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  1. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    LOL.


    Seriously, though, the Native Americans prior to European colonization, didn't have the types of societal institutions that the settlers brought with them, like a formal marriage arrangement that has legal and religious status. It's an impossible thing to prove either way at this point in American History.
    'Cause they was heatherns.
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  2. #22  
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    Our local Indian tribe here in San Diego doesn't accept gay marriage. See the article below. About halfway down, the belief that same sex unions were tolerated before the Europeans is expressed, but there are no references given for the information.

    From the New York Times:


    Going Far From Home to Feel at Home


    By DALTON WALKER
    Published: July 17, 2007

    On the surface, Kevin VanWanseele had no reason to leave. The Barona Indian Reservation, about 5,900 acres of highlands desert 20 miles east of San Diego, is home to the Kumeyaay Nation and had been his home since he was born. He was a senior in high school and thinking about college. He lived with his parents and brother in the same two-bedroom house his mother had grown up in.

    But if home is a place where you are supposed to feel comfortable, then Mr. VanWanseele realized that the reservation could never really be his home. Mr. VanWanseele is gay, a fact he was open about but knew many other members of the Kumeyaay Nation would never accept.

    So Mr. VanWanseele moved to New York City, a place where American Indians are virtually invisible and where the teeming streets and the forests of buildings could not be more different from the expansive vistas of his reservation.

    But New York is a place where he could be who he truly was: a proud Indian and a proud gay man. His story parallels the stories of other gay American Indians who have moved to New York. Coming from different tribes with different traditions and histories, they have forged a small community and started a branch of a growing national organization built on shared experiences.

    “Some of us came to New York to get away and express ourselves,” said Mr. VanWanseele, who is now 27 and lives in Chelsea. “We may have left our reservation or community behind, but we haven’t forgotten where we came from.”

    Harlan Pruden grew up on the Beaver Lake Indian Reserve in Alberta, about 150 miles northeast of Edmonton, where he moved as a teenager with his mother and grandmother. Mr. Pruden, a Cree, was openly gay among his family long before he came out publicly when he was 17. His family was supportive, but other Indians insulted him and used anti-gay epithets.

    Living in New York for the past 11 years has freed Mr. Pruden and given him more opportunities to become an advocate on behalf of gay men, lesbians and American Indians. “We are trying to educate people on who we are and that we are here,” said Mr. Pruden, 40, who works for the Empire State Development Corporation and lives in Upper Manhattan.

    Mr. Pruden and Mr. VanWanseele are regulars at the meetings of a group called the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society, which are usually held at the American Indian Community House in Lower Manhattan or at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village.

    The name of the Two-Spirit Society is meant to convey the idea that a gay Indian has both masculine and feminine qualities along with traditional cultural values, Mr. VanWanseele said.

    The group has only about 15 members, but it works to raise enough money to pay for community outreach projects and cultural offerings, like classes focusing on traditional American Indian dance. The group also maintains a Web site, ne2ss.typepad.com, that has recorded more than 60,000 hits since 2005, Mr. VanWanseele said.

    There are similar Two-Spirit groups with larger memberships in San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Tulsa, Okla.

    The bias that many gay Indians say they have experienced from other Indians is a legacy of the encounter between Indians and white European colonizers, according to Brian J. Gilley, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Vermont, who is the author of “Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country.”

    Historically, in many tribes, individuals who entered into same-sex relationships were considered holy and treated with utmost respect and acceptance, said Dr. Gilley. “Prior to European contact, sexuality was not a determining factor in someone’s identity,” he said. “It was the role in the community. Gender was tied to that role. Who you had sex with was not a concern. The Europeans come, Native American societies are thrust in rapid change, and some societies incorporate European ideals quickly.”

    And because the European settlers, influenced in part by their religious beliefs, were largely intolerant of homosexuality, they helped reshape long-held practices among many Indians, Dr. Gilley said....

    Read the rest at the link.
    Last edited by Elspeth; 09-17-2012 at 02:07 PM.
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  3. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    LOL.


    Seriously, though, the Native Americans prior to European colonization, didn't have the types of societal institutions that the settlers brought with them, like a formal marriage arrangement that has legal and religious status. It's an impossible thing to prove either way at this point in American History.
    True enough, but there is a tendency to romanticize the American Indian, either for good or for ill, depending on the times. There is currently a movement called the "Two Spirit" movement to support gay Indians but still keep them connected to their past. The published scholarship in this area seems flimsy. I am looking at an article in the Journal of Anthropological Research (summer, 1998) about this issue. The book review below indicates that there might be a misunderstanding of the term "Two Spirit" and a conflation of homosexuality (and its acceptance) with gender roles and/or a quite different cultural construct:


    Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and
    Spirituality
    .
    Sue-Ellen Jacobs,WesleyThomas and Sabine Lang,eds. Urbana
    and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997, xii + 331 pp., 9 halftones.
    $44.95, cloth; $19.95, paper.

