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Living Two-Spirit?

Guest Nawat

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I was wondering if anyone has been actively trying to live what is suggested by the English translation, "Two Spirit"? Is there a way you have found to balance the male and female spirits and be happy? I'm new and still exploring the forums, but there is so much talk about transitioning it seems that no one wants to live in the body they have and use their two genders together... Is that because the only reason I think it might be possible because I haven't spent enough time thinking about who I am and how I want to live my life? Or is it possible to live both?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was wondering if anyone has been actively trying to live what is suggested by the English translation, "Two Spirit"? Is there a way you have found to balance the male and female spirits and be happy? I'm new and still exploring the forums, but there is so much talk about transitioning it seems that no one wants to live in the body they have and use their two genders together... Is that because the only reason I think it might be possible because I haven't spent enough time thinking about who I am and how I want to live my life? Or is it possible to live both?

I'm of Native American descent, and I consider myself to be Two-Spirited, despite not fitting cleanly into the 'two spirits in one body' category - (though I find the label and it's definition a bit limiting at the same time). I see being born into a male body as a gift - (and as with all gifts of that nature, it has it's downside >.>) - from the Great Mysterious; but my spirit is undoubtedly female, and I can feel the disharmony between my mind/spirit and my body, and know that I need to start my transition; yet I doubt the perceptions I have gained (i.e. being able to see both sides of the equation) will ever diminish to a major extent. But I've known plenty of people who were very effectively able to strike that balance between male and female, yes. My advice is be yourself, be authentic - whatever that means to you.

I'd say definitely check out the androgynous section of this site, as Zenda suggested.

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  • 6 months later...

I think I'm two-spirit sometimes, but I'm still figuring things out. My Best friend Danny is a dead set two-spirit. Basically, you aknowlage that the spirit of the opposite gender lives in your body, but you still want to hold onto the you that you'v always known, that you know still exists. The thing that terrifies me about it is that fact that I waver about the concept so much. If I decide that I'm FTM, but am not I'd lose myself forever. But if I'm FTM and consider myself two-spirit, then I'd be denying what I am. IDK, so all in all it's a very tricky yet equally interesting concept.

And yes to who ever said that, most two-spirits are Androgynous. But not all.

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I use the term to describe my situation to people I disclose to. It is an easy one for them to wrap their brains around. Aaand...I don't over analyse myself. A label doesn't change or define me anymore, tho "stuffy closet" used to, lol!



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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest roxannemariska

The term Two-Spirit is exactly how I feel, two spirits in harmony. Something about abandoning either gender never seemed like who I was. Was very grateful to discover it had a name.

I fought hard to find a voice for Roxanne. Now I can't conceive of not giving voice to both spirits. It's not a split personality, it is very much an integrated person with two facets. Living as such gives me a balance that I had not had before. So yay for all of us, including Two-Spirits.

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  • 9 months later...
Guest Nate64567

I have the exact same thing going on too. I don't know if it's just my imagination or what but I feel like I have two spirits inside of me as well. one male and one female. I know the female one by name and can feel like I can communicate with it. I don't really know enough about 2-spirits to be sure but I felt this way for the past couple of years and I have a hard time trying to understand why this is.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Forum Moderator

Two spirits? Yes that's probably me. I'll always be the male i was declared and lived as for 63 years but i'm learning much more about the woman who has always been behind the scenes. She influenced my whole life and in the future the past male will always be me too. Maybe i'll understand a bit more about being human and the worth of everyone because of this. I think everybody shares this to some extent. Some man in the cutest woman and some woman in the hottest guy.



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  • 1 year later...
Guest Squallsong

The "Two-Spirit" (with respect to a practicing mide Anishnabe) is by definition a perfect being. The entire philosophy of Midew revolves around balance. Not all "Two-Spirit" are of opposing genders, but all of them must attain some degree of balance. I have managed to live in this body, despite the fact that I am less comfortable when not female, and I cannot make my preferred state permanent. It is something that has plagued me over the course of my life, from discovering my feminine side (at 3), fighting it (to the point of surgery at 13), completely hiding it for better than a quarter century, sharing it with my SO(s), and coming to terms with it in the past decade.

