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Wholistic Picture

Balancing Male and Female

We All Carry Both Genders Within

July/August 2008

Sue SaltmarshIn various indigenous cultures, including the Navajo, the traditional attitude towards homosexuality is that of respect for those who are "two-spirits," often regarding them as having mystical powers that made them good healers, medicine people, and tribal counselors. Two spirits have the ability to embody both genders in one body and therefore can experience the work of balancing male and female within themselves in ways that others cannot, affording them unique perspectives and wisdom. While homosexuality is more common than being transgender, the concept still seems to fit.

In today's society, unfortunately, this attitude is not common towards any variance in "normal" sexual or gender identification. And yet we live with the desperate need for balance in all areas of our lives and with the consequences for ignoring that need. Our society has become polarized, disconnected, and unbalanced as pendulums swing frantically from one end of the spectrum to the other, hardly ever finding a point of balance in the middle. Many women seem determined to prove they're really men without penises. Men frequently struggle to find socially acceptable ways to express their emotions. All of us fight an uphill battle for acceptance of our Truth, whatever the criteria used for assessing ourselves and others and sorting by categories, as humans are wont to do.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: micheala (Paris,IL) Tue., Dec. 2, 2008 at 1:05 pm EST
I think that you don't have both male and female in you. if you think I'm wrong than that's okay.
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Comment by: Brian Maj (Chicago, IL) Sun., Sep. 28, 2008 at 11:33 am EDT
Thank you for the concise and pointed perspective about the mixed effects of cosmetic surgery and hormone treatment. Trying to 'repair' one's born body is as arduous as trying to take a part chocolate chip cookies to make them into oatmeal raisin after they've already been baked. After so many trials and errors, we learn that peace with one's body comes not only from the end result of surgical modification, but also from learning about our strengths and challenges from every step along the way, making us an altogether more whole person.
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Comment by: Thu., Sep. 25, 2008 at 10:10 am EDT
Thank you for this. When I think how many of the most creative, inspired and dynamic people in Western culture were LGBT, I realize that the concept of "two-spirit" individuals seems preeminently correct. LGBT people may have within them a true balance of polarities, which endows them with special insight and understanding.
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