FAQ: Is it Cultural Appropriation to identify as Two-Spirit?
The term “two-spirit” is a modern term but the concept is not. The term two-spirit is essentially a catchall for third/fourth genders recognized in indigenous North America.
The term does NOT specifically refer to a transgender identity. In some communities it was a way to handle homosexuality within the group.
Third Genders describe all sorts of people who don’t fall into the predisposed man/woman dichotomy, depending on the culture. Two-spirited individuals were expected to behave within the predefined two-spirit gender norms of his or her tribe.
Most tribes were aware of the existence of two-spirit people, and many still have a name in their language for them.
Is it appropriation to identify this way when not Native? Yes.