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Native American
Two Spirit

 

On The
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Personal
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Diversity in the
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National
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LGBT


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Latino LGBT


Safe Schools
Coalition
LGBT Resources for
Youth of Color


Black Stripe

LGBT Hispanic
& Latino Report


Queer Asian Pacific

 

Two Spirited Tradition

Out History: Gay Native Americans

 


 


 



LINKS

Univ Fla LGBT:
Supportive Religious
Resources

 

ChristianGays

GLBT Struggles
And Religions


Erratic Impact:
Queer Religion


Gay Religion


Gay-Friendly
Churches

 

Washington Blade

African Ancestral Lesbians United for Social Change


National Black
Justice Coalition

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Multicultural Concerns for LGBT Persons


Gay Pride: Are Black Gay Men Proud?

What it's Like to be LGBT and Iranian
SONG: Southerners on New Ground

LGBT African American Stories

How Many African Americans are LGBT?

LGBT Latino Stories
Out History: Gay Native Americans

Top Concerns for Gay Latino Youth

LGBT People of Color

Huge LGBT Pride Celebration in the Muslim World

 


COMMENCEMENT SPEECH AT MOOREHOUSE

President's Message to African-American Men


May 2013

 

President Barack Obama made sure that his speech during the spring 2013 commencement ceremony at Georgia's Morehouse College was inclusive.  The Atlanta-based historically black private college is exclusively for men, but Obama spontaneously referenced gay and lesbian Americans.

Pointing to a Morehouse student who struggled through college while supporting his family, the president advised students to be the best that they can be in their romantic relationships, no matter what their sexuality.

"Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man," he said. "Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important."

The president then went on to correlate the struggles of African-Americans to other minority groups such as Hispanic Americans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back.


Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in."

 

LINKS:

 

President Obama Delivers Graduation Speech at Moorehouse College

On a Black Queer Moorehouse Commencement

 


 

TWO CULTURES

Ethnic and Cultural Concerns for LGBT Persons


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from certain cultural traditions and ethnic backgrounds face many challenges in their attempt to reconcile strongly-held cultural taboos associated with homosexual behavior.  In particular, LGBT persons from African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian Pacific, and Native American communities face many struggles.

 

LINKS:

 

What it's Like to be LGBT and Iranian
National Black Justice Coalition

LGBT Pride Parades in Latin America

TriKone: South Asian LGBT
SONG: Southerners on New Ground

LGBT African American Stories

LLEGO: Latino LGBT
Safe Schools Coalition: LGBT Resources for Youth of Color
Black Stripe
LGBT Hispanic & Latino Report
Queer Asian Pacific
Two Spirited Tradition

How Many African Americans are LGBT?

LGBT Latino Stories
Out History: Gay Native Americans

Ireland: LGBT Diversity

Top Concerns for Gay Latino Youth

Huffington Post: LGBT People of Color

Harsh Beauty

LGBT Asian & Pacific Stories

LGBT Immigrants: Why I Believe in Pride

Gay Black Men Coming Out to Their Fathers

 


CULTURAL FACTORS

Coming Out as LGBT and Black


For many black individuals, coming out involves additional cultural factors that make the process more challenging but no less rewarding. It includes having to deal with homophobic churches, strong family foundations that emphasize heterosexuality, homophobia in the black community, and racism in the broader LGBTQ community.  Thanks to brave LGBTQ black activists and their allies there is more support and acceptance than ever before, but there still exist many prejudices and roadblocks for LGBTQ blacks.

 

Religion

The church has traditionally played a central role in guiding the day-to-day lives and beliefs of many black Americans.

Some churches and individual parishioners have been unwelcoming to people with a different sexual orientation or gender identity.

The stance of the many in the black community on homosexuality, either you don’t talk about it or you condemn it, has been historically dictated by the church.

Over the past few decades, new churches have been established specifically to welcome and affirm LGBTQ people of color.

Some long-established black churches also have made progress toward being more welcoming.


Family

The black family unit often functions as a haven and stronghold of support in a society where racism is still prevalent.

Often, there is no place in this fortress of strength for a “weakness,” as homosexuality is often viewed.

LGBTQ children are sometimes viewed as being detrimental and damaging to the black family and give a negative impression for the whole black community.


