This blog is first and foremost for 2SLGBTQ+ Tribal College and University students, though it is important to acknowledge that members of leadership and administration, and faculty and staff who work to support TCUs and students exist in these spaces as well. The more we can get to know this, and celebrate it, the more likely it is TCU students will feel if not confident and safe, more willing to express who they are and/or seek resources they need.
With this, as Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ tribal college students, you might be right out of high school, and you might be returning much later in life. While the educational journey is not the same for anyone, the path of sorting through how you identify along the 2SLGBTQ+ spectrum will also not be the same for anyone. And while on that path, your understanding of your identity will likely change and evolve many times, and this is the experience of being alive.
Slides by Walking Bull Story + Culture
While there are many actions occurring in an attempt to erase us (once again), and this might overwhelm you as students and humans who identify as 2SLGBTQ+, your other 2SLGBTQ+ relatives want you to know, that it isn’t you who they are afraid of. This fear has been perfected over time and has been disguised as a value or belief system used to control resources and people.
“People genuinely believe that the people who are in danger are dangerous, and that’s what misinformation does, is it inverts reality so that people are more afraid of hypothetical enemies than the real ones.” Alok Vaid-Menon
Please know that you as a Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, queer, LGBT+ person are so beautiful, and you are absolute magic! You, in all and any of the ways you identify are more spectacular than many have the ability to understand.
Slide 1: Artwork by Moe Butterfly, @ https://linktr.ee/Moebutterfly
Slide 2: Slide by Walking Bull Story + Culture
As a TCU student, I think sometimes we (Fort Peck Community College Alumni here), forget our power. Tribal Colleges and Universities serve students, so who are they for, if not you? And, while there are many legitimate reasons why you as students might not be “out” or want to “come out”, if and when you are comfortable doing so, you have it within your right, to start Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ groups or activities, and to request support and advocacy within your home institution.
This might be a daunting task but don’t let this stop you! Google TCUs with two-spirit clubs. Call those schools up and ask how to connect with the people who started the club. Again, if you are comfortable, speak with your student support coaches and advocates, and faculty or staff you know and trust to ask questions and for support.
I encourage you to be creative when finding the moment, the space, or the ability to feel or express who you are to yourself. Whether it be through online gaming, music, dancing, writing, photography, beading, drag, making tea, creating a podcast, whatever it is.
Follow other Two-Spirit, trans and other LGBT relatives on social media to learn about the history, and current movements of your relatives, like Two-Spirit Nation, and Donavan Begay Postier (she/her). You can listen to her podcast and you can find Donavan on Instagram and Facebook. Also, check out the previous sessions we hosted.
And remember it is not your responsibility to validate your experience to anyone. There is no one process of being or becoming Two-Spirit or trans, or LGBTQ+. You don’t have to leave what makes you, you at the door, when you enter the classroom.