Two-Spirit & Indigenous LGBTQQIA Mentors, Elders & Grandparents Support Circle



Brought together and supported by the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA Mentors, Elders, and Grandparents Support Circle is an effort to increase access to identity-affirming culture and support.

What we do:
The Circle aims to share information about community and cultural activities, including ceremonies, gatherings, events and workshops, to provide peer support and help facilitate access to culture in ways that are safe and affirming of our identities.

Who we are:
Circle members include Indigenous/Aboriginal community members who identify as Two-Spirit and/or along the spectrum of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQQIA) as well as names or words from our Original languages. It also includes community organizers and youth leaders at Native Youth Sexual Health Network. This group is also open and inclusive of those who are questioning labels and identities as well as Indigenous community allies.

We are Aunties, Uncles, friends, peers, and activists!
You can contact us at: twospiritcircle@gmail.com

Big thanks to the Dodem Kanonhsa for initially hosting us with space and support.
You can also get in touch with us through the Dodem Kanonhsa in Toronto.

What is ‘Two-Spirit’?
There are many definitions and understandings that are nation-specific (Ex. Navajo, Cree, Dene, Anishinabe) and each individual person will have their own way of expressing their Two-Spirit-ness. Also, not all Indigenous people identify as Two-Spirit and have other ways and words to express their gender and sexual identity. Here is one explanation from the Two-Spirit Society of Denver that may be helpful and please check out our Two-Spirit Resource Directory for more information.

“The term Two-Spirit refers to another gender role believed to be common among most, if not all, first peoples of Turtle Island (North America), one that had a proper and accepted place within indigenous societies. This acceptance was rooted in the spiritual teachings that say all life is sacred and that the Creator must have a reason for making someone different. This gender role was not based in sexual activities or practices, but rather the sacredness that comes from being different. This definition is not meant to replace cultural and traditional teachings, which speak to this role. It is intended to find common ground and to help educate in a contemporary context.”

If you know someone who you think would make a good fit for this Circle, please contact our Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator, Krysta at kwilliams@nativeyouthsexualhealth.com

The following is a list of current members of this circle so you can get to know us! You can connect with us individually or as a collective.

Percy, is a Syilx 2Spirit woman and former sex trade worker from the Penticton First Nations,(Okanagan) who lives with bilateral hearing loss and multiple learning disabilities. She has been a guest in Toronto for the past 15 years and as an Indigenous ally to this land and it's people espouses the 7 grandfather teachings and Guswentah. She is also a community-based educator and researcher. She has over twenty years of social service practice. “My mantra for many years has been to create a culture of healing from an Indigenous/Aboriginal worldview for the educational, social service services systems when working with my communities. My research interests continue to be: Indigenous Worldviews/Knowledges, healing perspectives, social determinants of health and wellness and critical pedagogies when engaging with Indigenous people/land and sovereignty.” Percy holds a Collaborative Masters in Social Work with Women & Gender Studies and is currently completing her doctoral work in the Department of Sociology & Equity Studies at OISE, University of Toronto.

Louis Esmé Cruz is a non-status Mi'kmaq/Acadian and Irish person who's also 2spirit, queer and *trans. Writing, illustrating, ceramics, knowledge-sharing and health-promoting is what they "do" in Tkaronto.

Laureen "Blu" Waters (Istchii Nikamoon- Earth Song) Cree/Métis / Mi'kmaq Wolf Clan. She is a mother of 3 and a grandmother, Sun dancer and a pipe carrier. Laureen’s family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve And Bra’dor Lake, Cape Breton Nova Scotia. Laureen grew up with her grandmother and learned about traditional medicines performing extractions, healings, and care of the sick. She studied landscaping and Horticulture for four years and has studied herbal medicine. Laureen’s gifts include House cleansing, giving traditional spirit names, hand drumming, song writer, creative writer and is a Full moon conductor. She has been a traditional counsellor for most of life.

Margaret Robinson is a Mi’kmaw scholar and bisexual activist from Nova Scotia. Her family comes from Lennox Island, PEI. Margaret received Indian status in 2011, under Bill C-3 and is interested in the experiences of non-status Indigenous peoples. She has written and presented on bullying in Aboriginal schools, Mi’kmaq legends and animal rights, colonialism and racism in LGBTQ communities, and Indigenous sexuality. She holds a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, where she specialized in LGBTQ issues in religion. Margaret works as a researcher in the field of LGBTQ health.

Bedoske (Nicole Tanguay) is Cree and French, though I am mixed race, I do not identify as Metis due to not coming from Metis territories. I grew up in foster homes till I was 18 years old and found my birth mother when I was 35. I am a musician, poet, advocate and social services worker in many different capacities. I have been a PHA counselor, and HIV/Aids educator for Indigenous folks. I have also had roles as an auntie with 2 Spirited Homeless youth in teaching and support circles. I came out at 18 years old and have identified as a butch 2 spirited woman. I have been active in Toronto’s Indigenous community since I moved here in 1989. My experiences are many and I continue to advocate for Indigenous folks and in particular 2 spirit youth. I have sat on many committees and board of directors. My work also includes doing lectures at Universities and Colleges talking about history and colonization and the impacts.

Billie is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe-kwe from Sharbot Lake, Ontario, and a proud mother of two amazing girls. She currently works as a researcher with the Well Living House, an Indigenous health research centre that aims to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous children, families and communities. Billie is also trained as a social worker and has worked as a helper in different capacities in the Toronto Indigenous community. She is happy and humbled to be a part of the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA Mentors, Elders and Grandparents Support Circle, and to support the health and well-being of Two-Spirit children, youth and adults in our communities.

Also a part of the development of this project are: Melissa Deleary, Sylvia Maracle, Ruth Koleszar-Green, Amanda Johnston, Theo Ross, Kiley May