Society and Media

Within the LGBTQ community, many of the same prejudices that we see in the rest of society based on race, class, and ethnicity still exist, which create unique challenges black LGBTQ American trying to fit into the LGBTQ community


Many LGBTQ communities and organizations have been viewed as historically white and can be uncomfortable or unwelcoming for some black Americans.


Black LGBTQ Americans have been virtually invisible in history and when they are depicted their sexual orientation is rarely mentioned.


The media and entertainment world rarely show LGBTQ people as anything but white.

 

(From Coming Out for African Americans, printed by the Human Rights Campaign)

 


BLACK AND GAY
Notes on LGBT African-Americans

LGBT Developmental Tasks for African-American Students

Those who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women, those of us who are poor, who are lesbian, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill.  It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish.  It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.
(Audre Lorde, 1984, Sister Outsider)

I hate being invisible.  Being both Black and gay, I haven’t developed the courage to fight on two battlefields.  So I’ve chosen one by default; the obvious one, the easy one, the Black one…   As a gay person, I’ve feared losing the love of family, and facing the wrath of community.  I’ve searched through an obscure history.  Allies are gay friends also trying to remain invisible and straight friends sworn to keep my secret…  While I openly share the beauty of my Black experience, insight gained from being gay is shared only when it’s safe.  Black publications proudly announce their arrival, while gay publications arrive hidden in plain manila envelopes…When I’m hurt as a Black person I have an instant support network.  When I’m hurt as a gay person, I’m left to lick my wounds until I find a safe place…   I fear taking on another label and providing people with yet another reason to view me as a target.  It’s difficult enough educating people to see Black people as multi-dimensional and not flat stereotypes.  Why take on the added burden?  I suffer as a result of this decision…  Just as Black people need distance from the distorted image reflected by Whites, so too do we as gays need an environment in which to affirm ourselves…When people think, “gay” they see, “White.”  When they think “Black” they fail to see “gay” …Our success in being invisible robs us of knowing ourselves and each other.  It further robs us of being known on our own terms...Yet, the risk of being visible is one that too few of us is willing to take.  Someday I’ll marshal the strength to fight on two battlefields.  Until then I’ll choose the obvious one, continue to be invisible and hate it.
(Chuck, Blackstripe)

These two excepts highlight the challenges gay African Americans must face.  They have the task of dealing with the intersection of multiple identities (intertwined states of “otherness”):  Sexual orientation, race, and gender (women).  This can be a stressful and lonely journey.  The challenge is in learning how to negotiate and manage these simultaneous states of social realities.

(From Angela D. Coker, PhD, LPC, NCC, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Education)
 


CHALLENGES FOR BLACK COLLEGE STUDENTS
Being African-American and LGBT

  

African-American students in general are developing ethnic and racial identity.  LGBT African-American students have an understanding that gayness is not a White phenomenon.

 

African-American college students in general interact with the dominant culture. LGBT African-American college students are dealing with homophobia from general society (what are the benefits or risks to “coming out?”).

 

African-American college students in general are developing cultural aesthetics and awareness. LGBT African-American college students are developing cultural aesthetics and awareness.

 

African-American college students in general are developing identity. LGBT African-American college students are asking themselves, "Who am I as a racialized homosexual being?"  For men: trying to define Black manhood; For women:  learning how to sort through issues of physical attractiveness.  Must deal with racism, sexism, and homophobia.  Have evolved outside of society’s definition of femininity

 

African-American college students in general are developing Interdependence. LGBT African-American college students ask themselves,"What will my family, friends, and community think?  Will they disown me?" Social isolation and/or secrecy. Fear of being found out. Maintaining ties to family and community.

 

African-American college students in general are fulfilling affiliation needs.  For LGBT African-American college students, much of one’s identity is constructed on the basis of community connection.  Managing the coming out process and maintaining strong connection to group.

 

African-American college students in general are surviving intellectually. LGBT African-American college students are learning how to deal with stress of academia while trying to sort out one’s identity.  What will my professor think?  Will often travel to other cities for social outlets (this is time that could be used to study instead of spending several hours on the road to another city)

 

African-American college students in general are developing spiritually. LGBT African-American college students are maintaining connections with religious organizations.  Fear of being ousted from their church.  Wrestling with relationship with higher power.

