The origins of the term "Two-Spirit" began in 1975 when Randy Burns and Barbara Cameron founded the organization Gay American Indians. This was the first Native gay and lesbian group to educate the world on Indigenous LGBTQ peoples. The term “Two-spirit” was first coined in Minnesota in 1988 after the first International Two-Spirit gathering.
“Two-Spirit” was officially adopted in 1990 at an Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering to replace the term “berdache” which had been used to label queer Native peoples. There was a need for a term that would unite LGBTQ Native peoples to give visibility to this multiply marginalized group and their unique issues as queer peoples and Natives as well as to replace the historically demeaning and racist term “berdanche.” The term “berdanche” has its roots in the Arabic word “bardag” and the Persian word “bardai” which together denote “a passive partner in male-male sexual intercourse.”
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