Two-Spirit Issues discussed at Oklahoma State University

Two-Spirit Issues discussed at Oklahoma State University

Source: The Daily O’Collegian
By: Hollis Walker

A Tulsa man spoke about two-spirited people and the importance of being yourself, not what society tells you to be, at the Sexual Orientation Diversity Association (SODA) meeting Wednesday night.

“Be the best you can be and love yourself,” John Hawks said. “Just be happy and don’t let society condemn you.”

Two-spirits is defined as a man or woman who adopts the dress and social roles of both genders. These people adopt this lifestyle simply because it is their journey in life, Hawks said.

Hawk spoke to 20 students and other Stillwater residents about the background of the two-spirited man.

This was the last meeting for the group until next semester.

“We really liked ending with his presentation,” said Greg Johnson, president of SODA. “It makes people feel good about being who they are.”

The group is having a retreat this Saturday to gather and celebrate the past year.

“Everyone is welcome, and we would like more allies for the group,” Johnson said. “The meetings are not strictly for any sex or gender.”

“I come to these meetings to be informed about this group of people because I feel uninformed,” recent graduate Jeff Memcok said. “I want to have my own opinion and not give in to what society tells me is right.”

Hawks is a member of Tulsa’s Two-Spirit Society. He said there are two types of American Indians — traditional and Christian.

Hawks said he identifies himself as a traditional American Indian, despite the fact that he grew up in a Christian home with a Methodist preacher as his father.

Hawks said his father has accepted him and loves him, and he is waiting for society to do the same. He expressed that in Native American history being two-spirited was an honorable thing, giving a person power.

“But the two-spirited life changed with the coming of the Reservation Period,” Hawks said. “Now, the world is telling us we are wrong and we just need to do everything we can to be who we really are inside.”

Hawks concluded his message by expressing the importance of finding a balance in your masculinity and femininity.

“Now-a-days men over compensate their masculinity and women play up their femininity,” Hawks said. “But we really just need balance.