LDS Gender

For those seeking understanding of gender identity issues from an LDS perspective

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Native American Viewpoint

This is a post by Angela Brightfeather reprinted here with permission from the Durham Gender Alliance Yahoo Group clarifying another member’s understanding of the Native American concept of people known as “Two Spirits.” This is not presented as LDS doctrine but to show LDS members how other societies have reacted to the presence of the transgendered in their midst. The main point to highlight here is that each person in these Native American tribes was respectfully allowed to state which gender they identified as. It also clarifies that issues of gender identity are separate from sexual orientation, and also that transgenders/transsexuals are not the same as cross dressers or transvestites or female impersonators or drag queens. If these Native American tribespeople are descended from Book of Mormon peoples then it can’t hurt to be informed of their viewpoints on this important issue.


In an early effort to legitimize being GLB, a number of progressive gay people and sources who are Native American (NA), back in the 70’s decided to call themselves Two Spirits, noting that it was their right to be gay because gay people had always been known of in NA tribal life that way. This was of course a falsehood and what it actually referred to was the gender diverse people in the nations that we now refer to as Transgender, who also may have happened to be gay as a sexual afterthought. In other words, they were born as one gender, but lived as another gender.

This came directly from different tribes and in different ways; i.e., the Navajo practice that before a child has declared who they want to be, they must go through a ceremony, usually around puberty. Up to that time they are never referred to as “he” or “she.” They are called the first or third child or the youngest or oldest member of a family, on a day-to-day basis. However, any male-or female-born person who gives any indication as being the gender opposite their birth sex, is noted by the family and given a chance to choose how they wish to live their life. At the right time, the family invites the entire family and tribe to what we might call a naming ceremony or rite of passage ceremony. They have a big party and feast and gather sagebrush into a large circle, in the middle of which is a bow and arrow or a club and a wicker basket or a clay bowl. The child is put inside the circle and the circle is set on fire. Before the entire circle goes into a blaze, the child picks the object that defines how he or she wants to live for the rest of their life. If it is a male and he picks the clay bowl or basket, which are female items, then he becomes a she from that moment on and is taken to a hogan and dressed as a woman and named by one of the family, usually a grandmother. The opposite is true for a girl. After that time they are known by their official tribal name and work with either the women or the men. They are known within the tribes as a “Nadle” (Nad-lee).

Read more…

Jim’s View

Reprinted here with permission and with only minor editing is a post by James Hopkins from a discussion on the TGIMormons Yahoo Group. It should be strictly noted that this is only to be taken as one person’s view but they come from a background of lifelong faithfulness to the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ combined with an extensive medical background:

James was responding to the following question from a new group member:

“I was looking around for anything having to do with the Mormon view of trans people and stumbled across this group and figured I’d vent/ask for advice if that’s okay.

What do you say to a die-hard Mormon that will maybe make them understand to some extent? I’m kind of disappointed (though not in the least bit surprised) at how they’ve taken things, I’m hoping to maybe be able to get them to budge to some extent. Is there anything that could be argued doctrinally?”

And here is James’ response:

In the TGImormon files, the first two pdf files are, I think, exceptional summaries of the scientific thought about transsexualism. Seeing that transsexual phenomena have been at least in part reproduced in the laboratory and observed in the wild among fish and birds, I think, is an impressive introduction to the idea that environmental hormone disruptors and other things like mutagens, random mutations, maternal stress, and stress to the maternal child bond could be potential causes for changing brain sex in humans as well as animals.

From a doctrinal point of view, I think the idea of a female spirit latching onto a person with a female brain that just happen to have a male body seems at least plausible.

Looking at persons with intersex issues, when an infant is identified as being intersex or has ambiguous genitalia, doctors now are expected wait until the child tells his or her parents what sex he or she THINKS he or she is. Only when the child is able to willingly give consent without force or intimidation to any procedures or treatments to enhance conformity to his or her self-perceived sexual identity can any such procedures or treatments be carried out. The UN even has a mandate to this effect that doctors should not do any procedures to solidify one’s sexual identity based on anything but the child’s self-perception of their sex. Chromosomes don’t matter, external or internal genitalia don’t matter, the presence of testicular tissue or ovarian tissue doesn’t matter–only brain sex as determined by what THE CHILD says matters.
Read more…

Post Navigation