In class, we briefly discussed homosexuality among Native Americans and how it was traditionally celebrated. As we know, this mentality is very different when compared to the colonial white American homophobia (for Christian reasons, of course).
Personally, I have never understood what the hype is about homosexuality. It’s the same thing as being heterosexual, but only with the same sex. And as obvious as that sounds, I think it’s what people forget most. People with minority sexualities aren’t aliens, they aren’t weird, they aren’t evil…they’re people. They’re people just like you and me who happen to like the same sex. What is the problem? I suppose my lovingly liberal upbringing has influenced my view…but nonetheless, I was raised Christian, and I still could never understand why it was such a big deal. But as we know, many Christians think homosexuality is a big deal; they think it’s a sin, evil, and unnatural. And where does all of this stem from? The Bible of course. Who would have thought all of this drama could come from one book?
In sum, I’ve never agreed with the white Christian American view of homosexuality. If anything, I think homosexuality is cool: a viewpoint similar to many Native American tribes.
The “Berdache” (Native American homosexuals) were thought to live “outside the world” and be of “two spirits”. If one person could like both sexes or the same sex, they were a type of third gender: able to identify with both sexes. The Berdache were automatically thought to be spiritually gifted. In fact, homosexuality was encouraged to the point where it was considered normal for men to have gay sex, even if they weren’t actually homosexual. And if the wives of men were homosexuals or had affairs with the same sex, the husbands were considered highly honorable.
Homosexuals were thought of as being more intuitive, nurturing, wise, and skilled. Gay children were highly esteemed and valued; parents would often try to teach homosexuality to their children with hopes that the child would become homosexual, or become “Berdache”.
But why this high esteem? Well, as opposed to the white culture’s notion of “different is bad”, most Native American tribes lived by the notion that “different is good”. Different mind sets, different values.
However, forced white American assimilation has taken its toll on the views of homosexuality in Native communities. Just as the white colonists were homophobic, now many Native Americans communities are. I suppose if you’re forcibly integrated into extremist and absurd views long enough and intensely enough, you have a higher chance of being brainwashed. The white Americans not only took and/or corrupted Native land and Native lives, but also Native spirituality; twisting minds seems to be the colonial white Americans’ talent.
Sometimes things change for the better, but not always.
The movie posted below is about a movie called “Two Spirits” in which the history of Native American is explored, and a specific case of a Native homosexual hate crime.
Source of information: http://www.spirit-alembic.com/ishvara.html