It’s true that you don’t come out of the closet once: you meet more people, you tell more people. It’s a necessary process you must endure in a heteronormative society, at least if you don’t want to incessantly avoid some of the most basic of topics or, worse, encourage possible assumptions.
For me, though, it has always been a separate passage. I’m not gay, and have never identified as such. (By saying so, I hope not to seem like I’m trivialising the tribulations gay individuals experience in their similarly cyclical ventures of coming out; I only mean to say that it is different.)
I don’t identify as a man, and I don’t identify as a woman. I will never know precisely why, but I have my ideas, naturally: as a child, I found an allure to the blood that wasn’t as thick as my German blood; I was always more attracted by my Cherokee ancestry. This interest was encouraged. I remember my parents taking me to a few pow-wows when I was only a few years of age. I can recollect my parents buying a copper ring for me, which I wore faithfully despite the ugly blue ring it’d leave around my small, pallid digit. It identified me with my Indian blood.
I’m sure this early childhood interest lead me to my discovery of the Two-Spirit People (or the “berdache.”) Two-spirits were common and essential members of numerous Native American Indian tribes. They were individuals who, as the term suggests, carried within them two contrasting spirits. These individuals oft took upon both male and female roles—the warrior and the clan mother—and were most usually respected members of the group.
When I was reading about these people, something resonated; I stood on seizure limbs with epilepsy in a panic mouth. It was a realisation, an epiphany that I was looking into a mirror. I recognised myself in the two-spirits, the way that I never could as gay.
I’m not a believer in the supernatural; I don’t believe in deities, in demons, in spirits. But, when it comes to a time where I am building companionship, and the moment arises, I tell my friend that I’m a berdache. And it feels right in me.