General => Research Needed => Topic started by: educatedindian on April 13, 2006, 05:29:07 pm

Title: Radical Faeries
Post by: educatedindian on April 13, 2006, 05:29:07 pm
Found this group mentioned doing a search on Sams. Seems their late founder Harry Hays invented the term two spirit. One site mentioned his group the Radical Faeries do Native or what they think are Native rituals.,3.html
"Meetings of the Radical Faeries generally occur in rural settings, and their celebrations combine Native American and New Age elements. The first took place in the desert near Tucson, Arizona in September 1979. Since then the Radical Faeries movement has spread across the United States and also to Europe....Stuart Timmons published a biography, The Trouble with Harry Hay, in 1990, and a collection of Hay's writings, Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder, appeared in 1996. When in 1999 the choice of grand marshal for San Francisco's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade was put to a public vote for the first time, Hay was the winner. He was also the subject of Eric Slade's PBS documentary Hope along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay (2002)"

They seem decentralized much like the Rainbow Tribe.

And this Gay Spiritual Network turned lots of groups that need to be looked at.
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: educatedindian on April 13, 2006, 05:33:24 pm
The good post that started me looking into this.
"After Derek’s exhaustive 40 minute search in the American History section of a bookstore, he proclaimed that “the Native Americans had quite a few people that were revered in their society that were called two spirit people. … Now, they were called two spirits and considered a little more in touch with the divine in their opinion because they were considered to have the foot in two world and their spirits were more open and pure.???
I don’t know which books Derek stumbled onto, but it sounds more like he dropped by Barnes & Nobles or Borders notorious “Native American??? section. It is usually full of well know fraud and spiritual hucksters such as Ed McGaa, Jamie Sams, Lynne Andrews and the ilk. You don’t do serious research about Indigenous people at a bookstore. Both the anthropologists and the gay community are well known for fabricating information about homosexuals in Indigenous culture. It’s not responsible to perpetuate misunderstanding about the two-spirit myth.
There was so much inaccurate information in your piece; I don’t know where to begin in debunking it. Indians (sic) did not refer to homosexuals as Berdaches, this is a term used by Anthropologists. Indigenous people NEVER referred to homosexuals as two-spirits. Two-spirit is a term coined by Harry Hay, founder of the radical Faeries. In the 1970’s he was making a nuisance of himself trying to find a “Berdache??? person among the Pueblo people. The spiritual leaders basically laughed at his outrageous theories and wouldn’t have anything to do with him. He finally located one tribal member who merely showed him where the gays lived - on the outside of the village. Unwilling to be stopped by facts, Hay made up the whole two-spirit Faery tale and started trying to sell it to the gay population. The Jungian psychologists of the time ran with it and kept embellishing it with more and more little white lies. Just like Orwell predicted, that little white lie told over and over again became “truth.??? I am constantly annoyed by gay people who firmly believe they are “two-spirits??? who are entitled to be told everything about my spiritual practices on the basis of their homosexuality alone. Millions of people accept as absolute truth a complete fabrication that was pulled out of Harry Hay’s but.
There are a lot of terms for homosexuals in Native languages but none of them contain the word “two??? in it and none of them indicate that a homosexual is more in touch with the divine or revered in any way. This is just LGBT propaganda – wishful thinking. I believe you know what Carl Sagan would say about this modern myth.
The only accurate statement that Derek made about homosexuals and Indigenous cultures is that homosexuals were not discriminated against one way or the other. In most Indigenous cultures, gays were considered equals, nothing else. They weren't special and they didn’t have super-powers.
If Derek had bothered and examine these ridiculous statement rationally, he might not have wasted precious bandwidth with this LGBT drivel.
Anyone who knows the first thing about Indigenous cultures, knows that First Nations people don’t believe that having any particular sexual orientation or gender orientation puts you in closer contact with the spiritual. This is patently ridiculous. It is tremendously offensive to me as a Native American when whites tell me what my people used to believe. I get really annoyed when I am silenced when I try to voice my opposition to the offensive behavior of white gay people and I’m labeled anti-gay or a homophobe and told that I’m ignorant of my own cultural traditions. The arrogance of the white “two-spirits??? is boundless.
Additionally, it makes no sense to assume that Indigenous people refer to white outsiders with a term they would use to refer to homosexuals. Most Nations have one word for all whites and it’s rarely a nice one.
It was fairly well known in the 70s that Harry Hay was making up pretty myths about gay people in order for the gay liberation movement to have a positive image of themselves. Very few white people will ever object to his exploitation of Native American culture to get his message across, because we are not seen as fully human. The end justified the means. Now white middle class gays can’t let go of their pretty lie. They stop all dialogue on the subject and label anyone who tries to debunk their myths as anti-gay. Carl Sagan’s Baloney detection kit has a lot to say about this type of argumentation.
The sad truth is that Native voices will always be silenced by more powerful white voices. If white middle class gays need to lie about our ancient practices in order to make themselves feel better about being a sexual minority, then they will use their power and privilege to accomplish those ends. They will see that the books they want to have published are published. They will support books that lie with their dollars. They will continue conduct visions quests and sweat lodge ceremonies that they made up with the help of lies perpetuated in popular nuage books. They will refuse to stop exploiting and selling our ceremonies for profit because they can. They will turn a deaf ear to the protests of our legitimate elders because they don’t have to listen to us. This is exactly how morally superior the gay white population is.
Derek seems to be easily influenced into the popular stereotype of Indigenous people being all kewl and mysterious and believing in really funky weird things. If it sounds strange, it must be an Indian thing ey? Only a bunch of primitives could think that a homosexual sex act puts you into closer contact with the divine. If Hay had chosen another culture to exploit,
Derek continues his brilliant analysis of cultures he knows nothing about by declaring that,
“The newer two spirits that started to pop up I guess most of them are probably white folks
trying to make people know that this is an acceptable practice by ancient folks so why isn’t it acceptable now? The newer Native Americans don’t give it any support they are actually siding with the gay is wrong side.???
Why is it appropriate for white people to spread the word about our ancient practices?
This is the same fallacious argument that gay exploiters use to justify cultural theft. Any Indigenous person who objects to their exploitation and propaganda must be anti-gay and ignorant of all the tremendous wisdom that our great white brothers possess.
Could it be that LIVING Native Americans are actually on the side of cultural theft and perversion is wrong?
Would it have killed you to try to present the Native American position on the cultural genocide perpetuated by the two-spirit movement?
You claim to give religion critical thought, but you don’t touch Wiccan’s cultural theft or the Rainbow’s environmental destruction or the gay population obsession with perverting and destroying Indigenous Culture? How come certain groups are getting a pass on this show?"
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: educatedindian on April 13, 2006, 05:35:28 pm
And a good follow up post at the same link.

