(ed. – The following Rosebuds-Guest Columnist article, from Candice St. James, tells a story that sometimes the bravest choice we can make is to be ourselves. At First Event, we hope everyone takes a step to come out and be yourself )
Bug smash a fag.
I awoke without an alarm. It was 3:44 AM. In a quarter of an hour I will need to get up. Have a plane to catch. I’m tired.
I laid back down for a moment and thought of it again. Bug smash a fag. I sat up. Bug smash a fag. It was startling. “Bug smash a fag,” the words ran over my lips. I couldn’t believe I had just said it. Bug smash a fag.
It was a line from a movie I had seen the night before. The words were calloused and filled with hate. Words used by a killer who had murdered Fred Martinez, a transgendered young person of Navaho descent. The movie was titled Two Spirits: Gender, Sexuality and the Murder of Fred Martinez.
In the movie we learn about Fred through his mother and friends. Fred was an openly gay transgendered person, whom by most accounts had learned to be happy in his life. This happiness did not come without its travails but Fred persevered. Fred was a very brave and courageous young person.
In his Native culture he was a two-spirit or nadleehi. In another time he would have been honored as two-spiritedness was considered to be a gift in most Native American Nations. But instead Fred was murdered because he chose to be himself.
Two Spirits: Gender, Sexuality and the Murder of Fred Martinez is also a documentary that discusses how gender roles were expressed and even celebrated in Native American cultures. It is estimated that over 155 tribal cultures embraced two-spiritedness. Traditionally considered powerful, two-spirits were often given roles of healers, mediators and caregivers.
I attended the movie with a TG friend and after the movie we planned to get dinner. Our decision was to visit one of the patrons who sponsored the GLBT film festival we had attended. Upon being seated I noticed a young man, possibly in his late twenties, pointing us out to a woman who appeared to be his mother. He apparently thought that seeing two transgendered people being seated for dinner was very amusing. A short time later a man joined them at the table, presumably the patriarch of this family with closed minds. Within seconds we were pointed out to him for his amusement. I looked over at them as they were engaged in sophomoric laughing, more curious than upset. I wondered how broad was their hate? Did they hate all who might be different? This establishment was a sponsor at the GLBT Film Festival and was known to be open to all people. I wondered how deep was their hate? I wondered if they too would bug smash a fag?
As a person who possesses some confidence, courage and class I was able to put them out of my head and enjoyed the company of my friend and our dinners. I had thought about the movie again during dinner and this time it put a smile on my face. The movie had reminded me of a great lesson-sometimes the bravest choice we can make is to be ourselves.
Candice St. James is a Boston area t-girl who also happens to be two-spirited. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Two Spirits: Gender, Sexuality and the Murder of Fred Martinez will be shown on Public Broadcasting Service’s Independent Lens in June 2011.