 

African-American college students in general are developing social responsibility. LGBT African-American college students are dealing with the “coming out” process and recognizing the need to be role models for other African American LGBTs.  Reducing the invisibility.

 

Questions for Educators

 

In what ways can we make our classrooms/learning communities more inclusive and user-friendly for GLBT students?

 

How often do we engage in self-reflection and an examination of our own values and biases with respect to race, gender, and homosexuality?

 

How might our personal issues, comments, subtle message impede the educational process for students who are members of this group?

Source: McEwen, M.K., Roper, L.D., Bryant, D.R., & Langa, M.J. (1990). Incorporating the development of African-American students into psychosocial theories of student development. Journal of College Student Development, 31(5),429-436.

 

(From Angela D. Coker, PhD, LPC, NCC, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Education)

 


PARIS BARCLAY
Black, Gay and Successful in Hollywood

 

Paris K.C. Barclay (born June 30, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American television director and producer. He has directed over 100 episodes of television to date, for series including NYPD Blue, ER, The West Wing, CSI, Lost, The Shield, House M.D., Law & Order, Monk, Numb3rs, City of Angels, Cold Case, and more recently The Mentalist, Weeds, Sons of Anarchy, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Good Wife, In Treatment, and Glee.

 

Paris has won two Emmy Awards as well as a Directors Guild of America award for directing episodes of NYPD Blue, and has garnered 10 DGA nominations. He is the first director in the history of the Guild to be nominated for a comedy series and drama series in the same year, two years in a row (2008 & 2009). Barclay has also received an NAACP Image award for Best Drama Series as co-creator, writer, and director of the groundbreaking medical drama City of Angels, and another Image Award for directing Cold Case.

 

 

Currently, Barclay is executive producer and principal director of HBO's In Treatment, now in its third season.

 

Openly gay since late in his college days, he was a regular contributor to The Advocate magazine for several years.

 

Barclay is one of Hollywood's very few openly gay black decision-makers. He is used to hearing the same line, repeatedly, when other industry executives see scripts with queer black characters.

 

" 'Isn't it enough that they're just gay?' or, 'Isn't it enough that they're just black?' " he says, waving his hands dismissively as if he were such an executive at a meeting, "as if one cross was enough to bear."

 

He sarcastically switches back to channeling mainstream Hollywood. " 'But if they're gay and black ... I just think that's too overwhelming.' "

 

LINKS:

IMDB: Paris Barclay
NPR: TV Insider With an Outsider Instinct
YouTube: Paris Barclay Talks About Being Openly Gay in Hollywood

 


HORACE GRIFFIN
Gay Black Theologian

Horace L. Griffin teaches pastoral theology and is Director of Field Education at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church.  An ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, USA, Griffin also serves as an associate at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Glen Rock, N.J. 

 

In 1990, Griffin began his professional career as a college professor at the historical black Fisk University while completing his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt. At Fisk, he chaired the Department of Religious and Philosophical Studies from 1993-1996, becoming the first openly gay Department chair in the University's 127 year history.  In 1992, he received the "Professor of the Year Award" for the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.  During this period, he also co-chaired the Lesbian and Gay Coalition for Justice, a civil rights organization for gay citizens in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. 

 

Griffin has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.; a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Mass.; and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University Graduate Department of Religion in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

 

As a graduate student concentrating in gender and sexuality issues, he developed a slide presentation addressing black pastoral issues and the AIDS epidemic. Called "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray," the presentation became a teaching tool for black pastors at conferences and in black faith communities. As a result of his AIDS work, Griffin was invited to serve as a board member (1994-1996) of Nashville Cares, an AIDS agency for the Greater Nashville community. 

 

In 1996, Griffin joined the religious studies faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia as Assistant Professor of African-American Religions.  He taught courses on African-American religions, religion and human sexuality and religion and homosexuality.  In 1999, Griffin resigned, in part, because the university president and administrators refused to include sexual orientation in the university's non-discrimination policy. 

 

Later that year, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where he taught courses such as Pastoral Care and Congregations, Sexuality and Pastoral Care, and Cross Cultural Pastoral Care. He also directed the Chicago Collegiate Seminarians Program, a Lilly funded grant for college students considering ordained ministry.   

