ
  • LGBTQ2S

 

  • Gender studies
  • Gender
  • Colonial(ism)
  • Decolonial(ism)
  • Decolonizing