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Truth and Reconciliation Commission to collect statements from Two Spirits at historic GLBT gathering

September 2, 2010

From Native Youth Sexual Health Network & NativeOUT:

PRESS RELEASE

Truth and Reconciliation Commission to collect statements from Two Spirits at historic GLBT gathering

Winnipeg, MB – Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. and the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba (TSPM) have partnered to host the 22nd Annual International Two Spirit Gathering (Sep 3-6) at a retreat centre near Winnipeg. Approximately 100 Aboriginal/Native American gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from across Canada and the US will gather in early September to participate in an alcohol and chemical free event which is focused on healing, ceremony, cultural revitalization and social strengthening.

In North America, Two Spirit people continue to be marginalized because of homophobia, transphobia, poverty and racism. A recent Two Spirit study by the University of Manitoba reported forced mobility from rural communities; and a need for community activities and events that are not alcohol or bar-based, that include cultural components and are respectful of sex and gender diversity. The Assembly of First Nations in its recommendation below advocates for increased understanding and protection for GLBT community members.

Recognize the role of Two Spirit (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) First Nations’ peoples. The solution [to discrimination] is to educate people on the traditionally respected role that Two-Spirit First Nations’ peoples played in most communities, and to thus remove the stigma that has been associated with this group.

- AFN HIV/AIDS Action Plan (2001)

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission will also be on hand to collect statements about the impact of the Indian Residential Schools. Little is known about the experiences of GLBT people in the IRS system. The four-day agenda will include cultural activities, health and wellness sessions, leadership building, anti-homophobia and human rights training, and networking opportunities. A youth stream will be facilitated by Jessica Yee, Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. A press conference will be held 11:00 am on Wed., August 25, 2010 at Ka Ni Kanichihk, 455 McDermot, Winnipeg.

LIVE BLOG DURING THE EVENT!

Native Youth Sexual Health Network will be hosting a live blog again during the 22nd International Two Spirit Gathering taking place in Beausejour, Manitoba on one of our partner’s site the LGBT Youthline.

Our youth delegation will be sharing their thoughts, hopes, dreams, experiences, frustrations, and more here:
http://www.youthline.ca/blog/?p=539

Be sure to check back all weekend and especially next week when everything goes up on our blog!

-30-

Media Contacts:
Albert McLeod, Co-Director, TSPM
H: 204-783-6424 C: 204-330-8671
E-mail: twospiritedmanitoba@hotmail.com
Website: http://nativeout.com/itsg/

Jessica Yee
Executive Director, The Native Youth Sexual Health Network
Chair, National Aboriginal Youth Council, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
E-mail: jessica.j.yee@gmail.com
E-mail: jyee@nativeyouthsexualhealth.com
Website: www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com

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