The Two-Spirit Program at CBRC are calling upon our relations, government officials, policy makers, and hereditary leaders across Turtle Island in the proclamation and celebration of Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day – taking place this year on Monday, March 20, 2023 – in alignment with the spring equinox.
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. As the Two-Spirit Program at CBRC prepares for this year’s in-person event in what is colonially known as Vancouver, we are encouraging Two-Spirit organizations, leaders, scholars, advocates, activists, Elders and community members across Turtle Island to join us in the proclamation of the spring equinox as Two-Spirit Celebration and and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Awareness Day. We are also inviting folks to host local events, demonstrations, and celebrations in solidarity with our event on March 20, 2023.
“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.
“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,” says Martin Morberg, Two-Spirit Program Coordinator at CBRC. “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.
EVENT IN VANCOUVER
The Two-Spirit Program will be hosting a “Bannock and Tea” event on Monday, March 20, from 2 pm to 7 pm PT, at Junction (1138 Davie St.). We will be gathering in celebration, recognizing the Two-Spirit trailblazers that came before us in this resurgence and to put an emphasis on the Indigenous sexual health work being undertaken by Two-Spirit people across Turtle Island. The day will be a time to reflect on the work that has been and continues to be done within the Two-Spirit movement across Turtle Island. The celebration will amplify Two-Spirit voices and artists, featuring live entertainment from local Indigenous artists. It will be an opportunity for discussion, expression, and celebration amongst our Two-Spirit relatives that will hopefully be the start of similar gatherings across the country. Everyone is welcome.
HOST YOUR OWN EVENT
We invite community members and organizations with a vested interest in this progress to join in this celebration by hosting their own events within their respective communities to elevate and recognize the role of Two-Spirit people. With an emphasis on inclusion, the aim of these events is to further engage with the community in knowledge sharing through rallies, public forums, gatherings, and media representation on the historical and contemporary role Two-Spirit people have in Indigenous self-determination and community care. We want to create space for community – Elders, elected officials, hereditary leaders, policy makers, and popular public figures, to join the conversation and determine how we can move forward.
Community members and organizations who do decide to host their own events are encouraged to share them with the Two-Spirit Program team at CBRC to spread the word. To get in touch, please write to [email protected].
Click here to view and download the event's poster.