I recently decided to make a deliberate effort to learn more the “2S” in LGBTQIA2S+.
Getting started, here’s what the full acronym means:
L – Lesbian
G – Gay
B – Bisexual
T – Transgender
Q – Queer
I – Intersex
A – Asexual
2S – Two-Spirit
+ – All the other ways people identify
Let’s take a closer look at Two-Spirit. I took a quick tour on Google and learned that the term Two-Spirit was developed in 1990 in Winnipeg at the Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference. From what I read, the term refers to a person possessing both feminine and masculine spirits. Two-Spirit is uniquely Indigenous, which I have learned means this term is for use by Indigenous folks. Additionally, I read that there is diversity within diversity meaning, different Nations may have different applications and understanding of the Two-Spirit identity. I have come to understand, before colonization, Two-Spirit individuals were held in high regard in their communities. With colonization came the influence of different (and unfortunately harmful) ways of understanding gender and sexuality, resulting in Two-Spirit folks being pressured to assimilate (and deny their authentic identities) or hide due to bigotry and discrimination.
As I am not a member of the Indigenous Community I feel it best to forego offering too much commentary about the Two-Spirit community. I don’t want to speak on behalf of a group of which I am not a member. I will however take this opportunity to encourage you to continue learning about the concept of the Two-Spirit. To help you get started here are some resources:
What Does “Two-Spirit” Mean? Published and created by “them”
A Two-Spirit journey: Finding identity through Indigenous culture Published and created by the United Way East Ontario
What is Two-Spirit identity? Published and created by The Agenda with Steve Paikin
It took me a few minutes to learn more about “2S” peoples. I hope you will take some time to do the same during this month that celebrates Pride and acknowledges the rich history of Indigenous peoples.