A History of Homosexuality – Part 2

The Americas

Homosexuality, or variations of it, not only existed in many Native American tribes, but was celebrated. The concept of the Two-Spirit Individual did not start out as one of homosexuality, but it did address gender roles.

The Two-Spirit Individual – wa2

A Two-Spirit Individual had traits of both man and woman, and was often recognized when the individual was a child. If the parents noticed the child not engaging in gender appropriate play, a ritual would be performed, allowing the child to choose their gender. For instance, an enclosure of brush would be made, and at the center, a man’s bow and a woman’s basket would be placed. The child would be told to enter the enclosure and bring something out. As he did so, the brush would be lit on fire, and the tribe would watch what item the child would bring out. If he brought out the basket, the tribe would raise him as a Two-Spirit.

A Two-Spirit man would wear women’s clothing, and often take a husband from the tribe. He would engage in traditionally female activities, like basket weaving or cooking, but would also partake in male activities. He would not be expected to engage in sexual relations with women. Two-Spirit women would be hunters and warriors foremost, but engage in female activities as well.

Again, this was more addressed to gender roles than sexual preference. Different terms were used by different tribes to describe a Two-Spirit man or woman. In tribes where the same term was used to describe both male and female Two-Spirits, it was considered a third gender. The Two-Spirit individual was revered and celebrated through art and dance. dahtesteThey were considered blessed because of their dual nature. There is documentation regarding great female warriors, like Lozen, an Apache Warrior, who fought against American forces with her brother, Victorio, after they left the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona around 1877. There is also documentation of Kuilix, a female warrior of the Pend d’Oreilles in Montana in the 1840’s.

When Europeans came to colonize the Americas, the Two-Spirit individual was looked upon as a sexual abhorrence, based on the Christian beliefs brought with the Europeans. Two-Spirit people were tortured and executed, and thus became ostracized from their tribes as well. This discrimination is still felt in outlying tribes, where homosexuals and transgenders are not welcome on Reservation property.

However, as time has gone on and cultures have changed, the idea of a Two-Spirit Individual has grown to encompass gays, lesbians, and transgenders, and has become an integral part of today’s homosexual Native Americans. There are pow wows and gatherings held to once again embrace the Two-Spirit Individual.

Latin America

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The native tribes of Latin America, like the Aztecs and Mayans, were not as tolerant as other indigenous tribes. However, the Aztecs did have certain public rituals that incorporated homoerotic overtones. They worshiped the god Xochipilli, who protected male prostitution and homosexuality. They often took sex slaves from their conquests, but saw homosexuality as weak and perverted.

Mayans were a bit more tolerant of homosexuality, and considered it acceptable to pre-marital sex. Often, nobles would get sex slaves for their children.

Most documentation of homosexuality among Latin American tribes was one of dominance/submission among slave owners and slaves.

In other areas, like in Veracruz, brothels were found by conquerors. These brothels housed males dressed as females, with their faces painted up like females. Tribes conquered by the Aztecs often had a far more open view of homosexuality, and tribes like the Toltecs openly practiced homosexuality.0tdaoVG

So far, in my research, I’m finding a general tolerance of homosexuality and transgenderism among ancient cultures, and this harmony disrupted by Christian conquerors, who forced their ways upon the indigenous peoples, turning homosexuality from a celebrated status to one of shame and death.

Next post will focus on homosexuality in East Asia.

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One thought on “A History of Homosexuality – Part 2

  1. Wyze May 28, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    Very Eye Opening, & Powerful Post….

    Like

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