Jason Mraz has been called a “white settler,” compared to Christopher Columbus and accused of cultural appropriation after coming out as Two Spirit.

The “I’m Yours” singer revealed how he defines his sexuality last week, ending weeks of speculation sparked by his poem for Pride Month, which ended with the line “I am bi your side.”



Mraz revealed: “I’ve had experiences with men, even while I was dating the woman who became my wife. It was like: ‘Wow, does that mean I am gay?’ And my wife laid it out for me.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18:Jason Mraz performs on NBC's "Today" at the NBC's TODAY Show on July 18, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Mraz was responding to speculation that he’s bi (Jamie McCarthy/Getty)

“She calls it ‘Two Spirit,’ which is what the Native Americans call someone who can love both man and woman. I really like that.”

But the backlash against 41-year-old musician was loud and swift, as many expressed anger at a non-Native person co-opting the term.

‘Two Spirit’ is used by Indigenous North American and First Nations people to represent those who possess both masculine and feminine spirits, and can encompass sexual, gender and/or spiritual identities.

Two Spirit as a term was coined in 1990 (Wiki Commons)

Although Two-Spirited people have been described throughout history, the term was coined in 1990 at the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations Gay and Lesbian American Conference in Winnipeg, Canada.

It was chosen as a means of unifying the different gender identities and expressions of Native American, First Nations and Indigenous people.

And commenters have made the point that it certainly wasn’t created for white people.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Jason Mraz poses backstage during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)
Mraz during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner (Gary Gershoff/Getty)

One person wrote simply: “Flat out, you don’t get to call yourself Two Spirit if you aren’t Native. Don’t.”

Another said: “If you are Native it’s okay [to] identify as Two Spirit, if you are Native it’s okay to identify as Two Spirit.

“If you are non Ntv, nobody gives a f**k about your opinion on the subject. Turn around Columbus you are lost.”

Another said: “Well I guess it’s white bisexuals call out other white bisexuals time: Jason Mraz, you 100% can’t call yourself two-spirit.

“The only folks who can use that label are two-spirit people indigenous to the Americas. That’s it. Learn. A. Thing. Be. A. Good. Queer.”

One person wrote: “VERY IMPORTANT: @jason_mraz has NEVER and will NEVER be #TwoSpirit. Jason Mraz IS NOT INDIGENOUS TO THE AMERICAN CONTINENT.

“Jason Mraz is a WHITE SETTLER appropriating a pan-Indigenous term coined by Trans, Intersex, Asexual, Queer+ Indigenous folx to describe ourselves.”

“If you’re not Native, it’s 99% likely you don’t know what two-spirit really means. It’s an umbrella term for queer identities with Native communities & comes w community roles,” another tweeter explained.

“If you’re not part of an indigenous community you can’t take on that role thus you can’t be two-spirit.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07: Singer/Songwriter Jason Mraz performs onstage at the 'We Create Music Center Stage' showcase during The 2018 ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO at Loews Hollywood Hotel on May 7, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for ASCAP)
Mraz in action (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

“This isn’t about exclusion. It’s about preserving its actual meaning. It’s us putting our foot down as two-spirit/queer Natives & saying you don’t get to take it and distort what it actually is.”

One person said that “it’s not ALL white people. However when there is someone of the dominant culture who pulls stuff like this, it can be very upsetting.

“Especially for Indigenous people alike. Especially LGBTQ2SIA+ Indigenous people. Seriously. what the f**k Jason Mraz.”

“As some1 who is & whose relatives hv honored as Two Spirit, I can emphatically say this is NOT what TS means,” another tweeter commented.

“It’s often used as a catchall 4 INDIGENOUS QUEERS ONLY but is more importantly a role u EARN in ur tribal community (educator, healer, counselor, etc),” they added, using the hashtag “#GentrifyingJason.”

One person said: “Non-Natives who try to co-opt Two Spirit as some trendy term their wives just picked out of the air are perpetuating settler violence tribal people—especially Indigenous queers & trans folx—have endured & survived for centuries.”

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And another tweeter commented: “First of all, that’s not how two spirit works. At all.

“Secondly, let’s let native people be two spirit. If you’re not native, you’re not two spirit.”




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