This landmark book combines the voices of Native Americans and non-Indians, anthropologists and others, in an exploration of gender and sexuality issues as they relate to lesbian, gay, transgendered, and other "marked" Native Americans. Focusing on the concept of two-spirit people--individuals not necessarily gay or lesbian, transvestite or bisexual, but whose behaviors or beliefs may sometimes be interpreted by others as uncharacteristic of their sex--this book is the first to provide an intimate look at how many two-spirit people feel about themselves, how other Native Americans treat them, and how anthropologists and other scholars interpret them and their cultures. Includes the voices of contemporary Native American two-spirit people and combines their commentary with that of anthropologists and other scholars. Two-Spirit People will be a turning point in the study of the Native American berdache.
Third gender or third sex is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman. It is also a social category present in societies that recognize three or more genders. The term third is usually understood to mean "other"; some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth,  fifth,  and "some"  genders. Biology determines whether a human's chromosomal and anatomical sex is malefemaleor one of the uncommon variations on this sexual dimorphism that can create a degree of ambiguity known as intersex.
Before Christianization mangled their culture, numerous Native American tribes accepted a third gender. According to Trista Wilson, there were about Native American tribes that culturally accepted the third and fourth gender. Third gender could be considered parallel to transsexualbut it is significant to note that people of the third gender did not take any measures to physically become a member of the opposite sex. It is to be emphasized that these people were not considered homosexuals, and that the concept of third gender was less about sexual orientation although third genders did form sexual relationships with same and different sex individuals and more about gender roles.
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