I have an advantage in that I am Anishinabe (so is my SO, and I am coming back to my heritage), but there is no need to be either Native American, nor Mide. For me, it works because I have learned to keep that precious balance. Once I managed that, much of my life simply fell into place.

Hope that helps answer some of your question Nawat...and anyone else wondering the same thing!

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The "Two-Spirit" (with respect to a practicing mide Anishnabe) is by definition a perfect being. The entire philosophy of Midew revolves around balance. Not all "Two-Spirit" are of opposing genders, but all of them must attain some degree of balance. I have managed to live in this body, despite the fact that I am less comfortable when not female, and I cannot make my preferred state permanent. It is something that has plagued me over the course of my life, from discovering my feminine side (at 3), fighting it (to the point of surgery at 13), completely hiding it for better than a quarter century, sharing it with my SO(s), and coming to terms with it in the past decade.

I have an advantage in that I am Anishinabe (so is my SO, and I am coming back to my heritage), but there is no need to be either Native American, nor Mide. For me, it works because I have learned to keep that precious balance. Once I managed that, much of my life simply fell into place.

Hope that helps answer some of your question Nawat...and anyone else wondering the same thing!

Perhaps you can elaborate on how you keep the balance? As my life unfolds, all friends and family know of my tg nature, having come out to all over a period of a year. However, there are some who know primarily the male part and others who know only the female part. It means I still live in two worlds even though there are no secrets. That creates a tension or dichotomy within. It would certainly be simpler to go "all in" if not for a few economic considerations I need not elaborate on.

Btw, welcone to Laura's Playground :)


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Welcome Squallsong, Please yes more, I'm one on the edge of my seat too. I know I'm two spirit but after two years of living full time female, others seldom see that other person in me. My kids do, I am daily Mom and Dad. They have known both sides of me for a long time. We are at peace with that.

So maybe go to the introductions forum and give us a formal intro. Hope you find a home here too. Hug. JodyAnn

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Guest Squallsong

Well, clearly I've touched on something of interest. I'll try to check into "introductions" (Thank you JodyAnn).

Not sure how to address the question Michelle 2010 (or elaborate JodyAnn) but I'll give it a shot. I don't believe all two spirit are Native American, so I'll try to keep non-denominational here unless I'm told otherwise...the category is "Two Spirit", not "Midewiwin" or "Red Road".

All things are in a state of balance, and everything is a cycle. This is "religious", but true in many Eastern cultures as well as Native American, and ultimately scientific and logical.

Balance is at it's most simplistic, a mathematical equation...one side must equal the other. Everyone has a goal, dream, desire, or such, but you can't cheat balance, and it is something nobody but you can be responsible for. To add something, you must subtract something equal, or add equally to the opposite. Think of it as "happiness through algebraic equation". I wish I could hand over the ultimate solution...unfortunately, I'm not a talented mathematician, and truthfully, no two people will ever find the same equation suitable.

For me, I have had to give up much. I have two spirits, and just one body. That means each spirit had to concede "half" to the other. Think of it as a marriage that cannot ever end in divorce. Both have some similar needs, and interests...those are sacred, and dealing with these is when both spirits will be at peace and in the most altruistic state of love. As I mentioned, I cannot live full-time as female...at least not at this point. There's a Father in here, and much like my own Father, he will not tolerate burdening my children with issues that could arise. He carries that burden with all the love of a Father. There's also some medical issues that will be complicated and costly. So I have had to settle with those odd weekends where my children are away to allow my femininity to be openly expressed. That doesn't mean I suppress her...I have learned to nurture her at every opportunity...I have 3 daughters, and I get involved in their interests. I "check out" a pretty lady, and think, "that's a fabulous top, I want one!" instead of "oooooh cleavage! ...*drool" (and thankfully she is quite proper and discrete, so I seldom realize that she just checked out that guy over there). I grow my hair very long (not uncommon among Native American men...but it helps me feel instantly feminine often and sometimes unexpectedly) and I splurge on ladieswear, while I go with the old jeans and cheap t-shirt for menswear. Many of us can get by with such simple practical balances as these.

