In 1885, anthropologist Matilda Stevenson invited We’wha, a revered “two-spirited” American Indian, to Washington D.C. Heralded in newspapers as the Zuni Princess, she hobnobbed with the avant-garbe, even befriending the Speaker of the House, John Carlisle. President Grover Cleveland and his wife were so impressed with the six-foot-tall princess, that she was an honored guest at the White House for several days, and even demonstrated Zuni weaving on the lawn.
To discredit Stevenson, it was revealed in 1908 that We’wha was a man dressed as a woman. Lacking any understanding of the mysticism of the Zuni “two-spirited” soul, the public had no ability to conceive that We’wha was a genuine goodwill ambassador of the Zuni people, sent because she was among the most respected member of her tribe.
Tens of thousands of gay servicemembers have been kicked out of the U.S. military both before and after the adoption of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. And with the U.S. Senate’s December, 2010 vote to repeal that policy, it is fitting we remember the very first discharged – Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin. It all [...]