The term “Two-Spirit” is a word that resists colonial definitions of who we are. It is an expression of our sexual and gender identities as sovereign from those of white GLBT movements. The coinage of the word was never meant to create a monolithic understanding of the array of Native traditions regarding what dominant European and Euroamerican traditions call “alternative” genders and sexualities…

I find myself using both the words “Queer” and “Trans” to try to translate my gendered and sexual realities for those not familiar with Native traditions, but at heart, if there is a term that could possibly describe me in English, I simply consider myself a Two-Spirit person. The process of translating Two-Spiritness with terms in white communities becomes very complex. I’m not necessarily “Queer” in Cherokee contexts, because differences are not seen in the same light as they are in Euroamerican contexts. I’m not necessarily “Transgender” in Cherokee contexts, because I’m simply the gender I am. I’m not necessarily “Gay,” because that word rests on the concept of men-loving-men, and ignores the complexity of my gender identity. It is only within the rigid gender regimes of white America that I become Trans or Queer. While homophobia, transphobia, and sexism are problems in Native communities, in many of our tribal realities these forms of oppression are the result of colonization and genocide that cannot accept women as leaders, or people with extra-ordinary genders and sexualities.3 As Native people, our erotic lives and identities have been colonized along with our homelands

Qwo-Li Driskill, Stolen From Our Bodies: First Nations Two-Spirits/Queers and the Journey to a Sovereign Erotic (PDF)

ETA: I keep meaning to get around to writing something about how the way I perceive my gender changes depending on context. For now, let it suffice to say that it’s only when I’ve been immersed in the dominant culture—from elementary school, to now living in London—that other people have made me painfully aware that I just am not doing/being what they expect and insist on based on anatomy. In other contexts? I was vaguely aware that I just didn’t have an internal sense of gender that a lot of other people seemed to, but nobody even seemed to notice, much less attach weird significance to my gender presentation.

Coming to grips with multisexuality—even finding a reasonable non-binary term to describe it—has been a whole other story.

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