Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning
"Never Give Up" - Saint Lawrence Island Yup'ik Values
LGBTQ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning and is part of a big thing called sexuality and gender. You may have heard these terms before or know someone who may identify as LGBTQ. Two same-gender people loving one another romantically or someone who is a different gender than what they were given at birth are not new concepts. Many Alaska Native and other Native cultures have stories or traditional roles or words in their Native language that describe people who were LGBTQ and Native. These ways were around before contact and many of our traditional ways have been lost since contact with non-natives. Nowadays, some Alaska Native and American Indian people prefer to call themselves Two-spirit, instead of LGBTQ. Two-spirit is a term that is meant for people who want to express themselves as both LGBTQ and Native to honor the traditions that may have been lost or not practiced now.
What is important to remember is that accepting and supporting members in our community who are LGBTQ is living our traditional values of respecting one another, holding each other up, and taking care of one another. It is even more important for teens and twentysomethings who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning that you are not alone and there are people like you all over Alaska and the world. To watch stories to help with bullying, discrimination, not supportive family, and issues that are common in LGBTQ youths lives, check out the It Gets Better Project.