I on the other hand, have had many spiritual experiences, dating back to some of my earliest memories. Only recently (15ish years ago) did I discover that these were actually parts of my heritage sneaking in. I could write a book...but my biography would likely be quite boring as a whole, so I won't :P

I have started a blog on this site to touch on my spirituality:


Currently I'm writing up one of the basic principles that I have seen help many, including myself. I will post it there within the day. I can easily come up with a few more basic concepts without much effort, and would love to hear suggestions and questions.

I will check back here often as well. Seems that there's a fair amount of question as to what we are and how we live...and what better way to spread understanding! I'm sure there's just as many cis-gender people curious about us.

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When I contemplate the spiritual aspect of what tg means, (and being a spiritual person, I do), Two-Spirit is the concept that makes the most sense to me. I cannot see denying the impact motherhood, for example, has had on me, but neither can I any longer deny my male nature. To the extent that I choose physical transition, it is to make my body better reflect what I need it to for social roles and how I wish to be perceived. That perception isn't my identity, which had always been more complicated than standard gender boxes accommodate.

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Guest Squallsong

I agree Ravin. I think "two spirit" is a term that's not well understood or defined.

Originally, the French called Native "non-binary" people "Berdache". This was intentionally derogatory. "Two Spirit" is a good English approximation for the definition of about 150 different Native dialects for those who are not strictly male or female. It is definitely more polite than the French term.

I don't think "Two Spirit" should be applied solely to us Native Americans though. That sort of leads to a sense of elitism, and can alienate others simply because they are not Native Americans...which is far from what my ancestors taught. It's also something I feel is wrong, we really don't need something exclusionary or elitist here in our own community!

"Two Spirit" is not a religion or philosophy. I am Native American (and ~80% of us are some form of Christian faith). I am (according to COGATI) a category 5 transsexual (sounds more like a hurricane to me..."Squallsong hits Hati:ladieswear and shoe stores swept away"). My beliefs are Midewin. I am a Mide "Two Spirit". Not all Mide are "Two Spirit". The same can be said of Hijra. Many Hijra are Muslim, not all Muslim are Hijra. It is no different than any member of the LGBT~ community, within any given faith...I am not special simply because of my race, faith or gender (or the combination of them).

This is a big part of why I've left my own beliefs out of my posts here, and opted for the blog approach to address specific Native American beliefs.

Hopefully I've managed to straighten some misunderstandings out!

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I wish you could see my twinkling smile, your humor is priceless! That and some very great information. When I was trying to find myself, I discovered the word shaman, as I researched that and found many things that fit me well. I could not really see myselft as an acient medicine person at the start. What is my magic? What is my medicine. In time it was revealed to me that my magic comes in the form of my Spiritual Higher Power and my medicine is sharing my recovery from addictions with others, smiling and loving people warmly from all walks of life (includeing my detractors) and educating through friendships about people like us.

That is powerful stuff! Way more than anything I could dream up. I just get the joy of an endless stream of people to care for, that care about me. I love when I find others that can do that too. Western culture may not validate my conception, but I won't let them negate it either. Hug. JodyAnn

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I really appreciate your point of view, Squallsong. The issue when talking about non-Native people being Two-Spirit or not is one of cultural appropriation and its hazards--but I see a distinction between the dominant culture co-opting symbols from or related to Native cultures and infusing them with their own meanings (or simply divesting them of meaning), and recognizing the wisdom in a concept found in Native cultures which addresses the blind spot the dominant culture has in its insistence on enforcing the binary, a blind spot rooted in Christian theology.

Digging into European spiritual history there are suggestions (denigrated, bastardized, and somewhat buried by Christendom) of third-gender or Two-Spirit concepts once being part of European tribal/traditional culture (Norse I particularly have in mind, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it elsewhere as well). Those in the Reconstructionist Pagan/Heathen communities sometimes look beyond the recon culture for how to take such fragments and coherently put them together. This is done in a light of respect for the integrity of the cultural traditions informing us--traditions not as badly fragmented or obliterated by Western Christian domination. It is in that light that I contemplate the meaning of Two-Spirit.

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I had been unfamiliar with the Names used by Squallsong, but once again, I try to find the definition of strange sounds and encounter something that feels so familiar in what the words are used for. By my generation, the amount of NA ancestry is fairly small, but as I read about practices and beliefs I find more than a coincidental degree of spiritual harmony with what has been part of my life all along. I also have strong blood connection to Celtic spiritual practices which also resonate with me.

Even now that I am post op, both (or 4 or ?) spirits are still at work in my life. My female appearance and conformed body in no way denies its partner and sustainer who had been the outward appearance for 6 decades. My Christian spirit and my Blood spirit have no enmity between them and magnify each other's teaching of the Greatest spirit and harmony with how I was created. I now feel that much of my life un-rest was believing those who limited me to one spiritual force within me. I do not hate the ones who laid that pit for me, but I realize why they and I could not understand each other and why I felt inwardly divided.

In another post I made here, I described a dance between two spirits that goes on for a person's life. Harmony is not both being always equal at all times, but each one honoring and respecting the other and carrying the flesh body more heavily until the other can recover and gain back strength that was expended on the healing of the flesh body. Balance is a dance of life.

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Guest Squallsong

Cultural misappropriation really doesn't concern me at all in this topic Ravin. "Two Spirit" is English after all..."Nijosi" is Algonquin. They have the same meaning, just as "dollar" and "wàbik" (precolonial Algonquin never had currency). I am quite sure that there are many pagan beliefs that have been reshaped by Christianity (and others) throughout the old world. Just looking at Britain, we see Scotland was influenced by the Vikings, Romans, and England through war, many more through diplomacy, and all of it was again reformed through Lutheran and Protestant reforms and the introduction of printing. It's easily surmised that "Two Spirit" has been buried and/or phased out under the extensive changes. The Crusades and constant warring has reshaped the Middle East and it's religions relentlessly since time immemorial. Before contact, Native Americans did not face such constant change and oppression, so it would have been a much more obvious and drastic concept which was documented better due to the technology of the day.

"Shaman" is a very generalized term JodyAnn. All had a "medicine" or "magic", but for someone to know all of the different doctrines would require three or four lifetimes. Considering that reincarnation is a common belief among Native Americans, it is no wonder why so many "Two Spirit" people were "Shaman"...they had twice the experience to draw on (although there is much more that made them revered as Shaman, and in other "jobs"). Finding "medicine" that you possess, and sharing it does indeed make you a "Shaman"...Alcoholism was unheard of before contact, but the spirit was always a consideration in any healing, and only recently did we come to realize the importance of applying many of our shamanistic methods towards curing this.

Changing your body has absolutely no bearing on on your spirituality VickySGV. Transitioning is little more than an adjustment to your own balance. I would gleefully jump at the chance if technology and law caught up to my needs...but I'd still be "Two Spirited". I am not familiar with the Western tribes (nor do I know if your ancestry is from California) but the mention of "Blood" and "Christian" spirit reminds me of several Southeastern groups with doctrine referring to three spirits (similar to mind body and soul, each with it's own domain, purpose, care, name, gender, and such, and existing within every person). Just another example of the diversity of culture, that demonstrates how "Two Spirit" is a general idea, as opposed to a culturally specific belief. Your view of a dance, and my permanent marriage, are quite the same...demonstrations of our resourcefulness in coping and balancing and how instinctively we see it...

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First of all. Welcome to LP Squallsong.

Thank you for educating us humble members of LP.

I look forward to your future posts.

To quote JodyAnn "Please yes more".

I wish you peace and prosperity on your continued Journey.

Huggs, :wub:


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I have Native-American heritage (Choctaw) and am at peace with feminine and masculine. I do think tht I am two-spirit. Whenever I'm out in nature, I feel a oneness with the environment.

