‘Two Spirit People’ — UMass Amherst Urges Students To Know ‘Transgender Terminology’

Nicholas Pappas Contributor
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The University of Massachusetts Amherst advises students to be aware of their “gender-normative privilege” and to know the proper definitions for various “transgender terminology” — including terms like “two spirit people.”

According to documents posted to the public university’s website, a two spirit person is defined as a “Native American/First Nation term for people who blend the masculine and the feminine.”

“It is commonly used to describe anatomical women who took on the roles and/or dress of men and anatomical men who took on the roles and/or dress of women in the past (preferred term to ‘berdache’),” the document says. “The term is also often used by contemporary LGBT Native American and First Nation people to describe themselves.”

Additionally, the school recognizes the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of “gender dysphoria” — “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender” — but cautions that transsexual people “strongly object to being listed in the [APA’s Manual of Mental Disorders], arguing that their inclusion serves to dehumanize and pathologize them.”

That sheet was authored by Genny Beemyn, the director of the LGBT Stonewall Center at the university.

The “gender-normative privilege” sheet contains 27 different forms of privilege that regular people experience. Among them are:

  • “Strangers do not assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.”
  • “I am not excluded from events which are either explicitly or de facto (because of nudity) for men-born-men or women-born-women only.”
  • “People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns even after they have been corrected.”
  • “I do not have to worry about whether I will experience harassment or violence for using a bathroom or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room or a store’s dressing room.”
  • “I do not have to choose between being invisible (‘passing’) or being ‘othered’ and/or tokenized based on my gender.”
  • “When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers.”
  • “If arrested, I do not have to worry about being placed in a sex-segregated detention center, holding facility, or prison that is incongruent with my identity.”
  • “If I am murdered (or have any crime committed against me), my gender expression will not be used as a justification for the murder (‘gay panic’), nor result in leniency for the perpetrators.”
  • “I will not be profiled on the street as a sex worker because of my gender expression.”
  • “My identity is not considered a mental pathology (‘gender identity disorder’ in the DSM IV) by the psychological and medical establishment.”
  • “I can easily find role models and mentors who share my identity.”
  • “Films and television shows accurately depict people of my gender, and my identity is not used solely as the focus of a dramatic storyline or as the punch line for a joke.”
  • “I am able to purchase clothes that match my gender identity without being refused service or mocked by staff or questioned about my genitals.”
  • “I can purchase shoes that fit my gender expression without having to order them in special sizes or asking someone to custom-make them.”

Despite being listed on a university’s website, the privilege checklist was not adopted from an academic source. Rather, it is sourced to a blog post dated September 22, 2006, on a website titled “amptoons.”

The site appears to have a strong left-wing bias, with visible pro-abortion and pro-social justice blog posts on the homepage.

Massachusetts taxpayers spent $519 million on the University of Massachusetts Amherst during fiscal year 2015, a $40 million increase over the previous fiscal year.