Associated Press

Facebook's 'Two Spirit' Gender-ID Term a Positive Step for LGBT Natives

Sheena Louise Roetman
3/12/14

On February 13, Facebook added more than 45 custom gender-identifying terms, allowing users to choose from more than just “male” or “female” in order to identify themselves. Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island were pleasantly surprised to find that among those terms was “Two-Spirit.”

“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self,” Facebook’s press office said in a statement to ICTMN. “An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female.’”

Additionally, Facebook has added the ability to select a preferred pronoun – male, female or neutral (they/their/them) – as well as allowing people to specify who sees the gender and pronoun they’ve chosen.

“We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way,” Facebook said.

Facebook credited our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations as collaborators for determining which terms to include in the list. Some other terms included are agender, trans, intersex, gender fluid, gender questioning and CIS, among others.

Many Indigenous people who identify as Two Spirit were excited to see the changes.

“When Facebook added new gender options, I felt that it was an amazing step, one that was in the right direction,” said Gina Metallic, of Mig'maq First Nation, a Two Spirit community and Aboriginal youth protection activist. “I use the term Two Spirited because it is a hybrid of my culture and sexuality. It acknowledges both important pieces of my identity, being queer and being Indigenous. It's also allowing people to see that there's more than male and female, and that it's okay and normal.”

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Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
The more these folks fight for others to consider them normal the MORE it seems they know deep inside they are NOT normal. I refuse for anyone to force me to accept that which the Creator Himself said is evil & an abomination to Him. It is not normal & is never going to be normal folks. These deceived ones are filled with evil spirits & demons folks. It has nothing to do with Christianity or non-Christianity. Many cultures throughout time have long considered these folks evil spawn. They are NOT born this way. They have been exposed to this deviant sexuality in some form at some time in their lives. When the Great War in the heavens took place eons ago those demons, former angels, who dared challenge the Creator were cast out & have roamed throughout the Universe ever since deceiving & corrupting people & civilizations of all ages & genders. It does not matter what is popular for the moment, PC as it were, it matters only what our Creator says & thinks about all things. There is the Creator's way & then there is the Fallen One, Satan, his minions & those they have deceived with their lies. Are you a follower of the Light or of the darkness? You cannot straddle the fence as it were. YOU alone have freedom to chose either being a warrior of the Light or a follower of darkness. The Creator gives us freedom to chose. One cannot be tolerant of that which goes against what the Creator said is of the good way, to do so is considered having a rebellious spirit which is itself considered wicked & an abomination. I don't know about anyone else, but I prefer to be smiled upon & blessed by our Creator than to face His anger & wrath. We should each live a wakan life than one filled with evil ways & making choices that are rewarded with our eventual destruction & early demise. Choose the Light my friends!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
With all respect Two Bears Growling, my Creator never said ANYTHING about hating anyone for how they see themselves. I choose rather NOT to judge, nor to accept conventional "wisdom" when it comes to individuals. It's my feeling that what people do amnog themselves is their business (as long as they're not hurting others). I don't see how ANYONE has the right to tell consenting adults what they can do in the privacy of their own home. It wasn't until the 1978 that the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed and up until that time White Americans felt they had the right to tell NDNs how they could worship. It's no secret that these people were Christians who wanted Native converts. Here in the southwest, Christianity taught NDNs what hypocrites they were when they cut the feet off NDNs who resisted their "compassionate God." More people should consider the conflicts religion has with itself. They tell you not to judge others, yet they are among the first to do so. They tell you have compassion for those less fortunate, while maintaining large, ornate, expensive (and rich) churches. They say, "thous shalt not kill," but when has that EVER stopped ANY religion from violent aggression against people who believe differently than they do. The solution is simple. If you don't believe in gay marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. If you don't believe in abortions, don't have one. If you don't believe in eating pork, don't eat it. This notion that one religion fits all is preposterous. There may be one God, but people interpert His will so differently (and usually to their own advantage) that I discount most anything they say. If you ask me about my Creator, I'll tell you he loves everyone and everything. He doesn't ask me to hate others for what they do. He doesn't require me to advertise for him. He doesn't even ask me to thank Him for all I love (I do it because I want to).