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The two spirit concept is very interesting - undoubtedly every man and woman has a female and a male energy, ying/yang. I never deny the female side of me - though my body is changed with drugs and ops, basically my body is still female whether i like it or not - so i now accept that side of me, i came to terms with it, as not doing so just caused me pain - i still have a very strong maternal instinct, i have two sons and 3 grandchildren and my feelings towards them are not from a male perspective. I like that! So whilst i undoubtedly feel male and have allowed that to be more dominant because for me it feels right, the female side isnt a problem to me anymore, in fact just the opposite. I dont feel anyone is 100 percent male or female.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Squallsong

I appreciate the enthusiasm Joann! Your use of the word "humble" does not sit well with me though, as it is part of my mandate to exercise humility even when I am more knowledgeable than my peers. My basic beliefs are animistic (observe any animal and you learn something useful), and as I was taught, we are to be like the wolf...challenge your elders, and you will both learn something everytime. So please, do not be humbled!

Acceptance is a very large part of balance Jaques...like the serenity prayer we are so familiar with (give me the strength to change the things I can....) It's all about finding that point under your burdens where they feel lightest. Lots of ways if we are creative...and I'd hazard a guess that we non-polar genders are among the most creative people on the planet. I still have a very long way to go to find my own acceptance, but I'm trying hard. I agree that nobody is 100%...the very idea of it is both inconceivable and appalling! What a horribly boring existence...a whole bunch of gingerbread people...monogamy wouldn't survive such a place!

Be well and take care!

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  • 3 months later...
Guest meaenglsh

i adhered to the two spirit paradigm early on. i have a realization scenario. a boy was born before me in my family. he died in childbirth. my dad freaked. so when it came to be my time it was decided that instead of a girls body i would have a boys. plus i have two sets of nerves which supports two beings more effectively. i'm not a split personality however. the boy child's spirit who died came into that half of me. so we live fairly harmoniously. the boy has had to be relied on heavily when it was discovered that society had problems with us. we both tried to adher to that severe limitation but hilarity usually ensued. as i look back at all the silly stuff that happened because of this two spirit thing in my life, i start giggling. its really funny to me. the pendulum began to swing to the fem coming out more about 6 years ago. its been an uphill battle learning how to adjust. its like i have been so repressed that i'm a teenager again. i just am getting through my boy crazy phase. and i have figured out how to take care of my hair. its down past my shoulders. a huge deal! i'm on hrt and considering some surgery although not srs. i don't feel disassociated from my body. as others have said i feel the male body has advantages over female. also i am enjoying hrt as it is giving me control of my sexual urges. anyway i am fairly happy with this compromise.

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  • Forum Moderator

I am glad you shared your journey Meaenglsh. I lived almost all my life as a male but inside the female was always strong. Pushed to the back and held down but still there. Now that i've let her out and live my life as a woman the male is i've found still there and i've come to accept that as never before. If that is what is meant by two spirit i am certainly living it today with a peace of mind i never dreamed i could possess.



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Guest April Kristie

I am trying to find myself and I think the two spirit aspect is intriguing. My male side was made to run our show for most of our life, the female was there but was kept sedated with testosterone and the sex that ensued from CD excitement. I now am living the female side and on HRT, with my testosterone down in the female range (my body simply does not produce it anymore), I am living peacefully and introspectively in my new role, however me as female is in her puberty and seems very much like a teenager, and is in need of wisdom and knowledge to make both sides of me understand how we as a bi pole of a person can live in harmony. I really liked the posts by Squallsong and have read her blog. She said she was ill in December, I do hope she comes back to share more of her native North American experiences.