"I love this site guys, the interviews rock, but the research by the hosts leaves a little bit to be desired.
Well I had a little longer than 40 minutes, so I did some research on the subject.
The two-spirit tradition appears to be nothing but a hoax.
Pretty much every pop-culture mind-candy book provides no hard evidence that gays were revered in any Native American culture. A lot of the authors take wild leaps of logic and freely speculate as to what they hope to be true. Two of the books I looked at were written by Will Roscoe whose research was guided by Harry Hay. Another one was written by Walter L. Williams, who dedicated his book to his friend Harry Hay. Another one was edited by Sue Ellen Jacobs, who admits to a personal correspondence with Harry Hay and uses Will Roscoe as a reference. A lot of these books also site authors that have been widely criticized by Native people such as Paula Gunn-Allen, the fruitcake who speaks to aliens from distant galaxies through a crystal skull, and Beverly Little Thunder, who managed to elicit several death threats from Lakota elders for her version of the female Sun dance. (Lesbians without shirts getting their chests pierced, I’d like to see that)
On the Berdaches as revered shamans side of the argument, the sources were almost exclusively modern day Lakota informants. The most frequently sited is, Terry Calling Eagle. Also sited were Michael One Feather, Vincent White Cloud, Luke Standing Elk, Twila Giegle Dillon and John One Grass. I couldn’t find any information about the qualifications of these individuals. Terry Calling Eagle is quoted frequently on gay web sites. Most of the books using these informants also site Harry Hay’s philosophical writings as evidence (The Hammond Report, One Institute Quarterly 6 (1963) p. 11) and a lot of them site the work, Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John Fire Lame Deer.
I read the whole book and I couldn’t find any evidence there.
On the other side, there were a lot of prominent female anthropologists who wrote about Berdaches in the 30s and 40s who came to the conclusion that Berdaches were not revered and in some cases were even excluded from becoming healers and medicine men because the tribe believed they were spiritually deficient. Ermine, Vogelin 1938 Tubatulabel Ethnography. Anthropological Records (2) I:I-90 and Cora Dubois, Wintu Ethnography. University of California Publications in American Archeology and Ethnology 1935. Vogelin reported that is was impossible for Berdaches to become shamans in Wintu society. And DuBois reported that in Chugach Eskimos culture, the man-woman were not able to become shamans and they were regarded as unfit to be healers. She also reported that in the majority of the California tribes, the Plateu and the Great Basin, Berdaches were regarded as not having the necessary spiritual gifts and possessing no sacred qualities. Julian H. Steward, a prolific writer in Anthropological Records Cultural Element Distributions(4:2) p 252 and (8:3) p 279 reports that Berdaches were uncommon in Shoshone society and regarded with mild interest and no disapproval. Regarding Shamanism and Berdaches she concluded that “Native thought did not connect the two phenomena.??? In 15 reported cases the reported Berdaches were unremarkable. They were just seen as men who wanted to do women’s work. One male Berdache had a wife and children, another kept house for white people, another one had an abnormally small penis. None of the informants mentioned anything about spiritual powers in the 30s and 40s. All the hoopla came well after Harry Hay claimed to have found all this evidence.
Overall, based on an incredible absence of evidence and a lot of wishful thinking by white gays trying to promote a political agenda, I would say that a thinking person would have to conclude that the is no link between Berdaches and heightened social status or increased spiritual gifts in any Native American culture.
I’m straight and white myself, but until somebody can provide me with hard evidence, I’m going to tell everyone I know that the two-spirit myth is pure bunk.
And I will continue to be annoyed by all the silly white people running around calling themselves two-spirits and engaging in random acts of preciousness."
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: Liam on June 11, 2006, 08:11:04 am

