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Understanding and Acceptance Terms and Definitions

This week we step into painful territory as the worlds of the Affirming Ministry movement and that of the Truth and Reconciliation Process converge.

Our words for this week are Two Spirit and Bisexual

Two-Spirit: is a cultural identity used by some indigenous people who have both masculine and feminine spirits.

To best understand the complexity and beauty of the Two Spirit person, we are blessed to share the words of an Indigenous elder.

Two-Spirit Pride and Reconciliation

“Two-Spirit” is a term used within some Indigenous communities, encompassing cultural, spiritual, sexual and gender identity. The term reflects complex Indigenous understandings of gender roles, spirituality, and the long history of sexual and gender diversity in Indigenous cultures.

Before colonization, Two-Spirit people were included and respected as valued community members, often holding revered roles such as healers, matchmakers, and counsellors, among many others. As part of the colonization process, there has been an attempted erasure of Two-Spirit people. The western religious values and belief systems that were imposed on Indigenous people condemned any sort of sexual or gender diversity, and Two-Spirit people were forced into assimilation and hiding. One of many lasting impacts of colonization on Two-Spirit people, is an increased level of homophobia and transphobia within many Indigenous communities, which can often cause Two-Spirit people to leave their home communities (and subsequently, their families, land, and culture).

The role of Two-Spirit people in Indigenous communities is now being reclaimed, and it is becoming increasingly recognized that homophobia and transphobia are in direct contradiction with most traditional Indigenous values. Reclaiming the traditional roles and value placed on Two-Spirit people's gifts, is part of a larger healing process taking place within Indigenous communities. 

As we continue our work on learning to be Allies, we must understand and recognize the hurt and loss suffered by our Indigenous Communities in addition to the misunderstanding and loss to our culture by the lack of recognition of the deep Spiritual Gifts encompassed by those who are Two Spirited.

Bisexual: is a person who has emotional, roman- tic, or sexual attraction for a person of more than one gender.

The​ ​word bisexual is more of a descriptive term. It provides an understanding of a person’s sexual orientation but does not equate to the deep Spiritual roles that the Two Spirit people held in the traditional cultures.

The work of an Affirming Ministry Congregation is to ever expand our understanding and capacity for Love and Diversity. Those of the Two Spirit realm hold up for us an opportunity to imagine a world where once again those who linger on the edges of the spectrum shine the most beautiful light for all to see.


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