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    • stveee
      Hi, my name is Stevie. I started "crossdressing" in early teens, maybe before, by cutting up my clothing. My parents would find piles of them and who knows what they thought. But I just had to do it. Then when I was 16 was the first time I tried on my older sister's tops.    My father suggested I join the Army after high school. I did and would buy clothes for my girlfriends and end up wearing them. I would engage in intimacy but stopped short of sex. I felt like my genitalia was not connected to my mind and felt no pleasure through it.    While in the military I took to binge drinking and severe depression ensued. By the time of discharge, I was suicidal, had several attempts and detoxes. I was admitted into the VA hospital and the first two meds made me numb and psychosis developed. Then, I genuinely tried to take my own life. Finally, a few years later, put on disability and took prozac for around 12 years which helped a bit. I met my first transgender (older transitioned MtF) persons in the VA and basically brought up the idea: why can't I be somewhere in the middle gender? Answer I got was basically Honey, that's not how it works. So facing a transition to female, I think I was 28 at the time, seemed like what I had to do. Or at least, try to live as much female as possible. I ended up marrying because I was lonely and afraid I could not support myself, and she accepted my gender ID and crossdressing. But I was seeing no therapist, no hormones. Started electrolysis in this DIY attempt, and some kind of facial hormone cream which I didn't realize was all short-sighted. Early internet days, shoddy information, sketchy sites.  The marriage was a disaster as there was abuse, drugs, alcohol and our individual psychological issues. Finally was separated, on my own and basically just existing. Using substances to cope. Dead to the world. Continued to keep a wardrobe and just managing the "dual life".  Went through Vocational Rehab in a janitorial program to get back into work. Exterted myself and got the job I have today and making more than I ever did. A few years, tossed my wardrobe (again)...oh, except a few things of course, and thinking the dysphoria will just go away now that I am older. Nope.   Currrently: finally ready to face myself, sober, and will begin with a gender therapist who is transitioned. Questioning whether I desire or need to transition to female. Accumulating another wardrobe. Really regret tossing my shoes and I had some really cool things. I have the feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing a girl in there, buried under years of self-abuse. The fluidity is a bit precarious as the more I accept and go femme, the more alive I feel, like something is unfolding.  But I am still quite boyish and discovering what fits for me right now and the my physical limitations and working with them I guess as I am not just confined to the closet and want to be seen for who I am...which is a work in progress I suppose. There are still things about me that I very much like and don't want to change, and others which seem to cause conflict.  I get some comfort in realizing I do not necessarily have to be either one or the other gender right now, and it's more about how I feel about myself than passing or trying to live up to an ideal image. But sort of feel like a small minority as someone who has not gone through all the changes (yet?) of the transitioned, as I am still outing myself in small steps, in a small circle. I am naturally careful, but honest. I do not fear being hurt so much "out there", as I know from experience I am my own worst enemy and cause my own difficulties more than anyone could ever do.  Thank you for letting me share. I actually hope this has helped someone else who is lurking. After all, "Normal People" don't go years struggling with questioning their gender- we are all Trans here and in different chapters of the same story.  Love you All, S.
    • Vince94
      Hey, everyone! I'm on low dose T now for about 7 months, I use Testogel and, except for a few more whiskers and other very little changes, there hasn't really happened anything yet. I don't wanna say I'm not happy with what has changed but I really wish for a little more, especially after that time. My dose is really low, now I want to take twice as much and hope to get closer to my goal during the next months. But there are two things I'm a little worried about so I thought maybe someone here could help me! About two or three months after I've started HRT, I noticed that I'm losing much more hair than before. It still looks totally okay but there IS a difference. Do you think I will lose even more when I increase the dose? I mean, if that's the case I will accept it. Before I started HRT I was waaay more worried about that. Now it's not that much of a problem for me anymore but it would still be nice to know what to expect. :'D And the second thing (which I'm more afraid of): I've read that transmen on Testosterone have to have their internal female parts removed (uterus and ovaries, as far as I know) because else the risk will be higher to develop cancer. I don't know if that's true and if yes, how quickly I have to do that to prevent anything! I'm afraid I'll have less time to undergo that treatment when I increase my dose, and I don't know when I'll be ready for that. (It's not that I want to keep those parts, I just have a problem with hospitals and suffer from panic attacks when it comes to certain check ups or medical treatments...) And another question that's just coming to my mind: Will the removal of those parts have any other effects on my physical and mental health?   I want to talk with my gynaecologist about all that anyway but I'd still like to hear some opinions/experiences from other transmen (or non-binary persons on T or others who know more than I do)! I don't know how much my gynaecologist knows about the whole topic, and unfortunately, I can't talk with my endocrinologist about it because she probably can't tell me ANYTHING. I don't wanna sound mean but she's really not competent, and I'm not the only one who noticed that. Everytime I was there, I've had bad experiences. She gave me wrong information. Not to mention the assistants. But she's the only endocrinologist within my reach so I don't have much of a choice.   So, I hope someone here can share their knowledge/experiences with me; I'd be grateful for any answer!
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