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Michael Madrid, I appreciate your candid response & honesty with me. That shows me you are an honorable & decent human being. I enjoy reading your commentaries from time to time as well. With that said, I shall respond back to you. ....................................................................................................................... Like yourself, I believe the Creator made all things & loves those of us who live in a good way. Those of us out here who do not believe in the Two Spirit or homosexual lifestyle are not haters of those folks. We feel they have been deceived by devils that are very much running all over this Universe & have since the Great War in the heavens eons ago before recorded time on this planet. ...................................................................................................................... There are kind & compassionate people in all cultures I believe, regardless of genders involved. It is not just the Christians, Jews, Muslims of this world who teach that the Creator speaks out against homosexuality, there are those of other tribal nations who frown on those sort of folks as well & who believe the Creator despises homosexuality as well. They were considered outcasts, marked by demons & kept out of the camps or ran out completely. The belief in demons is not just a Christian belief. Various tribes & cultures throughout time believe in them as well. ......................................................................................................................... What these folks do behind closed doors & with their window blinds pulled is their business, but when I have to see these folks parading in public lip-locking or groping one another at the nearest 7-11 or Wal-Mart in my face & in the presence of my children as it were, then that is another thing all together. ........................................................................................................................ That shows total disrespect & lack of consideration towards others. I know there are some in the homosexual community who are respectful & thoughtful never dreaming of carrying on like some animal in heat dressed & painted up like some clown at Rio come Mardi Gras time. I do not agree with their life style, but I can respect them as human beings for being respectful to me & others who do not agree with them. They are quiet spirits. ........................................................................................................................ You are correct in that the Creator loves us all, but He doesn't always like what we do, how we think & the words that come from our lips at times. We are ALL guilty of those things at times in our lives sooner or later. None of us are ever going to be perfect, but what does count to the Creator is the intent that is within our hearts. ......................................................................................................................... Many times people have good intentions, but sometimes we let egos & vanity get in the way of the delivery. I can love someone or care for them deeply, but I may not always agree with them or approve of what they do or say. Does that mean I can no longer care for them since I do not approve of their behavior at the moment? Not at all. When we love someone, if it is the real deal, we love them always. Like our children when they misbehave, act shameful & sass at times. We correct them, love them & want them to grow up & become loving, compassionate & kind human beings who contribute in society in a positive way. ......................................................................................................................... I like to think that our Creator feels the same way about all of His children & creation as we who are parents feel about our children that the Creator has loaned to us for a very short time before they get out on their own. ......................................................................................................................... Time is fleeting for each of us. To live a million years is but a flash upside eternity. Our lives are much like a pond that someone throws a stone into. The ripples touch other ripples & affects the whole pond. Much like our lives & the actions & words we do or say affecting others besides ourselves. ......................................................................................................................... While our lives are so short, we leave behind a legacy remembering us either for good or evil. It is my hope that the things I do touch others in a good way. Each day I have the opportunity to be remembered for kindness & compassion or hatefulness & cruelty towards something or someone our Creator made. ......................................................................................................................... When I someday leave this world I hope I have left behind good memories rather than bad ones to those left behind. ........................................................................................................................ I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have had to say & perhaps I have said something you may pass on to others in time or apply to your life as well. Take care & may the Creator watch over & protect you & those special in your life my friend. ......................................................................................................................... Kind Regards, Two Bears Growling

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
To Two Bears Growling: I have also seen you as a truthful and honorable man. I loved what you wrote and wish that more Christians were like you. Like you, I also have problems with people lip-locking and groping in public. It doesn't matter who they are or what their sexual orientation is. It's just plain disrespectful to their elders and to the young to whom they should be provided a good example. I agree with you more than I disagree. I also do not like the parades you mention, but my solution is to simply not attend them. I will not demand that two-spirited people not have the right to enjoy a parade, or a rodeo (yes, there ARE gay rodeos) or anything else open to U.S. citizens. I only request that objections be made with as much respect to individual freedom that our government allows. A good example is the Jewish/Muslim aversion to pork. What would Christians do if Jews and Muslims suddenly banded together to stop EVERYONE from eating pork? It's a law in their religion, but not everyone's religion so there are similarities to the religious aversion to two-spirited people. Why should any group of people be bound by the rules of another religion? As long as no aggression or violence (or bullying) occurs, I'm fine with objection to gay marriage or two-spirted relationships, but as Americans we can't deny someone the same rights we all enjoy. NDNs have always seemed to me (and yes, this is a broad generalization) the types to "clean their own yard, before bitching about someone else's." My main concerns are that I personally live a good, fair life. How others "sin" doesn't concern me much because I'm certain I won't be called upon to answer for their shortcomings. I can only ensure that I personally will never mistreat any person or animal. I will only be judged on those thing I am personally responsible for.

aliberaldoseofskepticism's picture
aliberaldoseofs...
Submitted by aliberaldoseofs... on
One slight correction: Cis just means not transgender. Cis means "on the same side" in Latin; it's mostly used in geography and chemistry these days. Its opposite, trans, means "across" or "on the other side". @Two Bears Growling: Funny how it's not about Christianity, but you're deep in Christian mythos in your post, and exactly nothing Lakota other than the word wakan. Should I also mention that these same missionaries really had a thing for boys? Or is it only a sin between consenting adults? Personally, I'm into women. But I have family members who you've declared to be demons. So I ask you to prove it.
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