In two spirit kinship, allies during pride month and beyond

For a community, pride could be defined as confidence and self-respect expressed by individuals who share similar identities, cultures, or experiences. 

Two Spirit and LBTQ pride means positive acceptance of one’s self on an individual level as well as a sense of honor in belonging to the greater Two Spirit community. Demonstrating pride in everyday life can be more than a celebration; it is a way of protesting the injustices, violence, and inequities many in the TSLGBTQ community continue to face. 

What is Pride Month? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently honored in June each year to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising. LGBTQ Pride Month celebrations might include parades, gatherings, workshops, concerts, and memorials. The purpose of Pride Month is to recognize the impact LGBTQ individuals have had on history, celebrate their ongoing contributions to society, and honor those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS. 

How can you help celebrate Pride Month and be an ally all year long? As allies, we can participate in the June Pride Month festivities, but we can do more than just show up for Pride. The Stonewall riots were a form of active resistance. 

While Pride Month is celebratory, it should always center the community’s struggle and resilience, and we should keep the issues that impact the Two Spirit community in the forefront all year long.  

Here are some ways to put ally-ship into action: 

  • Shop at Two Spirit-owned small business and/or donate to nonprofits. There are many national organizations that work on behalf of the Two Spirit and LGBTQ community, but it’s often most impactful to donate locally. 
  • Contribute your time to TSLGBTQ organizations and causes. You might research Two Spirit organizations in your own community or tribes to support. 
  • Vote for tribal, local, state, and national candidates who recognize and prioritize the needs of the TSLGBTQ community in their platforms and legislative priorities. Supporting funding for community resources (such as libraries, local community centers, and mobile health clinics) that are TSLGBTQ-inclusive can also be impactful. 
  • Listen to, uplift, and center TSLGTBQ voices and demands for change. Continuing to show up where asked is a powerful kind of support for real, lasting change. 
  • Confront your own biases, do not take offense if someone corrects you, and don’t make assumptions about people (give them the space they need). Part of being a good ally is remaining open-minded and being willing to learn and change. 
  • Have open and honest conversations, speak out against anti-TSLGTBQ jokes and sentiments, and defend your friends against discrimination when you see it – even if/especially when it’s uncomfortable! 
  • Read Two Spirit writers, support Two Spirit artists, and amplify Two Spirit experiences. Stories are powerful; do not support misrepresentations of Two Spirit people in the media. 

In February 2021, the Native Connections Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Center and the Tribal TTA Center—both funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)— introduced a new monthly newsletter called Spirit-Honor-Inclusion. The newsletter was distributed via email and shared current information related to Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) topics. Each issue highlighted resources, articles, and news or events, plus a featured guest contributor whose work informed the monthly topic themes. The newsletter also regularly featured articles from Two Spirit allies and relevant cultural Two Spirit teachings. Happy Pride Month! 


* This article, originally published in TSLGBTQ magazine, was provided by Precious Collins through the Native Connections Program. 

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