Have gender variant individuals always existed?
Though the language of gender identity is contemporary, people who have challenged the stereotypical categories of gender have existed for much of human history. Gender variant individuals have existed in many cultures including indigenous, Southeast Asian, South, American, Caribbean, European, and African tribes. The most well-documented of these gender variant identities exists in indigenous cultures. “Two-spirit” people of the First Nations are Aboriginal peoples who are ‘other gendered’ in their abilities to cross traditional gender categories and to express both genders. These individuals are recognized as ‘third gender,’ are honored and respected as healers, and turned to for guidance and strength.
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