Please share your stories, ideas and comments here. We’d love to hear how Two Spirits has touched your life.
Melissa Thompson wrote:
I received (my two copies) in the mail, watched it within 15 minutes and cried my heart out. Beautifully done but so, so sad. When will we as humans realize we are all one, and respect eachother?? I doesn’t feel right to say thank you …but thank you for sharing him/her with us, in that way “Fred’s spirit will continue to soar”.
Lenny Hayes wrote:
A beautiful and tragic story……. Quite educating on the meaning of being Two-Spirited. I am a proud Dakota Two-Spirit of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. Our voices are being told through this story. Thank You so much for making this film!
People are scared of the unfamiliar, not normal. I can speak from a female point of view. I am 41 right now, and have accepted who I am, but for years struggling with a small town mid-west upbringing. My mother was very supportive of me being me, which was an extreme “tomboy” to the point of being mistaken as a boy quite often in my pre-teen years. However society and other very influential people in my life were not.
My opinion is that a lot of that confusion in school led to many many fights when I was young. Girls couldn’t figure out why boys liked me even though I dressed like them and not all girly… I could do wood and metal shop as well as any of the boys. To this day my children know that I have more of a male personality than a female, and they are good with it.
Winnie Mabee wrote:
I just saw this film in Columbia, Missouri. It was great. If you get the chance to see it or have the opportunity to use it in your classroom, DO IT!!! It was truly moving and definitely educates people about what is going on as far as hate crimes and educates about genders and two spirits.
Eva-Genevieve Scarborough wrote:
We showed the film at our Church a few months ago and it was very well received – several people told me it opened their eyes on the subject. I have watched the movie myself several times because much of it strikes a chord with my own feelings and experiences as a transgender/two-spirit woman.
Christie Walter wrote:
As a two spirited Wolastoqiyik Maliseet person: I want to say Woliwon (thank-you) for the experience of witnessing that video. Peace
Two-Spirit by Mariposa Villaluna
When I was little, I always knew my biological father was different than other dads. I used to tell my childhood friends, “My Dad acts like your Mom.” I remember the times when he would realize he would seem more feminine and then try to ‘buck up’ and act more masculine. I thought it was always funny, and didn’t really understand it when I was little. I remember telling him, “Dad, I like it more when you are like a girl instead of you trying to be a boy.”
When I got older, I started to learn what the word gay meant. I started to ponder if my dad really had two spirits. I thought he did, but I didn’t understand how could he be married to my mom if he was. To me, it was no secret that my Dad never loved my mom the way I saw other two people love each other. I even remember finding an old picture of my parents kissing, and was so surprised to find out that they actually ever kissed.
Eventually my parents divorced, and I never wanted that to happen. I finally thought, well maybe they both can be happy since they don’t have each other. My mother found happiness without him, and remarried. My biological father found hate, became abusive, and a new wife whom he never kissed either.
My biological father would talk about how gay people are evil and sinful, and how they were going to hell. I thought it was weird how he always talked bad about gay people, and I knew he was gay. In my teenager circle, gay guys were the coolest guys, and I always came to them for advice. Finally, I thought I am going to confront him about being gay. I told him, “I think that God loves gay people as much as anyone else. God doesn’t hate gay people.” He was so furious that I said this, and began to scream and beat me in different ways. He finally admitted, “I used to be gay.” He still couldn’t say “I am gay.” He started to disown me after this, and eventually I was returned custody back to my mom.
I grew up with a Biological father who was taught by a society to hate himself for who he is. He learned that hate so well that he hurt his child physically, mentally, and spiritually. I still think if I had a father who loved himself, how would I have turned out? Would I still have him in my life? Could he heal himself and be free so could we have a relationship again?
I took these questions with me when I went to see the movie Two-Spirits, a movie about a Dine’ nádleehí (someone who possesses a balance of masculine and feminine traits) named Fred Martinez Jr. who was brutally killed about an hour from where I live. Traditionally in his culture, being two-spirit is seen as a balance and a gift. A gift my father never embraced, and was taught to be ashamed of. Martinez was sixteen, and one of the youngest hate-crime victims and was killed in Cortez, CO.
I have traveled to the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation many different times, which is next to Cortez, CO. I remember having a conversation with one of the tribal citizens over there. He would tell me, “I don’t go to Cortez. Every time I go there get in a fight, they are so racist there.” With talking to other people on the reservation, he was not the only one who thought this. It seemed as if the folks I talked to when straight to Wal-mart when entering Cortez and then right back to the reservation. I think about Fred, not only was he Native but also openly a two-spirit and was never ashamed of whom he was meant to be.
Fred Martinez left to go to a rodeo carnival and five days later was found dead. He was beaten to death. A human being who had so much love, caring, and laughter and gave it to the world was killed. That boy felt no guilt and bragged about his death. This hate upon Native Americans, lesbian, gay, two-spirit, transgender, and intersex peoples happen too often and is accepted by mainstream society. I work with kids where I hope to share a message of love and peace, where they can discuss their feelings and break down prejudices so it would never lead to the hurt of another human being.
My biological father never learned to love himself for who he fully was, but Fred did and it cost him his life. Fred I hope you are receiving my digital smoke signal in the spirit world and I want you to know that I honor you for who you are. I hope this article in some way honors your legacy and maybe that you became a martyr for the protection of other two-spirits, like my closeted biological father.
Two-Spirits will open your mind to a world that Fred walked, in being Native and two-spirited. It will make you laugh, cry, and wish for a better world. Hopefully, that wishing will turn into action and make you think about the world Fred walked in, so there will never be another death committed by hate.
– by Mariposa Villaluna, Republished by POOR Magazine/PNN Network