Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gay of the day We Wa

I was looking into my books and for the life of me I can't find my information about the life of one of my greatest inspirations. I was sure it was in the "Blossom of Bone" that I use for a ton of information about the spiritual reverence in culture for Gay men. It is a treasure and when my friend Jason Smart shared it as a present on birthday my life really changed! I was as a child; many of you will be surprised; planning on being a Minister when I grew up. I really wanted to go to Seminary and work for the good of man kind. I lost that dream and went from romantic to cynic. It was because I saw my gayness as a hinderance and a shameful stigma and I sank into a very cynical view of the world. There was just no one around who would have understood. I mean my parents took me to doctors to fix me so I was pretty sure that if they were good christians the christian church would have nothing to do with me. I was right as it turns out pretty much. Not understanding that there was so much more out in the world as far as religion and freedom from small minded people ruled by fear. I was so afraid, of my parents, the school bus, school, kids, people, myself, that I did very little exploration until I had a car and another gay friend. Until I went to NY I think I was about 12 emotionally and experience wise. I was naive.
So Imagine when I open up a book about Native American shaman and find gender bending 6 ft tall Native American Leader of the Zuni tribe in North America. (I have also Heard the We Wah is a spelling but also from the Sioux tribe. Sometimes information ; since there is so little of it available.) We Wa was a leader in the 1800's and was a revered Shaman and beloved leaders in Native American History. We Wa lived and dressed and took on healing duties and food preparations like a woman might but ruled the tribe as a man might. She/He was considered a very holy person for his/her leadership abilities and healing powers. We Wa when the white imperialists came west was at the height of her fame and power in her tribe. He/She, in the interest of good relations to the Imperialists, even went back East to Washington DC. She/He was presented to DC society as an Indian Princess. There were pictures in the paper of We Wah the Indian Princess at the Opera, Theater, Museums and many grand affairs and describing her as "polite if a bit homely."
She was 6 feet tall and not feminine looking at all; as I recall; and she was taken about town and presented as a princess! I think I love that so much because it just shows how oblivious people were and are to gender variance, gay and lesbian peoples and cultures. In a world of black and white the idea of lavender and gray areas is not even considered. Also I love this story because it is just another example of one of my tranny sisters making a difference and ruling the runway or plain in this case. She/he just was who she/he was and used that power and beauty to own her position in life and with that strength became an revered figure of great power and spirituality. She was a star for being the best he/she could be.
In many Native American cultures there were two spirited people who were revered for the fact that they had these two spirits. They we chosen as shaman for their ties to the mother earth and were the healers of their tribe. They were considered wise and mystical. This is actually very common in most native peoples. The gender variant is a special and celebrated mystical achievement to be celebrated as a gift. In many Native American tribes these shaman would be the ruler of the spiritual health of the tribe leading rituals for rain, crops, hunts, healing, honoring the spirits of the ancestors and were the story tellers or historians of the tribe. Their gender variance made them the keepers of history and ritual. It was considered a great privilege for a brave to enter into a relationship with these gender variants bringing honor to the family. There was no shame. That would arrive with the Imperialist christian bigots with small minds.
How far we have come; not only as gay people but as a people in general; from the celebration of the spiritual and the two spirited. Instead we endure horrible incidents like the bashing with bricks of Jake Maynard in Ontario Canada. A group of men waited outside a gay bar and attacked three men when they were leaving. Jake fought a friends attacker and was beaten with bricks by several men. Is this where we are as a society? Is the pursuit of more really so important that we are reduced to this type of behavior? There is no spiritual connection between violence to others and the attackers. It is instead the lack of a spiritual connection. Gays are attacked because we are a symbol of the missing connection. It is the queers of the world who represent the beauty of the world; and because people are so disillusioned they don't know how to react to this beauty and truth; so they strike out like scared children. This very need for healing this fear is what made me want to be a minister. So that I could have a platform to bring about healing. Had I had the knowledge of We Wah and the other queer shaman and spiritual leaders, and the place of gay people in this position throughout time, my life might have been very different. I do believe that it is time for queers and gender variants and lesbians and gays to wake up this shamanistic power that we inherently have. We must reclaim the association of homoeroticism, gender variance and the sacred experience of our roles. We must remove the shackles of our oppressive societies and move forward to self realization and the realization of our powers as a people. It is our past and it can be our future. The world could certainly use some of We Wah's healing energy and so could our community. That is why We Wah is my gay of the day. A symbol of healing and connection and beauty and strength. One of my very favorite gay heros.

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