What does "2SLGBTQ+" mean?

The acronym “2SLGBTQ” stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning). The plus sign represents other sexual identities, such as pansexual or asexual. It’s important to remember that everyone – not just 2SLGBTQ+ people – has a gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.



What does "Two-Spirit" mean?

Before colonization, there were many names and terms in Indigenous languages to describe forms of gender identity and complex roles in society. As a result of colonization and the imposition of Euro-Christian values, this cultural wisdom was largely lost. It’s now being recovered and restored due to efforts by Two-Spirit individuals and organizations. The term “Two-Spirit” was introduced in 1990 in Manitoba after a Two-Spirit Elder named Myra Laramee had a dream about it. “Two-Spirit” doesn’t refer to the binary genders of male and female.

In Indigenous cultures, spirit names are multidimensional and subject to interpretation over time and circumstance. For example, some Indigenous youth have come up with their definitions of "Two-Spirit", one of which is “a term that encompasses both my queer identity and my indigeneity or my Indigenous identity”.

Mainstream LGBTQ+ communities have adopted the Two-Spirit acronym “2S” and placed it at the beginning of “LGBTQ+”, recognizing and honouring the cultural and historical place of Indigenous LGBTQ+ peoples in the Americas.


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