Being inclusive and building safe(r) spaces means recognizing that Two Spirit people exist, and have always existed, in Indigenous communities on Turtle Island. It means making an effort to understand the history and the trauma that has led Two Spirit individuals to feel isolated in both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. By doing these few simple things, you can start the process of actively creating inclusive spaces for Two Spirit, queer, and trans Indigenous people.
- Inviting and welcoming Two Spirit individuals to events.
- Listening to people’s experiences and validating those experiences
- Have Two Spirit people share prominent roles in your events and organizations
- Educating yourself on the experiences and history Two Spirit people.
- Reflect on the stereotypes and assumptions you hold on LGBTQ and Indigenous peoples, and work to undo those. By doing this work we can work to create safe(r) spaces, free of shame, violence, stereotypes, bullying, racism, cis-sexism, and heterosexism.
- Be aware of language and use gender inclusive language
Language is a powerful tool; it can either be used to bring people down or bring people together. Be mindful of how you address groups of people, and try not to assume one’s gender identity or pronouns based on appearance. For example, instead of saying “Welcome ladies and gentlemen”, instead say “Welcome friends/folks!” Just by being mindful of how we talk about gender can have a great impact on if the space is perceived as safe or not. If we normalize using gender neutral language and asking people for their pronouns, then we can avoid folks feeling uncomfortable and unsafe.