 

Griffin has published numerous articles and essays in peer journals and anthologies, including "Revisioning Christian Ethical Discourse on Homosexuality: A Challenge for the 21st Century" in the Journal of Pastoral Care, and "Toward a True Black Liberation Theology: Affirming Homoeroticism, Black Lesbian and Gay Christians and their Relationships" in Loving the Body: Black Religious Studies and the Erotic.  His most recent work, "Black Machoism and Its Discontents" will be published in 2008 in Face to Face: A Discussion of Critical Issues in Pastoral Theology. 

 

His first book, Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches (Pilgrim Press 2006) was awarded the 2006 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT studies in the spring of 2007.  This groundbreaking work also received a Stonewall Award nomination.  The LGBT African American Roundtable convened a panel of scholars and clergy offering a critical examination of the book at its 2007 annual meeting.  In its second printing, Their Own Receive Them Not is a useful text currently being studied and discussed in college and seminary classrooms and black faith communities.

 

LINKS:

National Black Justice Coalition: Profile of Horace Griffin
Living Out Loud: Horace Griffin, Racism, Homophobia & the Black Church
Bilerico Project: Horace Griffin
 


HISPANIC CHALLENGES
Coming Out as LGBT and Latino/Latina

For many Hispanic and Latino individuals, coming out involves some specific cultural factors worth considering. These factors include having to deal with a culture highly influenced by religion and particularly Catholicism, strong family foundations, traditional gender norms and machismo, as well as racism and the lack of visibility of Hispanic and Latinos in the leadership of LGBTQ community. Many Hispanic and Latino LGBT people have endured intensive prejudice and discrimination from  the various communities to which they belong.  Yet, thanks to courageous Hispanic and Latino LGBTQ activists, writers and scholars, their families and their allies, this is a time of growing support, acceptance and visibility.


 

Religion

According to the U.S. 2000 census, 70% of Hispanic and Latino families identify as Catholic. The second largest group is most likely Protestant, followed by people who do not consider themselves members of any church, Jews, and finally a very small number of converts to Islam. In all of these communities, the Bible is a frequently quoted source by those who condemn homosexuality. Those who use the Bible this way support their view with a literal reading of the texts and often take quotations out of context, ignoring their historical and cultural origins, and using them as ammunition against people they hate or fear.  


Patriarchy and the Family

In many Hispanic and Latino contexts, the family remains a crucial institution that defines both gender and sexual relations between men and women. Therefore, any behavior that deviates from the expected heterosexuality must be kept secret.


Responsibility to one’s family is a very important value. Family name and image are very important values and every individual family member is seen as a reflection on their larger family


There is a strong cultural norm that families must solve problems on their own and not mention them outside the inner family circle. If problems remain unsolved or are considered unsolvable, then the family often no longer discusses the matter, and buries it in silence.


Many Hispanic/Latino families have parents who believe they would do anything to insure their children’s welfare. However, like parents of all ethnic groups, many are ill prepared to deal with having a LGBT child because of a lack of education with regard to human sexuality and sexual identity.


Gender stereotypes and the position of women in patriarchal societies influence the treatment and stereotypes of gay men in these societies. This can be seen, for example in the contemptuous term term “Maricón” used to slur gay men in Mexico and throughout the Spanish speaking world by comparing them to women.


Patriarchal cultures with deep roots in the institution of heterosexuality can also be experienced as requiring that women commit themselves to men (of their culture) while subordinating their own sexual desires.


Machismo
 
Most, if not all, cultures have double standards by which male and female sexual and gender behavior is judged. In Hispanic and Latino communities, these values and beliefs are often referred to as machismo and are highly valued. Machismo doesn’t have to lead to homophobia but it can if it leads to the“ the repudiation of all ‘ feminine’ virtues” in men and any suspicion of masculinity in women.

 

 

Media

The media (particularly TV and movies) and popular jokes are powerful means through which Hispanic and Latino individuals learn about LGBT people. Spanish television in the U.S. often portrays gay men stereotypically, as extremely effeminate, ridiculous, humorous characters. LGBT people and their contributions to society are rarely if ever depicted, though during the last decade, some Spanish soap operas have begun to include a few gay characters portrayed with a positive image. The sexual orientation of successful and famous gay persons is avoided, depriving LGBT youths of important role models. Lesbians are rarely portrayed in the media and, when they are, they are also shown stereotypically as very masculine women.


