As Native American Heritage Month comes to a close, we wanted to honor some of the many LGBTQ and two-spirit Native American people working every day to make the world a better place.
Here are five LGBTQ and two-spirit Native American people you should know about.
Rep. Sharice Davids
Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) made history in 2018 as the first out LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Kansas, and as one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. In 2020, she was reelected for a second term.
Just before her reelection, Davids spoke with LGBTQ Nation about what she accomplished during her first two years in office, including the legislation she has sponsored or was part of passing through the House of Representatives, like the For The People Act, the Equality Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and “dozens of bills to bring down the costs of healthcare and prescription drugs.”
“Truly landmark pieces of legislation,” she said.
In 2020, Geo Neptune became the first trans, nonbinary, two-spirit elected official in the state of Maine when they were elected to the Indian Township School Board.
A member of the local Passamaquoddy Tribe, Neptune ran to help students gain more access to Passamaquoddy culture and history.
“The education system treats our own culture as supplementary, as an extracurricular activity that the kids are allowed to do instead of treating Passamaquoddy culture and history as one of the main priorities in the education system,” they told Maine Public Radio last year. “These youth concerns, on top of community members asking me to run, those are my two motivating reasons for running for this office.”
Neptune is also a basket maker, drag performer, model, and storyteller and has used their skills to advocate for Native people.
“In the past year, I’ve expressed my Pride by educating others about Two-Spirit history and presence,” they told Logo in June. “And I will continue to make history by being a presence.”
Ilona Verley appeared on season one of Canada’s Drag Race and was the first indigenous, non-binary, and two-spirit queen to appear on the popular franchise.
Verley later spoke out against Canada’s Drag Race for allegedly limiting her from talking about being trans while filming and preventing her from doing sex work after the show aired, which meant she had no income for a good portion of the pandemic.
“I think it’s time for them to understand that we’re people,” she told Xtra in October.“We’re giving up a lot to be able to make these TV shows entertaining and good, and they need to start treating us like human beings and artists, not just pawns in a game.”
Rebecca Nagle, a two-spirit member of the Cherokee Nation, is an award-winning writer, activist, and podcast host who uses her platforms to advocate for tribal sovereignty and Native representation.
In 2010, she also co-founded FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an organization made up of artists devoted to creating conversations and campaigns on sexual violence.
A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Jasilyn Charger is an environmental, LGBTQ, and youth activist. They are the co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council, the One Mind Youth Movement, and the 7th Defenders Project. They have been considered instrumental in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as many other movements.
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