The Duality of Gender and Sexuality

Untitled by Marvin McKenzie of Dine' College

“Our Lady of Kinaaldá” by Marvin McKenzie of Dine’ College

What is gender to you? What is sexuality, in your mind? I believe I have a very miniscule right to have an opinion on this very interesting and highly debated topic because first of all, I do not identify as LGBTQ, but I have nothing but love and support for everyone. Though, while growing up, I did things no one expects a little girl to do; I played video games on a game cube and PlayStation 2, like Shrek, Socom, and Mario Kart. I even dressed in clothes you would think a boy would wear, like a basketball team toddler set; I had the Timberwolves set. I played and watched Yu-Gi-Oh, a trading card game. Of course, no one should tell a child they cannot be something or they cannot do something. It is a bit redundant to do this because, one, they will not be able to grasp the idea you are trying to tell them, and two, why would you want to try to change a mere child or stop them from being themselves.

Later, as I got older in the middle school era, I hung out with boys and talked about games and talked about football a lot more than I talked to or was around the girls. I still talked to my girl classmates and I am friends with them even now, but I didn’t act or dress like a “girl.” School culture states that you eventually “date”; people start asking you if you like anyone or tease you about boys. Everyone did that, except I was not interested in that. I had all of my focus on family since I am the oldest of five children, and school since it was kind of difficult for me to go every day. Most of the time people did not have interest in my social life in school, but a few people did ask me one time or another “you don’t like boys?” or “are you a tom-boy?” I usually did not answer them because it’s my option to do what I want, besides we’re all still kids, we should not have worried about that. Still, sometimes these questions got to me and I started getting more and more self-conscious, and becoming more reserved because I worried a lot about what people thought of me. I formed the habit of not looking at people directly in public. To this day I do not conform to gender norms, I don’t like pink or daydream about boys. I just do what I think is important, go to school, and focus on my family.

I think the reason I was not persuaded or pressured to change is in direct correlation to the traditional cultural values of my people. The Lakota culture did not see women as lower than men, or vice versa. Rather, we all had a part to do in the up keeping of our band or tribe. We did have gender roles, but they were flexible. This can be seen in the fact that many Native tribes had a very sacred position for “two-spirits.” There are pictures, that are black and white, of same-sex couples from different tribes. This means that tribes that existed before the “life-saving” Christians came and “educated” the many countries they attacked in the name of their king understood simple virtues, like be kind to other humans, without a written text they interpreted and imprinted onto many other people who did not have the same views as them.

Conversely, duality is a very difficult word to understand. It is much more than two things being compared. It is when you used to think of two very opposing things and yet they are always together. Yin and Yang would be the representation of duality. Another example would be night and day. Since gender and sexuality are assumed to be the same thing, it is fitting that a word such as duality exists because it is what the concepts of gender and sexuality are. The most common gender is male or female. The most common sexuality is where you are attracted to the opposite gender, which is what “hetero” means—it means other. The next most common sexual orientation is homosexuality, wherein you are attracted to the same gender. These two things are the acme of their subjects, gender and sexual orientation. Hardly anyone questions you if you fall into either of those categories, as they are what the majority of people fall into. Unbeknownst to the masses of people living, there is more than just heterosexuality and being a male or female. Although there are reasons for these most common choices to choose from, such as for medical reasons, one should not be treated any differently if they choose to be out of the normal. I know many people who are considered LGBTQ; I do not see them as any different. It is their choice. Yet there are people who commit crimes against LGBTQ people; they are someone’s child. I will never be able to understand how they can stand to treat one in such a manner. There are people who seriously opposed the law that stated that a same-sex couple could get married. This law had to go to the highest court presiding over this country, which prides itself on being “…indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.” Well. There are many reasons why you should not hate a person for being different, gender and sexual preference are simply a few of the most blatant and overtly used to oppress and discriminate against people who cannot help who they are.

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