hi - found this browsing some journals. Thought it might be of some interest. Liam

I understand what you're saying," she said. "But saying non-Aboriginals shouldn't use the term two-spirited reminds me of a lawsuit I heard where Xerox sued someone to make them quit using the word Xerox as a verb." I looked at her and saw hundreds of years of colonization at work. This woman was queer, educated, and feminist, yet still was not questioning her own privilege. How could she compare cultural appropriation to corporate copyright infringement? She was completely missing the point.

I have noticed an increasing trend of non-Aboriginals beginning to self-label using the term two-spirited. "So what's the problem?" you may wonder. A non-Aboriginal self-labelling as two-spirited is an example of continuing cultural appropriation by mainstream society. The term two-spirited has a specific cultural context, and removing it from that context simply because one likes the meaning of it is an act of colonization and must be resisted. Eduardo Duran and Bonnie Duran discuss the need for Aboriginals to "create counter-hegemonic discourses" (27). The term two-spirited is part of our counter-hegemonic discourse and reclamation of our unique histories.

Aboriginal people coined the term two-spirit and are using it to reflect our past, and the direction of our future. We are using the term. It is ours. Paula Gunn Allen discusses the Native American concept of ownership, when she states, "possession was seen as a matter of use, not a matter of eternal right" (19, my emphasis). She continues, "People couldn't steal something that belonged to someone else because only one person can use something at a time" (19). My assertion is that Aboriginal people are using the term two-spirited, and out of respect, other groups should refrain from self-labelling with it while we are using it.

Two-spirited Aboriginal people experience intersecting oppressions that impinge upon their unique identity in the queer community. Two-spirited people have typically been seen only as an add-on or subset of other queer categories like bisexual or transsexual, rather than as their culturally specific and unique selves. For example, in the LGBQT component of one of my third year social work classes, two-spiritedness was not adequately discussed, and the term was left dangling unexplained under the term bisexual up on the blackboard. Then in our Aboriginal-specific social work class, there was no two-spirit content at all. Two-spiritedness tends to fall between the cracks in academic curriculum. University courses do not adequately cover the concept of two-spiritedness in their LGBQT content, which only adds to the general lack of knowledge within the queer community and society at large.

This also has created a rift in the queer community between non-Aboriginals who feel entitled to use the term two-spirited freely, and Aboriginals who believe it is yet another egregious example of cultural appropriation by the dominant society. In this paper, I will analyse the history of two-spiritedness, the identity politics operating behind the use of the term, and articulate why it is inappropriate for non-Aboriginal queers to self-apply the terminology.

Historical Context

Prior to European contact, many (but not all) Aboriginal groups had two-spirit members who were integral parts of the community, occupying positions of honour and communal value. Sabine Lang states that two-spirit people were "seen as being neither men nor women, but as belonging to genders of their own within cultural systems of multiple genders" (114). Aboriginal sexuality was based on multiple genders, at least three, but up to six. For example, there were male, female, and not-male/not female (two-spirited). Some groups conceived of six genders. For example, a two-spirited woman who had a female partner was a different gender than a two-spirited woman who had a male partner.

Terry Tafoya states, "gender orientation and sexual orientation are two separate categories" (194). The difference between the modern constructs of gay/lesbian/bi is that they are based on sexual orientation, whereas two-spiritedness is based on gender orientation. This can be difficult concept for people indoctrinated with western binary (male/ female) concepts of sexuality. Sexual orientation is based on physical sex characteristics. Gender orientation is not based on physical sex characteristics, but rather on the roles the person chooses to align with. I will use myself as an example to clarify the distinction here. Whether I choose to be with a man or a woman, in the context of the original meaning of the term two-spirited, I would continue to be considered two-spirited despite my "male" choice of gender role. Yet, because my partner is a woman, I am considered homosexual in the western sexual dichotomy. Sabine Lang states, "a same-sex relationship in many Native American cultures, at least traditionally, is not necessarily at the same time a same-gender relationship" (104). This is because a female with a male gender role was considered to be a completely different gender than a female with a "normal" female gender role. As such, traditionally my partner and I would not be considered homosexual, because we have two different gender roles.