Tradition

Tradition is highly valued in Hispanic and Latino cultures.

The idea of joining a support group strike some member of Hispanic and Latino communities as untraditional and contrary to the values of privacy and family pride.


Economic Circumstances

Hispanic/Latino same-sex couple families in Florida are disadvantaged compared to white non-Hispanic/Latino same-sex couple families in terms of income, homeownership, and disability.


Female same-sex households in Florida in which both partners are Hispanic/Latina earn over $23,000 less in median annual household income than white non- Hispanic/Latina female same-sex households and over $27,000 less than white non- Hispanic/Latino male same-sex households.


Male same-sex households in Florida in which both partners are Hispanic/Latino earn $13,140 less in median annual household income than white non-Hispanic/Latina female same-sex households and $17,500 less than white non-Hispanic/Latino male same sex couples.


Some Hispanic and Latino LGBT individuals, parents and allies are highly motivated to form or join support or civil groups, but they are limited by their financial circumstances and/or overwhelming work schedules.


Adapted from De Colores: Lesbian and Gay Latinos: Stories of Strength, Family and Love Discussion Guide by Nila Marrone and Peter Barbosa.

 

(From Hispanic & Latino Same Sex Couples in Florida: Report Based on 2000 Census by Jason Cianciotto & Luis Lopez)
 


ARAB, MUSLIM AND GAY

Conflict of Culture, Faith and Sexuality


July 2012

 

Life can be particularly tough for an LGBT person living in a strict Muslim community.  Islamic teachings forbid homosexuality.  Many LGBT persons live in fear, hiding their sexual identity.

 

Can gays and lesbians be Muslim?  Can Muslims be gay and lesbian?  Of course.  Sexuality is who you are, it's not something you can change and it doesn't have anything to do with religion. You can't chose sexuality like you can with religion. Even if one was raised to believe homosexuality was something wrong or even disgusting, it wouldn't change your preference. This causes a lot of people to suppress their feelings and hide their true sexuality which can cause a lot of self-hatred. Some people believe that it is okay to have homosexual feelings an long as you do not act on them but this just doesn't work because you can't spend your whole life pretending to be something you're not. Unfortunately, in some places, people are still uneducated and traditional and therefore it can cause a lot of problems for homosexuals, especially if they live in Muslim countries. But recently, people have become a lot more open and more Muslims are becoming more open minded about these things. But what would happen to a gay or lesbian Muslim completely depends on where they live and what their family is like.

 

By the tenets of their faith, it's not possible for Muslim people to be gay or lesbian. Realistically, of course they can.  They should probably look for a liberal, reformed sect of Islam, if there is one, that accepts homosexuality, just as many Christian sects do.  But, depending on where they live they may be accepted or they may be put into prison and killed by their government and/or their family.

 

Typical blog comments from Muslim lesbians include the following:

 

I am a lesbian and a Muslim living in an Arabic country and I have a girlfriend.  We cannot be public about our relationship because the law prohibits same sex relationships.  If we are discovered, we can go to jail because of our relationship.  My family does not know anything nor my friends because it is shameful to us.  I must still follow the traditions because we are in a country where everything is forbidden.

 

I have lived all my life in an Arab Muslim country and I know firsthand how oppressive, judgmental and simply uptight Muslims can be when it comes to homosexuality.

 

There are a lot of Muslim lesbians like me and my girlfriend who are scared about their future but daydream about having a house and cat or dog but deep down inside we know this is will never come true.  So sad.  I pray 5 times a day.  I read Quraan and I'm a good person and I love my god.  I think being gay doesn't make me a bad Muslim.

I have been treated very badly because I stand up for gays or lesbians.  The Muslim community doesn't realize that there are many Muslim gays and lesbians who feel very scared and lonely and don't know where to turn for help.

