Two-spirit and LGBTQIA + Advocate

October 11 | 11:30 a.m. -12: 30 a.m. | NOVA School of Law - Room 7

Guest Speaker: John R. Sylliboy (Two-spirite and LGBTQ Advocate)

“Two-spirit” refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit and is used by some Indigenous people of North America to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity.

As an umbrella term it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, cross-dressers or who have multiple gender identities. Two-spirit – also called 2S – can also include relationships that could be considered poly.

The creation of the term “two-spirit” is attributed to Elder Myra Laramee, who proposed its use during the Third Annual Inter-Tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference, held in Winnipeg in 1990. The term is a translation of the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, two spirits.

The binarity of spirits is not something recent in Amerindian history. In North America alone more than 130 tribes have been documented that portrayed 2S people.