Because transformation is understood as sacred within Aboriginal cultures, two-spirit people were usually presumed to be people of power because they had both maleness and femaleness within one body, and saw with the eyes of both men and women. As a result, they often served as mediators. Because many two-spirits had a spiritual basis for their gender role – a role that could emerge or change as a result of a vision or dream – two-spirit people were often asked to do spiritual work. The terms “gay” and “lesbian” feel restrictive to many contemporary two-spirit Aboriginal peoples because those identities are defined in terms of sexual behaviour instead of by the complex, often spiritual, roles played by two-spirit people, who embody transformation and vision.


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