Psychological theorists have typically treated sexual and racial identity as discrete and independent developmental pathways. While this simplifying division may make it easier to generate theory, it may also make it less likely that the resulting theory will describe people’s real-life developmental experiences. In this article, Alex Wilson examines identity development from an Indigenous American perspective, grounded in the understanding that all aspects of identity (including sexuality, race and gender) are interconnected. Many lesbian, gay and bisexual Indigenous Americans use the term “two-spirit” to describe themselves. This term is drawn from a traditional worldview that affirms the inseparability of the experience of their sexuality from the experience of their culture and community. How can this self-awareness and revisioning of identity inform developmental theory? The author offers personal story as a step toward reconstructing and strengthening our understanding of identity.
How we find ourselves: Identity development and Two-Spirit people A. Wilson