Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history

Two-spirit is an umbrella idea referencing indigenous peoples of the Americas who also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, or genderqueer, among others. Especially before European colonization of the United States, two-spirit individuals played prominent roles in various tribes. They would have rites of passages for two-spirit individuals to recognize their spirit, often similar to rites of passages for adolescents.

Different tribes have different roles for these individuals, such as appointing them as the tribe’s healer or those who pray to the creator. But due to colonization of indigenous nations, knowledge of two-spirit identities and traditional rituals have decreased.

Below are some images that have documented two-spirit individuals.