INDEPENDENT LENS "Two Spirits"

INDEPENDENT LENS "Two Spirits"

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 10:00pm

Two Spirit Joey Criddle and Tony Staton.

Credit: Courtesy of Crisosto Apache

Two Spirits explores the life and death of a boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender. Fred Martinez was a Navajo boy who was also a girl. In an earlier era, he would have been revered. Instead he was murdered. Two Spirits interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at the largely unknown history of a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female, and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders. Powerful and moving, Lydia Nibley’s Two Spirits explores the life and death of Fred Martinez and the ancient Native American two-spirit tradition. Independent Lens: Two Spirits airs Monday, June 10, 2013 at 10 p.m. on WXXI TV/HD. 

Fred Martinez told his mother that he felt as if he was both a boy and a girl, and she explained that this was a special gift, according to traditional Navajo culture. But the place where two discriminations meet is a dangerous place to live, and Fred became one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Between tradition and controversy, freedom and fear, lies the truth — the bravest choice you can make is to be yourself. 

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