An Open Letter in honor of Pride Month,
First, Happy Pride to all of our LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit relatives. You are valued and loved. Pride is a commemoration of fighting back against oppressors and a reminder that oppressors will never willingly acknowledge the rights of the oppressed; sometimes you have to riot for your rights.
The following is from literature written by our ED, Sikowis, given at a Pride Day event in Sioux City. It explains how the MMIR crisis is compounded for our LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit relatives. Please take a moment to read, learn, and contact your representatives to urge them to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit people.
A Brief Overview on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Crisis and the Indigenous LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit Community
The Missing and Murdered Relatives crisis is a term that Great Plains Action Society prefers to use over the Missing and Murdered Women’s crisis as it is more inclusive of Indigenous non-binary and LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit folks. Statistics on the rate of colonial violence faced by the LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit community are slim. What we do know is that this community faces elevated rates of violence and extreme erasure surrounding this crisis. Furthermore, “in addition to the systemic racism directed towards them by society, Two Spirit individuals are also the target for harmful patriarchal beliefs regarding gender identity.” (stoprelationshipabuse.org)
According to the Minnesota Two-Spirit Society, “in a recent study of Two-Spirit women, 78% of the women had been physically assaulted and 85% were sexually assaulted. This is 4 times higher than the estimate of lifetime assault among women in the general population…In an urban sample in the United States, gay, bisexual, and Two-Spirit men were more likely than heterosexual counterparts to report being sexually and physically victimized; 45% versus 2% reported sexual abuse or assault by someone other than their spouse/sexual partner.” (tribalinformationexchange.org) We would be remiss if we did not mention that specifically, Black and Brown Trans folks are facing unprecedented murder rates in the US.
There is little to nothing being done by federal, state, tribal, or city governments to address this crisis of Missing and Murdered LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit folks. Though there is one piece of legislation, Violence Against Women Act, that has increased protections for Native American women, migrant women (also largely Indigenous), and LGBTQIA+ Peoples which is an insertion for Indigenous LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit folks. Over the past 25 years, advocates have reshaped the Violence Against Women Act as they have recognized that, for many people, “accessing safety and justice is harder because of their race, ethnicity, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” For instance, the 2013 reauthorization of this act afforded special “provisions to undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas and extended protections to the LGBTQ community and Native Americans.” (tahlequahdailypress.com)
The Violence Against Women Act is NOT ENOUGH. All levels of government, including Tribal Governments, must invest way more resources into understanding and stopping colonial violence being perpetrated on the Indigenous LGBTQIA+/Two Spirit Community. Great Plains Action Society is an Indigenous-Queer-Women-led organization and is committed to doing more and we hope you can join us. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to build more allyship in this cause. However, we are just one organization of many trying to do better.
Winnebago Two-Spirit Committee, email@example.com
Indigenous organizing for Siouxland Pride Day through Karen Mackey, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, iowamutualaid.org/iowa-trans-mutual-aid