CITY OF ANGELS
"The Indigenous peoples that first inhabited North America (Turtle Island) had complex cultures that were interwoven with nature. This included the recognition and acceptance of multiple gender identities. A Two-Spirit person was considered to be embodied with both male and female spirits and was gifted with many skills and abilities of both sexes. The Two-Spirit tribal member was identified with an honorable term in the tribe’s language. As such, the Two-Spirit person was often a medicine person, healer, custodian of the language and culture of the tribe, a counselor, a conflict strategist, an educator, teacher, and a parent to orphans and caregiver to elders. The respected Two-Spirit tradition was eradicated with the origination of European colonization and the imposition of the Binary Model. In 1990, queer Indigenous people created the term “Two-Spirit” as a broad replacement for the many traditional terms that were abandoned."
- Hudson Tibbetts, Eastern Cherokee Band, and Lenape-Nanticoke | Co-Chair
The City of Angels Two-Spirit Society began formed in late 2012 by a diverse group of Native American LGBTQ peoples in the Los Angeles Basin on Tongva territory. While the Red Circle Project of AIDS Project Los Angeles provided exclusively Indigenous gay male and trans feminine social and educational spaces, the community voiced a need for a CATSS space inclusive of Indigenous lesbian and bisexual women and the diverse families of CATSS members. The first 2013 meetings took place at United American Indian Involvement in Westlake west of downtown LA. The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach also hosted subsequent meetings. Over the years, members partnered in educational projects involving Two-Spirit and LGBTQ education, HIV prevention, pow wows, media, medical services, writing circles, and counseling. CATSS members have been proud to serve on the Indigenous Pride LA executive committee since its inception in 2018.
To learn more about Two Spirit, please visit Indigenous Pride LA's "Education" page.
The overreaching goal of CATSS and other Two-Spirit Societies is to develop safe spaces and a return to the traditional circle for all persons that identify as Two-Spirit.
CATSS is providing support to the City of Angels American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nation, Indigenous, Two Spirit community and engender awareness of our traditional sacred role to the community of greater Los Angeles.
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.