Paula Gunn Allen, a First Nations scholar, states that "we do not fit easily into pre-existing officially recognized categories is the correlative of our culture of origin" (6). She continues, "neither does our thought fit the categories that have been devised to organize Western intellectual enterprise" (6). Two-Spirited Aboriginals do not subscribe to or neatly fit into the western dichotomies of human sexuality. We are not either/or; we are neither/nor. Traditional western discourse is not an adequate framework for the complexities involved in two-spiritedness.

Analysis of Effects of the Residential School System

Gil Lerat has pointed out that "the religious dogma of the Residential Schools have erased a proud and rich history of Two-spirit people in most Aboriginal communities" (5). This is one of the unacknowledged side effects of the horrific sexual, emotional, and physical abuse that many Aboriginal children encountered in the residential school system. Many Aboriginals who experienced same-sex sexual abuse as a child equate this abuse with being gay, or gay sex. It is well established that pedophilia is not the same thing as being gay, lesbian, bi, or two-spirited and that, in fact, most child molesters identify as heterosexual men (Groth and Gary 147). However, in the mindset of three generations of residential school survivors, this distinction has not been drawn. As Fiona Meyer-Cook and Diane Labelle state, "Two-Spirited people are seen in the same light as sin and sexual abusers" (39).

Our Elders--the gatekeepers of knowledge in Aboriginal communities--have not passed down their teachings regarding two-spirited people's place in our communities. Either there is complete silence on the issue, or there is blatant denial and homophobia incorporated in their teachings. This has had the unfortunate effect of generations growing up with no concept of what it historically meant to be two-spirited and this has led to the erasure of this history from the collective mindset of the residential school generations, and subsequent generations thereafter. Heterosexist and homophobic thought has permeated the teachings of some of out Elders due to the imposition of Christian values imposed on them in the residential schools. These sentiments often remain unchallenged when spoken by an Elder, due to the respect they have in the community.

Colonization and the residential school system wreaked havoc on traditional Aboriginal beliefs and customs. The dehumanization suffered by out elders and our communities in the residential schools has had an intergenerational effect on Aboriginal communities, and especial
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: pantspants on May 22, 2021, 09:52:22 am
Hello, I am extremely late to this thread, but I feel it bears answering, because these supposedly radical white gay HIV+ men are still at their f*ckshit appropriating native spiritual traditions but not even having the decency to respect them at all.

Secondly, they have nothing to do with the coining of the term "two-spirit", but have absolutely no compunctions about self-applying it, with no conception at all of what it means except by generational word of mouth from white people before them.

I can get a lot more into this if so desired. I'll take the sound of crickets as the hint to just sit quietly.
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: pantspants on May 22, 2021, 10:00:51 am
P.S. berdache is slang, strongly implying not homosexuality, but making a living as a prostitute.
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: Smart Mule on May 22, 2021, 06:21:21 pm
There's a reason even Native websites about "Two Spirit" cite as their sources books by white anthros. That should tell everyone what's wrong with this. And we know berdache is a slur. What was posted earlier was a quote. Hay was a piece of crap (at the very least) pedo-apologist. There was clear opposition at the conference where this term was coined. Where are our words? How does the term lend to the vast differences between communities? The term leads to linguistic erasure and promotes pan-indianism. We should not use phrases that make life easier for the dominant culture. We should not actively participate in language games that were initiated by members of the dominant culture. What about folks who do not identify with either gender - this disappears third + gender within our communities.

How many communities ascribe to the dual genders in one body? Please be specific.

Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: Smart Mule on May 22, 2021, 10:18:13 pm
I'm assuming your friend that was at the con also told you that the term was being used by (primarily) white pagans prior to, yes? Because those white pagans were there.

There is a huge issue that this 'place holder' term has, in many way, perpetuated assimilation in that more Indigenous people of what is now North America use the term than the term from their respective community. Language reclamation is so damn important and we all should be participating in it to the best of our ability (our being Indigenous people).

The term also leads to homogenization and stereotypes by the dominant culture.
Title: Re: Radical Faeries
Post by: NAFPS Housekeeping on May 23, 2021, 05:30:46 pm
Derailing posts by Pantspants and select Native responses moved to Pantspants' intro thread (