An affirming newsletter for the gender variant community
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Movie Review
Coming Home
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Check out the updated Books & Resource sections!  A free downloadable Resource Directory is now in the works!   If you know of additional resources you would like to see added, please email me the information. 

Health News

Trans Health
Resources Online
The Transcare Project is now offering free down-loadable PDF versions of its up to date trans-affirming health care resources online. You can find information on getting hormones, surgery, talking with your health care provider about your gender transition, real-life experience as well as a number of health issues and the intersection of transgender health. These are informative, well written, and can help guide you in the process of transition and maintaining your health pre and post surgery. You can find them here: Transcare Project
Gender Madness In Psychiatry
by Kelly Winters, Ph.D.
A new landmark book documenting the history of the diagnosing of gender non-conforming identity and expression as a form of mental illness has just been released.  Kelly Winters, Ph.D. is the founder  of  and a board member of the Matthew Shephard Foundation. She is an outspoken advocate and researcher in the discipline of gender and the politics of how gender non-conforming people are pathologized by the medical community. For more information, visit
Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays From the Struggle for Dignity
by Kelley Winters Ph.D. by BookSurge Publishing
Paperback ~ Release Date: 2009-01-16
 Our Price:

Community Events

Support Group for Female Partners of Trans Men
Cynthia Henrie, MFT leads an ongoing support group for partners of trans men in LA. This group is closed and requires a six month commitment and initial meeting with Cynthia. For more information, contact her at :
or (323) 829-3548.
Trans Media Online
Check out Ashley Love's online Media Magazine. Ashley is the founder of MAGNET: Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans and her work is dedicated to giving trans positive media exposure for the trans community as well as involving non-trans people in the witnessing of trans experience.
*New * Spanish Language Trans Support In OC: Pioneras 911
Pioneras 911 is a Spanish language meeting for the entire Latino transgender community. Those who want to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of living as transgender, transvestite, or transsexual are encouraged to attend. Group activities include educational workshops on self-esteem, STD and HIV/AIDS prevention, spirituality and more. Pioneras 911 meets every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm at The Center OC.
For more info:
contact Alfonso Guerrero
 714-534-0862 x109 .
AA meeting for Trans Community
Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for Transgender, Transsexual and Gender Questioning Alcoholics and Drug Addicts.  Not open to friends, family, admirers or cross dressers.
When:  1st and 3rd Saturday of the month
Time:  3:30-4:45 pm
Where:  The Village at Ed Gould Plaza (Rm 134)
1125 N. McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90038
For more info:
Issue: # 5 Feb/2009
Welcome to the February 2009 edition of PATHWAYS, from the office of Lisa Maurel, MFT. 
Whether you are navigating the changes and upheavals of questioning your gender identity, or understanding your loved one's transition, this issue is meant to offer you hope and vision of how a new world is possible for you and for those you love.
The resources in this issue can enable you to deconstruct your ideas about gender, connect to a supportive community, and take the steps toward making change. And in my article this month, I'm sharing with you the wisdom of the Native American tradition of understanding and celebrating the diverse and unique expression of gender giftedness. 
If I can be of assistance to you or your family in the journey you are making, please contact me to set up a consultation.
"Only through perils and upheavels
can Nations be brought to further developments.
May the present upheavals lead to a better orld"
 - Albert Einstein
Native Americans & The Two Spirit Tradition
Gender giftedness and gender variance is not a new phenomenon. Though debates and discussions on the causes and trajectories of non-traditional gender expression continue;  there is great wisdom to be found in the traditions of Native American Culture in appreciating gender-gifted people. As a therapist working with gender variant community, my clients are often without cultural support or reference for the territory they encounter. Together, we have found that exploring the history of gender variance among the Native Americans to be a helpful way of re-imagining gender yesterday and today.  


Anthropologists and historians have well documented the incidence of gender non-conforming people in Native American culture, across all tribes. Each tribe having their own terms with translations that indicate an appreciation for gender complexity and inclusion for those who fall outside of typical gender expression.
The term Two-Spirit is used as a kind of contemporary concept that captures the meaning of all of these tribal terms: one who has both the spirit of male and female and who can appreciate the world in a more "holistic manner".  It is certain that two-spirit people were a diverse group that today might be recognizable as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. We know this because they were known to partner with members of their same sex and that they were often recognized because of their cross-gender behavior and dress.
Two spirit people were usually genetic males; and sometimes genetic females. Two-spirit people were usually recognized or given some chance to choose their expression, at a young age. The Mohave Tribes of the southwest, gave tests to their children in order to identify children of "two-spirit" status. Clearly relying on some form of bias-tests would be given to determine if a child was inclined to traditional gender roles, or "two-spirit" status. One account suggested that the Papago Indians used a small brush tent in which they placed a bow and arrow, and a woman's basket. Setting a possible "two-spirit" child inside and lighting the brush with flame, whichever utensils the child emerged with indicated their natural affinity.  
Two-Spirit people were also given a place of honor within the tribe. As healers, leaders, matchmakers or warriors; they broke the boundaries of their physical sex and served in the capacities that fit their gifts.  They were invested by the tribe with a kind of honor which called for respect, due to their special gifts.  They were valued by their families and their tribe.
Historians document that same-sex marriages involving two-spirit people, were common. For example, Crazy Horse, the chief of the Lakota Sioux, was said to have a few "winktes" (the Sioux term for two-spirit) among his wives. The winkte would have completed womanly duties, and been the passive partner in sex.
Though there are fewer accounts of two-spirit natal women, there is one account of a biologically female, Crow Chief. Known only as the Woman Chief of the crow Indians of the upper Missouri, she was known for her "manly accomplishments".  She had many wives and was a well respected warrior.
As a therapist, working with gender gifted people and their families have been honored to accompany my clients  who are engaged in  exploring, discovering, questioning and liberating their two-spirit identities. The result  is often profoundly spiritual and freeing. As an ally, I recognize that there are challenges and sometimes painful losses that come with the journey of a modern day two-spirit person. My hope is that as we engage in this journey of embracing gender giftedness- we can learn from the wisdom of the Native Americans and their appreciation of the gift of the two-spirit tradition; and in doing so, we can as a community, appreciate, value, and honor the gifts that they share with us.
Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present
by Neil Miller by Advocate Books
List Price: $18.95
Our Price: $55.00
Buy Now

You can read more about Native American Tribes and the incorporation of gender variance and transformation through rituals, story, art and rites of passage on here  or at the Dancing To Eagle Spirit Society's two-spirit page here.

Coming to the Movies

Two Spirit Movie
A new documentary about the murder of  16-year old  Fred Martinez, a member of the Navajo tribe and a "nadleeh": someone who expresses both masculine and feminine energy. Fred expressed his feminine nature and was the youngest victim of a hate crime in the US. The film is expected to launch this spring. It brings to light, the highly conscious and spiritual understandings of gender that were part of early Native American Culture. To learn more about the film:  Twospirits 

Coming Home


farm windowHaving the freedom to live your life as a trans person starts at home. Many people struggle with housing as a barrier in achieving this goal.  Here are a few resources that might help you locate a living situation.And if you have a resource to add... email me at
Find a LGBT roomate:
I've designed this newsletter as a way of staying in touch with clients and colleagues and to provide informative articles,  community events and book links that may be useful to you in your journey towards spiritual and emotional growth.  Feel free to contact me regarding my therapy practice, professional consultation, or my speaking services.
lisa - headshotBe well & happy,
Lisa Maurel, MFT