Our Story & History
WE ARE A GROUP OF COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, EDUCATORS, ARTIST, AND MEMBERS OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES WHO ARE TWO SPIRIT & LGBTQPAI INDIVIDUALS
In December of 2017, in what started off as a casual conversation about the lack of visibility and celebration of the Two Spirit identities, two work colleagues, Gabby Leon (Yaqui), and Terri Jay (Navajo & Zuni) discussed the possibility of having a festival that celebrated and honored Native American LBGTQ roles and traditions.
Terri who was very engaged in the Native American community asked her friends and colleagues if they would be interested in having a discussion about the possibility of a small festival celebrating Native American LGBTQ history and traditions. Through the many meetings the newly formed group had, it was agreed upon that LGBTQ Native Americans have had relatively more visibility and celebration in the recent years with the increased visibility of Two Spirit in social, academic, and event professional fields. In addition, the focus of many movements in the past years prior to the meetings have expanded beyond Native North and South America, including many voices of the Pacific Islands, Asia, Australia, Africa, and even into rural communities of Europe. The focus of these movements have been and continued to be about Indigenous culture, history, colonization, decolonization, and indiginizing. It was through a consensus that the Indigenous peoples of the world shared many similarities in terms of colonization, missionization, and the main topic of the loss and marginalization of third, fourth, fifth, and sacred genders in the respective societies. Ultimately, the group agreed that their proposed cultural event would honor, and acknowledge all Indigenous peoples' plight, especially those who are Two Spirit and/or identified with the contemporary labels and terms of cisgender and transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, and intersex. It was then decided that the event would be a pride event unlike no other. The conversation lead to the creation of Indigenous Pride LA.
To unite Indigenous people from across Indigenous communities and
educate, celebrate Two Spirit, Indigiqueer, & LBGTQPAI+ diversity and our allies.
To unite Indigenous people from across Indigenous communities, educate, and celebrate Two Spirit, Indigiqueer, & LGBTQPAI+ diversity and our allies.
Diversity, Unity, Community, Pride
Hopi & P'aéaekilâ Pueblo
Guachichil & Maya Yucateco
Gabriela Leon, Yaqui/Yoeme, born in Sonora Mexico. Identifies as a Two Spirit person. Gabriela has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for over 20 years. Committed to ensuring that the Indigenous voice is not lost and that Indigenous communities from Latin America are always represented and accounted for. Gabriela is currently the Associate Director at APAIT, a division of SSG a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, CA.
Diné (Navajo) & Zuni
Terri Jay, Navajo / Zuni of the Navajo Reservation and residency of Los Angeles. Co-Founding Member of Indigenous Pride LA 2018. 19 years professionally working in Non-Profit environment. Urban Rez Casting member. Newly Co-Chair of DMH’s UsCC-LGBTQI 2 Spirit Subcommittee.
Yá’át’ééh shik’is dóó shik’é dóó shidine’é. Yuè Begay yinishyé. Naakai Dine'é nishłį́. Kinyaa'áanii bááshishchíín. Dibéłzhiní da'shicheii. Tábąąhá da'shinálí. Ákót'éego t'áá diné asdzáán nishłį́. Ákót'éego t'áá nádleehí nishłį́ 'ałdó'. Kinłání Dookʼoʼoosłííd Biyaagidi shiʼdizhchį́. K'ad Indigenous Pride LA biCo-Chair nishłį́. Freelance Graphic Artist dóó Consultant nishłį́ ’ałdó’. Public Healthígíí bá naashnish. California State University State, Long Beachdę́ę́’ niniłtááh. K’ad Tovaangardi kééhasht’į́ ndi Tódí Néesh Zhee’dę́ę́’ naashá. "Hello my friends, family, and my people. My name is Yuè Begay. I am of the Nomadic People Clan, Born for the Towering House Clan. My maternal grandfather is of the Black Sheep Clan and my paternal grandfather is of the Near the Water’s Edge Clan. In this way, I am a Navajo transgender woman. I was born in Flagstaff, AZ. I am a Co-Chair of Indigenous Pride LA. I work as a Freelance Graphic Artist as well as a Consultant. I work in the Public Health field. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach. I currently live in Los Angeles, CA but am originally from Kayenta, AZ (Navajo Nation)."
Hopi & P'aéaekilâ Pueblo
Ezak Amaviska Perez was born and raised in and around Tongva~Los Angeles, CA. They identify as trans and two spirit of center. He is of Hopi & P'aéaekilâ Puebloan people, as well as Latinx. Ezak is the Executive Director of Gender Justice LA (GJLA) - a grassroots social justice organization led by black, indigenous, non-binary, two-spirit, trans people of color in LA. Ezak has been holding circles, organizing, training and facilitating locally in LA as well as nationally for the past 15 years. They have been honored by the Sons & Brothers Portrait Series for Native American heritage month. He is currently helping one of the co-coordinators of Indigenous Pride LA.
Aniyunwiya (Eastern Cherokee) & Nanticoke
Osiyo nagada, Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tsanusdi Hudson Tibbetts is American of British, Eastern Cherokee Band, and Nanticoke descent. The Creator has blessed with health, sustenance, friendships, love, and as I enter elder status, I hope with wisdom as well. As a preteen, I developed the consciousness that I was born what we call today “a gay man”. I have survived a good deal of adversity and thank the Creator for granting me resilience and strength of spirit. In adulthood, my connections with my ancestors grew. I strived to learn as much as possible about our indigenous ways, and was introduced to the Two-Spirit tradition. For myself, there is more serenity and holiness in the traditional indigenous ways, and I feel a greater sense of purpose and connection to the people and the world. Wado Unetlanuhi
Chicana/Mexicana, Chihene, Rarámuri, & Xochipilteca Nahua
Yehuat, i- & Ze, Zir
Professor Gabriel S. Estrada teaches Indigenous, LGBTQ, and Comparative Religion at California State University Long Beach. They are an HIV+ community board member of the Red Circle Project/AIDS Project Los Angeles and secretary/co-Founder of City of Angels Two-Spirit Society (CATSS). Through matrilineage, Dr. Estrada is Chicana/Mexicana, Chihene, and Rarámuri; their patrilineal line is Chicano/Mexicano and Xochipilteca Nahua.
Akimel O'odham (Pima)
Johnathon Paul Talamantes – Akimel O’odham (Pima) enrolled at Gila river Indian Reservation in Arizona. I identify as a Two Spirit person. More specifically I identify as WIkovat, the traditional term for a Two Spirit person in O’odham culture. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Blessed to be close enough to my traditional homeland to be able to experience life on the reservation and as an Urban Indian. I have always been very active in the local Native community. Started going to the American Indian clubhouse as a youth and also went to Central High school both at United American Indian Involvement. Started attending The Red Circle Projects Two Spirit support groups when I was 18 years old. That’s where I met my mentor Elton Naswood. It is also where I first learned what the term Two Spirit meant. The support I received from The Red Circle helped me discover more about my identity as a Two Spirit Person and led me to initiate some positive behavioral changes in my life. I came on full time at The Red Circe Project in November 2017 as an outreach worker. It has been my greatest pleasure to work in, with, and for my community. In June 2018 I had a traditional coming out ceremony at The Red Circle Projects Pow Wow. This would have been done by the Wikovat person around the time of puberty. I was blessed to have an elder approach me about doing the ceremony. They wanted to show the community that this is something that’s always been done. Two Spirit people have always been here and there is even ceremony for us.