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Who are "Two-Spirits"? PDF Print E-mail

CatlinDance_to_the_berdaTwo-Spirit people are defined as LGBT and gender-variant members of the Native American community. The term “Two-Spirit” was coined in 1990 by queer Native Americans gathering in Winnipeg. Many contemporary LGBT Native Americans use the term “Two-Spirit” to maintain cultural continuity with their traditions. In many of our cultures, some individuals possessed and manifested a balance of both feminine and masculine energies, making them inherently sacred people.

The English language phrase “Two-Spirit” originated primarily in urban Native American contests and is not necessarily meant to be translated into Native American languages, as the meaning may change or the term may not be appropriate. (Adapted from Two-Spirit People by Jacobs, Thomas, and Lang, University of Chicago, 1997).