Two-Spirit (2S): A Third Gender In Some Indigenous North American Communities

June 22, 2021

“Two-spirit” is a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures. The term “two-spirit” was created in 1990 at the Indigenous Lesbian and Gay International gathering in Winnipeg, and “specifically chosen to distinguish and distance Native American/First Nations people from non-Native peoples.” The primary purpose of coining a new term was to encourage the replacement of the outdated and considered offensive, anthropological term, berdache. Join Gregg Bossen as he interviews Eli Rigatuso – an “Activist/Change Maker/Facilitator” who spends much of his time working to create more open and affirming spaces for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people in Omaha, Nebraska – and learns what it really means to be “2S”.

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