Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day
Two-Spirit Team at The Community-Based Research Centre, and the Two-Spirit Dry Lab
March 21, 2023 • 4 Min Read
Thank you to our friends at CBRC’s Two-Spirit program and the Two-Spirit Dry Lab - Jessy Dame, Martin Moberg, and Harlan Pruden - for allowing us to share this article and work with MindMapBC visitors.
The MindMapBC team is proud to join the call-to-action led by the Two-Spirit Program at the Community-Based Research Centre, to proclaim March 20th - spring equinox - as Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day across Turtle Island!
Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day was advocated by members of the Two-Spirit community to recognize and celebrate the radiance and diversity of Two-Spirit identities, expression and experience. The Two-Spirit Program at the Community-Based Research Centre has led the call for this day of Celebration and Awareness.
“Two-Spirit Celebration and Awareness Day is a homecoming – an opportunity to recognize the strength and tremendous progress made by the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ community over the years,” says Jessy Dame, Two-Spirit Program Manager at CBRC. Much of this progress can be attributed to years of advocacy from Two-Spirit Elders, mentors, leaders, and community members who have worked tirelessly for this recognition. “With this day, we want to uplift and bring greater awareness to Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary Indigenous people and communities.”
Aligning the celebration with the spring equinox was intentional, as the date represents transformation and change, which is the in-between that Two-Spirit people have occupied. “This is an amazing day to stop, acknowledge, and celebrate all the beauty in being Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, and LGBTQIA+ Indigenous peoples. This day is a result of decades of work within the Two-Spirit movement,” said Harlan Pruden (First Nations Cree), one of the co-founders of the Two-Spirit Dry Lab. “We must take the time to celebrate and lift one another up – while we are on a dance floor or watching talented and fierce performers — that’s the power and beauty of this Two-Spirit Day!”
Martin Morberg, Two-Spirit Program Coordinator at CBRC, explains the history and importance of the day:
“It is important that we recognize the Two-Spirit leaders that have come before us that have made our work possible. Without them, I don’t believe we would be here today. In our work as Two-Spirit people, we have hosted numerous community events to gather with our Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ relatives. A common theme and priority that we keep hearing from our relatives is the need for more Two-Spirit spaces. I believe that in order to respond to this priority, we need to keep pushing for visibility, to be seen, to be recognized, to let people know we are here and that we are reclaiming our rightful place in our Indigenous communities. This year’s Two-Spirit day is about honouring the people that have blazed the trail before us, uplifting the work that has been done today, and to celebrate all that exists within our Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ communities.”
More opportunities for Two-Spirit people to come together and connect was identified as a priority during last year’s Two-Spirit Gathering, held at CBRC’s annual Summit conference. “Opportunities to connect are essential in creating a sense of belonging and to support the powerful response of Two-Spirit people in areas that continue to affect the lives of Indigenous people,” says Lane Bonertz, Two-Spirit Program Lead at CBRC. “Two-Spirit people have held sacred roles within many Nations; after years of education and activism, Two-Spirit people are beginning to find their place once again.”
The Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day will be an annual day of joy and festivity for all Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous folks, including our allies and friends. This year, CBRC marked the day with a Bannock and Tea event at Junction, in what is colonially known as Vancouver. The celebration was an opportunity for discussion, celebration, and expression that also amplified Two-Spirit voices and artists, featuring live entertainment from local Indigenous artists.
Interested in other ways to connect?
Check out the Two-Spirit Dry Lab website for updates.
Explore resources on MindMapBC:
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