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.