BY Lesley Goldberg

November 19 2009 3:50 PM ET

TWO SPIRITS 2 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

What has the response to the film been like so far?
We screened as a work-in-progress and the response was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. The screenings were helpful in fund-raising to finish the film and people shared their personal stories with us, including a two-spirit man who I will never forget. He tearfully hugged me and thanked me for making the film and explained that he had been left for dead in a remote location under circumstances very much like Fred’s murder. It was difficult for him to see the film, but having lived through a brutal beating, he had dedicated his life to anti-violence programs and said he is doing everything he can to connect others to Two Spirits.

What can we learn from Fred's story?
I think the overarching message of the film is that we are all enriched by multi-gendered people, and that all of us -- regardless of our ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural heritage -- must be free to be our truest selves.

Why do you think the Colorado district attorney didn't understand that Fred's slaying was a hate crime?
The activists working with Fred’s family discovered that the D.A.’s knowledge of the hallmarks of a hate crime was very limited. Unfortunately, too many law enforcement officials don’t know what to do to protect vulnerable populations and many are not knowledgeable about preventing and prosecuting hate crimes. It took advocacy by anti-violence groups and LGBT activists to ensure that law enforcement, the media, and the public understood that Fred’s murder was hate-motivated. The 19-year-old who murdered Fred by bludgeoning him with rocks bragged to friends that he had “bug smashed a fag.” That’s a hate crime.

What can we do to support the acceptance of two-spirit culture?
I hope Two Spirits gives gay and straight people an opportunity to explore these issues in a new way and to see gender and gender expression through a different lens. We all benefit from looking more deeply at how sexism, gender conformity, and internalized and externalized homophobia play a role in our culture and in our lives. This is a time to reinvent what isn’t working and to find a more humane way to approach gender and sexuality











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