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Navajo Gender Roles

navajocodetalkersadmin on May 25, 2014 - 10:00 am in Navajo History

Gender and sexuality has been a hot issue in any part of the globe as of today. This is due to man’s high regards to religion and beliefs but to some other places and countries it is not a big thing that needs to be argued for every individual should be accepted as what they are. Multiple genders are in huge number nowadays. Navajo gender roles has something to do with how the people of the Native Americans perceive their importance in terms of culture and religion.

Multiple genders are considered as part of the norms that the Navajo people believe and adhere even before the 1890’s. It was in the year 1890’s to 1930’ that the early natives have experiences extreme changes because of pressures and their exposure to the western culture and the introduction of Christianity in the place. The culture of Navajo recognizes five genders. This makes it more different from other races all over the globe. They are the only people who have the most number of gender types in the society. Thomas who is a citizen of Navajo has explained the multiple genders that became part of their culture.

The gender categories of the Navajo people were being reflected with their language; people were being designated to various stages of their life cycles. The following are the genders which are being recognized by the Navajo people.

1. Woman

Navajo people refers to woman as ASDZAAN. Woman is the primary gender that is being recognized in the place. This gender has an important part on the stories about the origin of the people and the place. Women were given higher importance among any other gender in Navajo. This gender is one of the most genuine gender types in other countries. This gender is being mentioned in the holy bible when God created human beings to fully take good care of the earth. It is the woman in their culture that became the head of the family who is responsible for decision making.

2. Man

Navajo people call man as Hastiin. Man is another genuine gender type that is being created by the father almighty as being recorded on the holy scripture of the Christian religion. Man is type of gender that shows supremacy among any other type but on the culture of the Navajo people man is just second to women when it comes to their importance in the society.

3. Nadleeh

Nadleeh is a Navajo term which is commonly known by the western people as Hermaphrodite. This is the third gender in the category. People of this type are being viewed as individuals who are dominantly demonstrating the characteristics of the opposite gender. It is in this type of gender category where gender diversity is accepted in their culture and stereotyping is not being allowed.

4. Masculine Feminine

This has been known as the fourth gender category in the Navajo tradition and culture. They have been viewed as a separate gender in the society because their role is seemingly different from other gender. Masculine female has its historical importance in ceremonies beng undertaken by the Navajo people.

5. Feminine Male

Female- bodied Nadleeh or feminine-males is believed to have their significant importance in the history.

Navajo gender roles are being seen on how the Native American people live their lives and perform their daily obligations in accordance to social status and profession.

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