BCAFN Supports Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day, March 20, 2023

  • Press Release

March 21, 2023

News Category
Press Release

(Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC) – The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) joined festivities for the 2nd annual Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA+ Awareness to Celebration Day yesterday! This event celebrates the diverse sexualities and gender expressions that exist within our First Nation communities.

Last year, the Community-Based Research Center (CBRC) held a virtual event which featured a video message from Regional Chief Terry Teegee. This year CBRC announced an in-person Bannock and Tea Event, which was held on March 20th at the Junction bar in Vancouver’s West End.

BCAFN regional 2SLGBTQQIA+ representative, Orene Askew (DJ O Show) shared, “Taking the time to recognize our uniqueness as Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in a way that encourages Two-Spirit and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous peoples to heal, learn, and connect with not only the community but our diverse cultures. As difficult as it is we must acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of colonial violence on the lives of Two-Spirit, Indigenous trans, and non-binary peoples and continue to do the good work to be a part of the change that is needed for our younger generations.”

In solidarity, Regional Chief Terry Teegee stated, “It is important to recognize that each nation has their own understandings of gender and sexuality. As allies, it is important for us to educate ourselves and respect all uniqueness within our First Nation communities. Continuing to support and accept our Two-Spirit and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous peoples will help create safe and inclusive spaces across our territories. I wish everyone who is gathering for the Two-Spirit Celebration to Awareness Day a powerful time of dialogue, celebration, and solidarity.” The BCAFN continues to be committed to upholding the rights, dignity, and voice of First Nations Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary people.

During the past year, BCAFN welcomed its first regional 2SLGBTQQIA+ representative, Orene Askew (DJ O Show). Orene Askew is a proud Afro-Indigenous and a 2-Spirit person, who also brings her previous experiences as a Councillor for the Squamish Nation and current role as a DJ and motivational speaker. The BCAFN works to ensure that Orene is supported on various levels in order to bring forward the perspective of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in regional work and at the Assembly of First Nations national 2SLGBTQQIA+ Council. At the recent BCAFN Special Chiefs Assembly on March 9-10, 2023, Orene delivered her first formal update to First Nations Chiefs and leadership, highlighting key initiatives related to creating safe spaces and supporting enhanced representation for 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples.

View press release PDF