The T in the acronym GLBTQ stands not only for the Transgender community but also for the Two Spirit community. It is a name chosen by today's North American aboriginal cultures. They believe that most people have One Spirit in them -- male or female. But some people have a Two Spirit nature -- both male and female -- which expresses itself in various ways. The single term Two Spirit includes all gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender experience.
There is a long tradition of Two Spirit people in many aboriginal cultures. Often, Two Spirit people were both respected and feared by their tribes. Their ability to incorporate both genders made them powerful and mysterious. Some women took a hunter/warrior role and married women. Some men dressed as women and became skilled in cooking, weaving, singing and pottery. Others became nurses, healers or shamans.
Their situation changed for the worse when Christianity gained power in aboriginal communities. Two Spirit people were soon called "berdaches" (male prostitutes) and actively discouraged by the missionaries. Two Spirit people became burdened with the Christian legacy of hate and shame.
But like all GLBTQ people, the Two Spirit community is today healing itself and taking back its power. Two Spirit people have discarded hateful labels and renamed themselves. They have repudiated hateful teachings and rediscovered their own cultural truths.