December 7, 2019

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Supports needed for 2SLGBTQQIA

Indigenous community particularly vulnerable, report says

DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p><p>A paper bag used to collect the tears of those testifying, to then be burned in a sacred fire, is seen at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday April 8, 2018.</p>

DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

A paper bag used to collect the tears of those testifying, to then be burned in a sacred fire, is seen at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday April 8, 2018.

On the eve of today’s 2019 Pride Parade in Winnipeg, it was revealed that the long-awaited report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls includes calls to action for support, protection and healing for Indigenous people who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA.

An early copy of the report that was obtained by the Winnipeg Free Press included some experiences and recommendations of people identifying in the 2SLGBTQQIA initialism, which stands for people who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and/or gender diverse or non-binary.

The full report, which has more than 1,200 pages and more than 230 recommendations, is to be released Monday but was leaked on Friday. It is the result of a national inquiry which had a $92-million budget.

The inquiry began in September 2016 with a two-year mandate the Liberals prolonged by six months, over the commissioners’ calls to double its timeline. The report’s release ends a process that was marred by bureaucratic ineptitude, numerous resignations and claims of inadequate focus on Manitoba.

The findings in the chapter focused on experiences and danger in the lives of 2SLGBTQQIA individuals stated they have been "impacted by colonial violence in ways that are both similar to, and distinct from, cis-gender women and girls." That’s because Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people face violence related to racism but also to homophobia and transphobia and these barriers need to be removed when they try to find help.

Cis-gender refers to a person whose identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

"While Indigenous women experience more frequent and more severe physical and sexual violence than non-Indigenous women, Two-Spirit women are often additionally targeted because of gender identity and/or sexual orientation, creating what one researcher describes as "triple jeopardy" for various forms of interpersonal and institutional violence," the report read.

It cites a recent study of transgender people living in Manitoba which found that "transgender and gender-nonconforming people are more likely to experience violence in everyday situations such as accessing public washrooms, change rooms, transportation or filling out forms that require one to identify one’s sex/gender."

One of the report’s findings was "individual acts of bravery" by members of Indigenous communities who accept Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people are laying the groundwork for creating change to protect and include them.

Winnipeg’s 2019 Pride Festival’s 3rd Annual Two Spirit Pow Wow on Saturday reflected the report’s finding that "evidence of some of the positive changes that have come about can be found in growing acceptance of Two-Spirit people in traditional ceremonies, such as powwows and Sun Dances, where they were, in the past, excluded."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 11:34 PM CDT: Edited

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