The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis, while also considering the intersection of gender with other substantive categories of identity, including sexuality, race, religion, class, disability, and nationality. Gender studies encourages scholars to think beyond common sense accounts of gender to examine its complex construction in a range of historical epochs, cultural arenas, and global processes. The field of gender studies utilizes a wide variety of innovative approaches and methodologies, broad in reach, yet unified through a critical angle of vision.
In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, we've created a resource guide (books, video & film, articles & databases) to honor the Two-Spirit and Indigenous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) communities.
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 this talk, Nick Metcalf gives insight into their 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)
To explore the resources in this spotlight, navigate to our guide on the left-hand side of the page. If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration, we've created a guide and list of resources on the Media Studies Research Guide and 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 this page.