    "Two-Spirit(ed) is" the self-preferred term of urban gay and "gender-bending"
    natives of Canada and the U.S. to replace the unsavory technical term "berdache"( with connotations of bum boy) previously used for variegated genders of the Americas. Two-spirit is not intended to replace tribal terms such as Siouian winkte and Navajo nadleeh nor to be translatable into native languages....

    ....Several chapters call attention to the great prejudices against native gays in
    their own and outside communities and also warn against any sweepingly romantic idealization claiming total and honored acceptance of such varigendered lives in a traditional tribal context.

    Arguing against the tendency to equate two-spirits with overt homosexuality, the editors suggest that such a person be regarded as holding an occupation where the biology of sex is defined culturally in such a way that homosexuality only involves a member of the identical gender, regardless of their genitalia. Indeed,among Navajo there is compelling evidence that the nadleeh represents the cultural recognition o the biological continuum that includes mixed equivalent organs since, for some Navajo medical specialists, the obvious genitalia of men and of women also include smaller versions of the other (pp. 65, 188). Wesley Thomas, a Navajo native speaker, and Carolyn Epple present conflicting interpretations of the nadleeh that more reflect different approaches of splitting or lumping based on overanalysis or a cultural worldview where everything is inseparable and distinct....


    Journal of Anthropological Research
    Vol. 54, No. 2, Summer, 1998



    In other words, it's important not to assume that Native American tribes supported homosexuality or gay household arrangements based on the "Two Spirit" concept. A lot of GLBT and queer studies suffers from the problem of jumping to conclusions based on terminologies or ideas that seem equivalent but aren't.

    There is another article from the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (December 4, 1996) that argues that a "two spirit" concept relates to reincarnation, at least for Northern Athapaskans. (The Navajos are an Athapaskan tribe, and the Athapaskans extend from the American Southwest through Canada and Alaska.)

    The `Berdache'/`Two-Spirit': A Comparison of Anthropological and Native Constructions of Gendered Identities Among the Northern Athapaskans
    Jean-Guy A. Goulet.
    The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 2, No. 4, Dec., 1996
    Last edited by Elspeth; 09-17-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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    So basically, the modern "two spirit" stuff is b.s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hubie View Post
    So basically, the modern "two spirit" stuff is b.s.
    Made up like Kwanzaa or Festivus.
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  6. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    The published scholarship in this area seems flimsy.
    The first I heard of it was in the movie Little Big Man. There is, however, an Indian town in rural Mexico where the two-spirit respect seems to have survived into the present day. There is a drag festival in Juchitan every year.

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  7. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    The first I heard of it was in the movie Little Big Man. There is, however, an Indian town in rural Mexico where the two-spirit respect seems to have survived into the present day. There is a drag festival in Juchitan every year.

    There's no question that the Two Spirit idea is around, but what exactly it referred to is up for debate. So far, the literature mentions reincarnation (the idea that everyone reincarnates in different lifetimes as male and female) and the idea of gendered work as part of division of labor. A straight male taking a "female" job could be seen as Two Spirit. I can't speak to the drag show, but as you know, cross dressing behavior is not the same as sexual orientation. From what I saw, there is a Native American tradition of cross dressing in certain tribes, but the males are what we would consider straight according to the literature.

    I think the "Two Spirit" idea needs to be better researched and by folks who don't have so much to lose either way. Unfortunately, the people who are really interested in it are the gay Indians themselves and their non-gay-friendly tribes, each trying to own the concept.

    Adding to this problem is that gay and straight are actually relatively modern constructs, especially in their binary opposition.
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  8. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreconstructed Reb View Post
    Made up like Kwanzaa or Festivus.
    Not entirely. It wasn't invented so much as appropriated.

    It's like taking the Western idea of "tomboy" and equating it to lesbian sexual orientation, when, in fact, a "tomboy" is most likely straight. The idea of "tomboy" is based on cultural ideas of gender (e.g., the idea that girls should play quietly inside the house with dolls). Any girl who regularly wants to kick around a soccer ball instead of playing Barbies stands opposed to this cultural idea. That girl, however, is statistically far more likely to be straight than gay. And, conversely, there are many lesbian females who are not athletic and spend time in the house writing in their diaries or playing the piano.

    So let's say a 22nd century scholar comes along in 2150 and wants to look at sexual orientation in 1950s America. Let's say that this scholar finds the notion of "tomboy" in American culture of the time and then sees the growth of the gay rights movement two decades later (post Stonewall). If this scholar erroneously decides that this concept of "tomboy" really referred exclusively to lesbians (or was "code" for lesbian), then this scholar might publish a paper tracing tolerance of gays in America to the 1950s (or before), which would be completely untrue. It is based on the false equivalency of "tomboy" with lesbian.

    The desire to make such an equivalency is based on the wish to find something natural about homosexuality (childhood behavior) and something old about its acceptance (the 1950s tolerance of athleticism in girl children). There's something comforting and affirming about thinking that a trait you have been taught to hate in yourself was considered normal and natural in some other part of the world or at some other time. There's a huge emotional investment in finding old or natural concepts that can be construed to refer to non-heterosexual behavior, and sometimes this emotional need to find oneself represented in the past or in other places results in a gross misinterpretation of terminology, cultural beliefs and activities, and historical events.

    So, unlike Kwanzaa--which was created out of whole cloth to satisfy the emotional need of African American activists for something old, affirming, and unifying to rally around--the Two Spirit idea actually did exist before the academics and activists got hold of it. But like the misuse of the concept of "tomboy" in the example above, the application of "Two Spirit" to actual homosexuality and sexual orientation seems to be wishful thinking and, possibly, a serious mistake.
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  9. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Not entirely. It wasn't invented so much as appropriated.

    It's like taking the Western idea of "tomboy" and equating it to lesbian sexual orientation, when, in fact, a "tomboy" is most likely straight. The idea of "tomboy" is based on cultural ideas of gender (e.g., the idea that girls should play quietly inside the house with dolls). Any girl who regularly wants to kick around a soccer ball instead of playing Barbies stands opposed to this cultural idea. That girl, however, is statistically far more likely to be straight than gay. And, conversely, there are many lesbian females who are not athletic and spend time in the house writing in their diaries or playing the piano.

    So let's say a 22nd century scholar comes along in 2150 and wants to look at sexual orientation in 1950s America. Let's say that this scholar finds the notion of "tomboy" in American culture of the time and then sees the growth of the gay rights movement two decades later (post Stonewall). If this scholar erroneously decides that this concept of "tomboy" really referred exclusively to lesbians (or was "code" for lesbian), then this scholar might publish a paper tracing tolerance of gays in America to the 1950s (or before), which would be completely untrue. It is based on the false equivalency of "tomboy" with lesbian.

    The desire to make such an equivalency is based on the wish to find something natural about homosexuality (childhood behavior) and something old about its acceptance (the 1950s tolerance of athleticism in girl children). There's something comforting and affirming about thinking that a trait you have been taught to hate in yourself was considered normal and natural in some other part of the world or at some other time. There's a huge emotional investment in finding old or natural concepts that can be construed to refer to non-heterosexual behavior, and sometimes this emotional need to find oneself represented in the past or in other places results in a gross misinterpretation of terminology, cultural beliefs and activities, and historical events.

    So, unlike Kwanzaa--which was created out of whole cloth to satisfy the emotional need of African American activists for something old, affirming, and unifying to rally around--the Two Spirit idea actually did exist before the academics and activists got hold of it. But like the misuse of the concept of "tomboy" in the example above, the application of "Two Spirit" to actual homosexuality and sexual orientation seems to be wishful thinking and, possibly, a serious mistake.
    Sound reasoning. Howbeit, I would take it a logical step further based in our experience to say that while most tomboys aren't lesbians, the association between the two is not without foundation and expectation. I worked in a lesbian nightclub and restaurant and most of them were pretty butch. Stereotypes don't invent themselves. Of course, having said that, that club held a tiny fraction of the gay women of DC and was a self selected group. So it would have been more accurate to say "my experience is that lesbians who drink moderate to heavy and go to bars tend to be butch."
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  10. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Not entirely. It wasn't invented so much as appropriated.

    It's like taking the Western idea of "tomboy" and equating it to lesbian sexual orientation, when, in fact, a "tomboy" is most likely straight. The idea of "tomboy" is based on cultural ideas of gender (e.g., the idea that girls should play quietly inside the house with dolls). Any girl who regularly wants to kick around a soccer ball instead of playing Barbies stands opposed to this cultural idea. That girl, however, is statistically far more likely to be straight than gay. And, conversely, there are many lesbian females who are not athletic and spend time in the house writing in their diaries or playing the piano.

    So let's say a 22nd century scholar comes along in 2150 and wants to look at sexual orientation in 1950s America. Let's say that this scholar finds the notion of "tomboy" in American culture of the time and then sees the growth of the gay rights movement two decades later (post Stonewall). If this scholar erroneously decides that this concept of "tomboy" really referred exclusively to lesbians (or was "code" for lesbian), then this scholar might publish a paper tracing tolerance of gays in America to the 1950s (or before), which would be completely untrue. It is based on the false equivalency of "tomboy" with lesbian.

    The desire to make such an equivalency is based on the wish to find something natural about homosexuality (childhood behavior) and something old about its acceptance (the 1950s tolerance of athleticism in girl children). There's something comforting and affirming about thinking that a trait you have been taught to hate in yourself was considered normal and natural in some other part of the world or at some other time. There's a huge emotional investment in finding old or natural concepts that can be construed to refer to non-heterosexual behavior, and sometimes this emotional need to find oneself represented in the past or in other places results in a gross misinterpretation of terminology, cultural beliefs and activities, and historical events.

    So, unlike Kwanzaa--which was created out of whole cloth to satisfy the emotional need of African American activists for something old, affirming, and unifying to rally around--the Two Spirit idea actually did exist before the academics and activists got hold of it. But like the misuse of the concept of "tomboy" in the example above, the application of "Two Spirit" to actual homosexuality and sexual orientation seems to be wishful thinking and, possibly, a serious mistake.
    Good reply. But might I suggest that the word 'appropriated' in your first sentence be replaced with 'hyjacked'.
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