The Zuni tribe honored its people with traits of both genders, the most documented of these “two-spirited” people was We’wha, who Anthropologist Miltilda Stevenson described as “the strongest character and the most intelligent of the Zuni tribe.”
We’wha was born in 1849, near the area that became the border of New Mexico and Arizona. When We’wha was 4, both parents died of smallpox, a disease brought by American emigrants passing through the area. Adopted by his father’s sister, We’wha maintained ceremonial ties to his mother’s clan.
As a strong, bright boy, he preferred the company of women in the tribe, ultimately doing women’s work and wearing women’s clothes, while continuing to excel in hunting and riding. Along with three others in the tribe, he was known and honored as Ihamana – one embodying two spirits.
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 [...]