 

LINKS:

 

Safra Project

To Be Gay and Muslim
Al Arabiya News

Al-Bab: Open Door to Arab World

Gay Lesbian Arab Society
Gay Middle East
Gay Moroc
Guardian: Being a Gay Muslim

 

BOOKS:

 

Allah, Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji

The Trouble with Islam Today by Irshad Manji

The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Unspeakable Love: Gay and lesbian life in the Middle East by Brian Whitaker

L’Armée du Salut (Salvation Army) by Abdellah Taia

Homosexuality in Islam by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle

Gay Travels in the Muslim World by Michael Luongo

 


CHALLENGES FOR LGBT ASIANS
Coming Out as LGBT and Asian-Pacific

Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) come from dozens of different countries, making that population one of the most diverse communities in America.  Because of the diverse cultural backgrounds, histories, and languages of APAs, there is no universal coming out experience for all LGBT APAs, but. LGBT APAs still share some similar challenges and experiences during the coming out process.

 

Family

Coming out to family is an enormous challenge.

Many fear rejection, disappointing their parents or being seen as sullying the family name.


The subject of LGBT issues is often treated with silence, which can feel like rejection.


Not unusual for a LGBT APAs to be out in every aspect of life, except to family.


When parents are aware of a child's sexual orientation or gender identity, that information is often hidden from family friends.


Religion

There are traditional connections among family, culture, and religion within the community.


The interconnectedness of culture and religion means that any homophobia related to faith can have a devastating effect.


Experiences with religion vary greatly depending on the religion practiced by a particular family, individual, or region. 


Some religions such as Hinduism are fairly accepting, while other like Catholicism and Islam can be less accepting.


Society

Coming out experiences are often intensified by a lack of visibility, racism, and language barriers.


There is still a lack of visibility of APAs within LGBT groups, publications, and media sources.


There is a lack of positive images of LGBT APAs in popular entertainment and media.


APAs can face racism within the LGBT community, sometimes as overt discrimination and other times as the lack representation.
 

(From Coming Out for Asian Pacific Americans, printed by the Human Rights Campaign)

 


TWO-SPIRITED
LGBT Native Americans

"Two Spirit" is an aboriginal phrase (A direct translation of the Ojibwe term Niizh manidoowag) that refers to both masculine and feminine spirits simultaneously living in the same body. It is a term used by the native, indigenous, or aboriginal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 

 

Within the various native or aboriginal populations (American Indian, Canadian Indian, Alaskan Native, Inuit, First Nations, and others), LGBT individuals often have difficulty overcoming the cultural taboos against homosexual behavior. 

 

 

Native people whose gender identify differs are often subject to shaming, a form of social censorship within the tribal community.  Shame is rendered for inappropriate social behavior, particularly any personal expression for flamboyant dress, mannerisms and especially effeminate behavior among males.  Likewise, shame is given any female whose overt masculine behaviors demonstrate her toughness.  In short, tolerance in a contemporary Indian community over the years has evolved to allow no alternatives for a male or female Indian identity.  Doing so would be considered to bring shame not just on the individual but also negative attention to their family.



 

As a result of tribal community pressures, young people who have a different sexual orientation often grow up in a closeted existence or actual isolation. This imposed isolation is self-destructive and limits individuals from living to their fullest potential.  In a school environment, many of these young people are subjected to bullying and harassment from their classmates.  In this atmosphere, support is generally unavailable and creates an unsafe environment within the school.  Nonetheless, there are exceptional gay students who somehow endure and who are accepted as equals by their peers.  However, the majority of gay students exhibit behaviors such as skipping school, which affects their academic performance, or simply will become a run away from both home and school.

For the Native LGBT who seeks life in a city for anonymity, the experience can be far more negative than staying within their home community.  Like most natives reared in a tribal community, Native LGBT retain pride in their identity, where they are from and who are their relatives.  Living in a city can unfortunately give a sense of alienation that is both physical and emotional.  Native LGBT individuals often grieve their separation from family and community when they are unaccepted in a city because of their lifestyle as well as being a Native.  This experience results in a double discrimination for Native LGBT instead of the desired anonymity. 

 

LINKS:

 

Two Spirit Native American Stories

Native American LGBTQ Suicide Resources
Wikipedia: Two Spirit
YouTube: Charlie Ballard: Being Gay and Native American
Two Spirited Tradition
Native Out Blog
Out History: Gay Native Americans

 

 

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A L G B T I C A L    Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama