A Native American Who Demonstrated Homosexual Tendencies

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Berdache Elijah Gonzales Irvine Valley College Abstract Berdache was a derogatory term that was used by the French to describe a Native American who demonstrated homosexual tendencies. Although European culture and other traditions around the world condemned same-sex relationships, the precolonial Native American society had different perception about such individual. Native Americans, accepted and tolerated androgynous individuals. In fact , they called them “two-spirited” persons since they had the both the spirit of a man or woman. Because of their nature, two-spirited people were made religious leaders and teachers in the society. They also served various unique roles in the society and their marriages were legitimate. However, the onset of Christianity and foreign influence in North America led to the spread of homophobic notions and the decline of the “two-spirit” tradition. Later on, gay and lesbian activists detested the use of use of the term “berdache.” Instead, they preferred to be called “two-spirit” persons. Finally, these protests led to reforms that acknowledge the importance of Native American tradition in shaping sexual orientations of Native American in the society. In conclusion, although many traditional societies are associated with homophobia, transgender diversity and same-sex relationships were pervasive in ancient Native American history. “Two Spirit” Gender is often described as the state of being ether male or female. In most communities,

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