“LGBTQ2S”: Law School Distributes Guidelines On How Students Should Deal With Their “Colonial” Past

Schulich_School_of_Law_Logo.pngThe Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Canada has a course for law students on Aboriginal & Indigenous Law in Context class. As part of that course, students were given a list of suggestions by the professor for dealing with their colonial pasts and acknowledging indigenous peoples.  This includes a suggestion to “update your email signature to reflect the territory you live and work on.”  One of the points included a new category for recognition (at least in my experience).  The school told students “when discussing LGBTQ issues, always include two-spirited peoples (LGBTQ2S).”

While there are references to this course title on Facebook and the university newspaper, I only found on optional course on the topic by a different name, though the content has been controversial.  I actually think that an optional course on aboriginal law is a great idea.  My main interest with the reference to the additional category on student identification.

I had not heard of the two-spirited peoples category or that it is now LGBTQ2S. Here is one definition that I located on a LGBTQ site (thought not aLGBTQ2S site):

“Two-spirited” refers to a person who has both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some First Nations people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. As an umbrella term it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, cross-dressers or who have multiple gender identities. Two-spirited can also include relationships that would be considered poly. The creation of the term “two-spirited” is attributed to Albert McLeod, who proposed its use during the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference, held in Winnipeg in 1990.

Other sites however stress that only certain people can claim to be two spirited and using the term can be a form of cultural appropriation:

If you are not a member of a First Nations tribe, then it is not liberatory to use the term “Two Spirit.” If you did not descend from their ancestors and their struggles, and if you do not understand the history of their tribes or their words, then they are not yours to use and your use of the terms is theft, or what is called cultural appropriation. All to often, we appropriate words, customs and clothes from other cultures without the context to really know their implications. Of course we are not saying that the term is or should be patented in some way, but we are asking you to consider the similarity between using this term and, say, wearing a headdress. Consider the impact, rather than your intention.

The law school also encourages  students to oppose political figures and policies that do not conform with the support of indigenous peoples as well as buying items such as “a dreamcatcher or a pair of earrings” from indigenous artists. That last item is interesting because students and faculty are increasingly facing criticism of cultural appropriation in wearing items (here) or working out or eating food (here and here and here) or even hair styles deemed associated with particular groups.

As for LGBTQ2S, (and this admittedly may be my aging brain) but at some point the term is going to get too long to say, let alone remember.

95 thoughts on ““LGBTQ2S”: Law School Distributes Guidelines On How Students Should Deal With Their “Colonial” Past”

  1. Enough already! Follow the motto: KISS. Make it “male,” “female,” or “other.”

    Time for a little comedy on this subject of gender insanity by a master comedy troupe:

  2. I just read this, I have been looking for my Father, who supposedly passed away in 2013. If someone is two spirited it does not mean one is a man and one is a woman? I mean my interpretation, is very simple. I was lost not knowing which father to take after because of having two fathers, oh wait 3, nope then a fourth came in, oops mind explosion my Bio Dad I met when I was 35 or was I 33 I don’t F N know. My point is, the problems with society is EVERYONE JUDGES, BEFORE ONE CAN JUDGE, do a book report on them and their life. That is what I did, mine on Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. People through a mind Game in my lap and I played along half the things being said or portrayed is false. I do not Lie. I am not “The Q” I was told to represent the IDEAL. AND HONESTLY I HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANT, I THOUGHT IT WAS TO HELP MY BUSINESS. The problem is that sometimes spirits, souls can come into our lives at age 3 or age 26 (my father), it may not be until you are 50. Or maybe never. My personal belief is a soul is what influences you at a young age, that is if you’re soul less, you build the soul how you feel is correct, at tweek it on the way.

  3. First, and most importantly, we should have a contest to see how long we can make the LGBT acronym go. It has not exhausted itself at LGBTQIA, and I do believe it’s got a lot of road left.

    I have dreamcatchers and Native American jewelry. This changes daily, so can someone inform me if I am culturally appropriating today or supporting tribes? Darn, a certificate of authenticity would be absolutely required to determine that.

    Shall the course teach students how to deal with their blood guilt if any of their ancestors sold rival tribes to Europeans? What about the descendants of Native Americans, who kept slaves including sex slaves? What about the guilt of those who are Middle Eastern, whose history of slavery is well documented? Shall they separate out any students who hail from countries where slavery is still common? What about any Mexicans? Shall they be shamed for Tenencingo? The Germans? What about the Germans? Their guilt is far more recent than any colonial power. What if anyone is blond from Argentina? No, the true existential crisis will be if someone comes in who is of obvious mixed race – German/Nigerian

    Perhaps, it might be prudent for this to be a law class rather than a political activist training camp? They might want to restrict themselves to teaching the law.


    “The Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria has written to tribal chiefs saying: “We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans, particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless.””

    “But the issue was not a high priority for most African citizens, according to Bonsu. “In my experience it’s mainly the African diaspora who want an apology. People aren’t milling around Lagos or Accra moaning about why chiefs don’t apologise. They are more concerned about the everyday and why they still have bad governance.””

    Basically, the descendants of those sold into slavery by rival tribes want the apology more than the descendants of those who sold them care to give it.

    Perhaps Universities should teach a course on this. And in doing so, they could perhaps touch on the fact that slavery still exists in the Middle East and Africa.

    1. The descendants of those sold into slavery are not looking for an apology. They don’t care about your damned apology. They want tangible economic benefits, such as affirmative action, so long as today’s spineless whites can be guilt tripped into paying recompense for something they were never part of.

  4. I am part Osage Indian. None of us are bent.

    (music to tune of Randy Newman song about Short People)
    Bent people go no reason.
    Bent people got no reason to live.
    They got little bitty eyes, little bitty feet, little bitty voices that go peep, peep, peep.
    Don’t want no bent people.
    Don’t want no bent people round hear.

  5. Fine university. I was there for several months in the previous century.

  6. Famous Indian tribe. We’rethefugowwees, we’re lost that’s where we are.

  7. “Feminazi Gaystapo”

    I don’t want to say I told you so…

    but I told you so.

    The “Rainbow Coalition” changed its name.

    It endeavors to “fundamentally transform” America…

    and the Great White North.

    It’s not a “whitelash”.

    It’s a “whiteout”!

    Goodnight, America.

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