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“Two-spirit” refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous people 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 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. (Statistics provided by: LGBTQ2S+ Health)

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"Our place in the circle is just as important as any other in our community. This includes safety and protections for us all"

-Asoonax Harolds

Hand stitched quilt to honor the LGBTQ and Two Spirit that are Missing and Murdered
Hand stitched quilt to honor the LGBTQ and Two Spirit that are Missing and Murdered

two spirit history

Adopted in 1990 in Winnipeg, Canada. In place of the French word(berdache). Two spitit describes the Identity of traditional roles in certain tribes. The sexually uninhibited beliefs of American Indians were shamed and deemed barbaric and at god’s mercy if they did not stop immediately.

Even with the modern adoption of pan-Indian terms like two spirit, not all cultures will perceive two spirit people the same way, or welcome a pan-Indian term to replace the terms already in use by their cultures.

Two spirit roles, in particular, were singled out for condemnation, interference, and many times violence. As a result, two spirit traditions and practices went underground or disappeared in many tribes.



two spirit traditions

Two-spirit individuals were experts in traditional arts - such as pottery making, basket weaving, and the manufacture and decoration of items made from leather. Among the Navajo, two-spirit males often became weavers, usually women and men's work, as well as healers, which was a male role. By combining these activities, they were often among the wealthier members of the tribe. Two-spirit females engaged in activities such as hunting and warfare, and became leaders in war and even chiefs. 

"This is the first gallery exhibition that highlights the role of Two Spirit people in traditional Native American society and includes the extremely rare work of the two best known 19th Century two spirit artists, We’wha and Arroh-ah-och, along with contemporary Two Spirit artists.

Prominent in this exhibition are a Zuni ceramic bowl circa 1880 attributed to We’wha (1849 - 1896) the well-documented Two Spirit artist and a Laguna ceramic attributed to Arroh-ah-och, a Two Spirit ceramicist in Laguna also active at the end of the 19th century" (We'wha and the Two Spirit Tradition, Then and Now)



In a state survey, nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ and Two-Spirit AI/ANs (29.4%) reported experiencing hate violence—a higher rate than any other LGBTQ community

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  • Nationwide, approximately 40% of gay men and half of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence, compared to 20% of heterosexual men
  • 75% of bisexual women and 44% of lesbians have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of heterosexual women
  • 47% of our transgender siblings and 55% of all non-binary people experience sexual assault in their lifetimes
  • Two-Spirit elders who have experienced discrimination report poorer health and increased physical pain and impairment
  • Two-Spirit identifying women face multifaceted challenges including stigma regarding their sexual orientation, exclusion from mainstream Two-Spirit discourse, and sexism from both AI/AN and LGBTQ communities (Statistics provided by:
    National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging)


The Avellaka Program: Rainbow of Truth Circle

Call 760-742-8628

Located at 22000 HWY 76, Pauma Valley, CA 92061

North County LGBTQ Resource Center

Call 760-994-1690

Located at 3220 Mission Ave, Suite #2, Oceanside, CA  92058


San Diego LGBT Community Center

Call 619-692-2077

Located at 3909 Centre St, San Diego, CA 92103


San Diego LGBT Pride

Call 619-297-7683

Located at 3620 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104


Hillcrest Youth Center

Call 619-497-2920 Ext.250

Located at 1807 Robinson Ave, Ste 106, San Diego, CA 92103

Contact [email protected]

PFLAG San Diego Chapter

Call 888-398-0006


PFLAG Temecula Valley: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays

Call 951-878-8052

Located at 41000 Main St, Temecula CA 92591

San Diego Equality Business Association

Call 619-296-4543


LGBT Community Center of Coachella Valley

Call 760-416-7790

Located at 1301 N Palm Canyon Dr, Ste 301, Palm Springs, CA 92262


GLSEN San Diego Chapter Supporting Students and Teachers

Call 212-727-0135

Located at GLSEN 110 William St. 30th Fl, New York 10038


Human Rights Campaign San Diego


LGBTQ+ Center of Riverside County

Call 951-364-3305

Temecula Valley Pride

Call 951-290-0491


The Trevor Project

Call the 24/7 Hotline 866-488-7386


It Gets Better Project


University of Redlands Pride Center: Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Call 909-748-8287

Located at 1200 E. Colton Ave, Redlands, CA 92521

UC Riverside LGBT Resource Center

Call 951-827-2267

Located at 245 Costo Hall Riverside, CA 92521

CSU San Bernardino Pride Center

Located at Santos Manuel Student Union, San Bernardino, CA 92407

Cal Poly Pomona Pride Center

Call 909-869-2573

Located at 3801 W. Temple Ave, BLDG 26, Rm 107, Pomona CA 91768

Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center

Call 760-592-4066

Located at 1073 Ross Ave Set E, El Centro CA 92243

Contact [email protected]

Side 1 Marissa's Draft
Side 2 Marissa's Draft
Draft- 2SLGBTQ Today
Draft-2SLGBTQ in California
Draft-Two Spirit Origins
Draft-Two Spirit Resources