The Strange Story of Harry Hay and Will Roscoe
Excellent piece, thank you for taking the time to do this deep dive. I've been curious about the origin of this Two-Spirit term since it became ubiquitous in the Canadian version of the alphabet soup, and skeptical as to it's historical validity given the cultural diversity of American Indian societies, and the implausibility that warrior cultures would afford effeminacy a sacred status. It seems my suspicions were well-founded.
The portrait of Harry Hay was especially revealing. This is a man possessed of rare talents, yet driven by sexual perversion to employ his gifts in service of his appetites. His intellectual project largely served as an elaborate justification for his desires, rather than as a quest for truth; thus, he was vulnerable to self-deception and fabulism, and in the end achieved little more than confirmation bias. Despite this his influence has been immense, since there was fertile ground for his project within a subculture looking to justify its own existence.
Incredible piece! It's fascinating to see how modern progressives often denigrate "religion" while filling the spiritual vacuum in their lives with romanticized ideals of their own world views, whether that takes the form of science worship, blatant hedonism, or in this case the Perpetual Homosexual. Subscribed and looking forward to reading more of your work.
transexual historical revision, many such cases
Fantastic read. I was unfamiliar with any of this and appreciate your work. Of particular interest to me was the idea of gay men elevating traditional women’s work, including crafts, to the level of art. I can’t imagine that playing well with feminists, especially gay feminists. There must be more friction within identity movements than they’d have you believe.
First time I've subscribed to a substack. This research was so well done I'm compelled to do some scholarship of my own. Particularly into Carl Jung and the potential link between subversive cultural trends, homosexuality, and the evolution of progressively neotenous natural sexual selection across the developed world. Japan and South Korea come to mind with their cultural exports (T.V./anime/graphic novels) to recipient western nations of fading cultural identity.
There is a wealth of theories and research that one can delve into here. Like you said this subject matter is too large to properly condense into one article.
Why were blacksmiths despised?
Nice article. Harry Hay was a fascinating character; I only explored the surface in a short piece I wrote on the relationship between pedophilia and LGBT: https://toddclass.substack.com/p/were-safe-from-the-pedophiles-for
Thank you for this eye-opening and informative piece. I have wanted to delve into the history of this term and phenomena for a while now, but I doubt I would have done so as thoroughly or thoughtfully as you have here.
Wow! What a great read. I am immediately linking the points of your article to the "mass grave" hysteria in Canada. How much of Native self-knowledge is actually infused with progressive-colonial interpretations of them? A lot! And I link progressive & colonial with intent. If you read up on the residential school issues you will find similar influences & deceptions. And you'll find big payouts for all those peddling the progressive-colonial interpretations.
An excellent, informative essay, thank you.
Finally, someone who gets it and can explain this much more eloquently than I can!
Even though I don't identify as Native, I think it's disgusting how people warp foreign cultures to fit their own agendas. If I recall correctly, "Two-spirit" was more of a religious tenet/pillar for shamans, but the description of anima/animus fits well to describe it, too.
It's also amazing to see the insecurity behind the idea that homosexuals are INHERENTLY destined for greatness. It's just as ridiculous as saying a specific sex or race is inherently destined for greatness. It's introducing dogma and groupthink where there should be none.
(On another note, the phrases "heterophile" and "homophile" make my skin crawl. I'm so glad we got rid of them!)
I had read "The Trouble with Harry Hay," so much of this was familiar, but you offer much more on the anthropology side. A gay college friend of mine later became involved with the Radical Faeries and other "men's spirituality" activities in Northern California -- he was very much in the "distinct spiritual nature" group.
Fun, fascinating read. Academia and progressive activism are a horrible combo.
Thank you, that was a great read, very interesting. A slight detail: you say that "The Construction of Homosexuality" is from 1998 but from what I can find it's from 1988.
One of the best substacks I’ve read in a while.
Some thoughts come to my mind. Whether or not one believes in its mythological significance Homosexuality is a constant of human society. Even those societies that have shunned it. Humans always find a way to integrate minorities in one way or another.
Discarding Christian conservative myths about the origins of homosexuality one must assume society have always found a (healthy) way of incorporating gays. The world of traveling professions, craftsmen, theater and film are obvious. But there is an overlooked and important social niche of European live now largely forgotten. The monastery.
That „holy“ uranian man with his special talents is found not only among the jesters but he is a perfect fit for the homophilic brotherhood that is busy with cultivation of artistic endeavors, away from material struggles and violence of feudal society.
Becoming a monk was a legitimate way of life in which homosexuals could contribute to society while avoiding marital commitments. Suffice to say they found likeminded Brothers. I don’t think this is at all far fetched and would go even further that there is an important convergence with „neurodivergent“ people. The abolition of religion leaves these groups without a place in the hierarchy. Paradoxically, The monk, the priest are both outsiders to the community, as well as important upholders of the same. While this romanticization and instrumentalising of Indian culture is questionable, I don’t think the „outsider-In-position-of-responsibility“ is something to be entirely dismissed. It is a little like the „Scythian“ warrior spirit conjured up on twitter, it’s both a complete fabrication and and the same time there is a deeper truth. Americans tend to fetishize these sorts of human archetypes(sry for jungian term;)) and boil them down into simplified ideologies.
Suffice to say Society always had integrate „deviant“ people in implicit and explicit ways. There is always a 5-10% part of society that will not be heterosexual, they won’t go away and it’s important to find a more organic way than pseudo-academic myth making and guilt (pride) tripping normal people into acceptance. So for engaging with his question Hayes should not be condemned. Again why do Americans have to make anything into a cult?
End of ramble