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On this addition of InFocus, Host Melissa Ridgen chatted with drag queens – the Queen of the Oil Patch and the Master of the Jig – all of whom shared what it’s like for them to be two spirited.
Ryan Richard, also known as Sandi Bay, is a champion jigger who says that although there are still many obstacles to overcome, the world is becoming a friendlier place for queer people.
“I think that now the younger people… it’s more accepting than it was,” Richard said. “We still have the odd (older person) that will say that this is against our whatever.
“But now… with all the social media and exposure to two-spiritness or to the gayness or whatever. There is a lot more exposure to it now.”
Two spirit people have been a part of Indigenous culture long before settlers arrived in North America.
Colonization brought many things with it, including a different foreign perspective on gender and sexuality.
In some ways, those ideas still affect the way Indigenous people today approach 2SLGBTQ said Prairie Sky, one of Winnipeg’s most-known queens.
“When we’re healing as communities, and as people from the disruption of colonization especially how violent colonization was for many of our communities, when we hear these negative things, I don’t often equate that as being the same way I equate all ways with homophobia or all ways transphobia.
“There are a lot of extra layers there that need to be interrogated,” she said.
Sky added, “people will look at us, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people, will just generally look at queer people as generally being sexual beings and they think what we do is so different, so gross.
“When we’re interrogating queerness we’re also interrogating things like sex and interrogating things like gender. And because of our relationship with all of those things, because of colonization, that makes it extra difficult for our communities.”