Every once in a while, a film comes along that’s not only deeply moving, but which also opens the hearts and minds of its audience. “Two Spirits,” a new documentary from filmmaker Lydia Nibley, is precisely that sort of film.
In it, Nibley shares the heart-wrenching story of 16-year-old Fred Martinez, who was brutally murdered because of his gender identity. Fred, who grew up in the Navajo culture, was nádleehí, a male-bodied person with a feminine nature.
Although nádleehí people are widely accepted (traditionally revered, even) in the Navajo culture, Fred found hostility from an unwelcoming western world. In 2001, Fred was bludgeoned to death with a rock as he fought for his life on the outskirts of his hometown of Cortez, Colorado. The assailant, an 18-year-old man, was later caught by authorities after he bragged to a friend that he had “beat up a f-g.”
Fred became one of the youngest people in modern history to lose his life to anti-LGBT hate violence that day, but his story has not been forgotten. On Tuesday, June 14, PBS’ Independent Lens will debut Fred’s story to millions, helping to shed light on the disproportionate rates of violence that face the transgender and two spirit communities.
For more information about “Two Spirits,” visit twospirits.org and be sure to tune into PBS on June 14!