In examining the ways in which colonialism has shaped many Indigenous communities, we often see various harmful European concepts being adopted by community members. Some examples of such are the ideas of homophobia and transphobia. In engaging youth from across Turtle Island, I think this is a very important topic to discuss during this week, as 2-Spirit, Queer Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ youth are all the more likely to experience bullying in their lifetime and develop subsequent mental unwellness as a result of it.
Opening the conversation on what queerness means to each individual can allow others to understand how unique the experience of gender and sexuality is. There is no norm and acting like there is can be harmful for youth figuring out who they are.
Queerness for me is the idea that not everyone fits into the perceived societal norm of heteronormativity, or cisgenders. By using this term, I am paying homage to those before me who at any point in their lives, experienced oppression based on their gender identity or sexual preference. Queerness is a reclaimed term, meaning it was once used to hurt others, but is now being used by those who were hurt to heal their community. It’s a liberating term, that doesn’t demand for people to call themselves this, or label themselves as that.
Queerness for me from an Indigenous perspective, means a person walks between both worlds of tradition and modernity. We honour the past and remain conscious of the idea that Indigenous culture is alive, thriving and constantly adapting to the steady flow of tomorrow.
I am Queer, I am Indigenous, and I make my own mold in society.
By William Fayant
Tansi! My name is William Fayant. I am of nêhiyaw-Michif origin from Treaty 4 Territory. While I currently live in Regina, SK, I am a proud member of both the Peepeekisis Cree Nation, and the Lebret Métis community. I identify as Queer Indigenous, and use masculine pronouns (he/him). I have recently begun to seek answers on what it is to be wetikoken (a contrary), and how their gifts contribute to their people. My search has found me connecting to many knowledge keepers in my community, and for that, I’m thankful. hiy hiy