Supporting and Celebrating the Native LGBTQ2 Community
Oppression can lead to a disproportionate amount of domestic or sexual violence against against Two-Spirit/Native LGBTQ people.
Native lesbian, bisexual, and Two Spirit women experience a high level of both sexual (85 percent) and physical (78 percent) assault according to a study called "Abuse, Mastery, and Health Among Lesbian, Bisexual, and Two-Spirit American Indian and Alaska Native Women."
This article also describes how "gay, bisexual, and two-spirit men were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report being sexually and physically victimized; specifically 45% versus 2% reported sexual abuse or assault by someone other than a spouse/sexual partner (Simoni, Walters, Balsam, & Meyers, 2006)."
One of the easiest ways we can all begin to combat this issue of violence against the LGBTQ2 community is by becoming a good ally.
These are some tips for effective and respectful interactions for anyone who wants to celebrate and support someone in the Native LGBTQ2 community from the "Walking in Two Worlds: Understanding the Two-Spirit & LGBTQ Community" informational booklet:
- Don’t assume you can tell if someone is LGBTQ/Two Spirit
- Respect the need for confidentiality
- Understand the differences between “coming out” as lesbian, bisexual, or gay and “coming out” as transgendered
- Do not tolerate anti-LGBTQ/Two spirit remarks or humor in public spaces
- If you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask
- Be patient with a person who is questioning their gender identity
- Don’t tell a person what “category” or “identity” they fit into
- Don’t ask a transgendered person what their “real name” is
- Don’t ask about a transgendered person’s genitals or surgical status
- Don’t ask a transgendered person how they have sex
- Know your own limits as an ally
Another helpful item to put on your reading list is the Tribal Equity Toolkit: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit & LGBT Justice in Indian Country. This toolkit goes through the ways that a tribal government can take action to include the LGBTQ2 community into their tribal laws and codes. The toolkit was written for tribes in Oregon but the same principles and overall themes can be extremely helpful to anyone that is willing to advocate for the implementation of codes like these.
And lastly, we would like to highlight the Central Oklahoma Two-Spirit Society. They will be participating in this year's Pride Parade on June 24, 2018 from 6pm-9pm. Let's all work together to support and celebrate Two-Spirit/Native LGBTQ people so that they can reclaim their space in their tribal communities. The NAAV staff hopes to see you there!