Essay 271.docx - Decolonizing sexuality and gender binaries...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 8 pages.

Decolonizing sexuality and gender binaries : India and North America In this essay I explore the ways in which two-spirited people in North America and Hijras in India have been affected by Colonialism and settler colonialism. I also dive deep into the post-colonial effects left on the population which has impacted the way these communities see gender roles, sexuality, and gender-nonconforming individuals. Furthermore, I highlight the ways in which these communities have used sexuality for decolonization and reclamation of their culture and traditions. In this essay I argue that colonialism has left long term effects on colonized communities making them more confirming to the gender roles and gender binaries defined by the colonizers. The colonization of North America is different from the colonization that took place in India. Settler-colonialism is the structure that has been seen in play in North America. In addition to the classical colonialism’s aspects of control, occupation, exploitation, settler colonialism also includes displacement of land through settlements, replacement of indigenous cultures, a system of superseding indigenous population and becoming the dominant majority. Many 16 th century European missionaries and explorers have documented people belonging to various indigenous communities across the continent, who did not fit into gender or sexual binaries defined by the colonizers. Same-sex activity and people occupying a third and sometimes fourth gender, were also chronicled by various explorers and historians who were sent to North America. “and they wear strings of beads and bracelets and the other things used by women as adornments; and they do not exercise in the use of weapons, nor do anything proper to men, but they occupy themselves in the usual chores of the house such as to sweep and wash and other things customary for women.” (Gonzalo Fernandez, 1526) It is evident from the tone of their accounts that these things came as a shock to historians and 1
explorers of the time who were sent from Europe. However, it is also evident that same-sex activities, existence of third and fourth genders, men practicing seemingly non-customary roles for European men, all existed before colonization of North America and were the norm for the indigenous tribes and communities within the continent. Colonization internalized its gender binaries within the indigenous community. They did this with controlling the social, political, and economic affairs of the indigenous people. Examples of this include: the Indian Act in Canada which made Indian women subject to their husbands, making of heterosexual marriage as the only way to convey Indian status and corresponding rights, formation of reserve system which made Male Indians solely eligible for the ownership of lands.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture