Articles

A Love Note to All My Queer Relations (on Mental Health)

As Indigenous people, we have a rich history of queerness. Indigenous people who are queer, trans, gender nonconforming, gay, lesbian, non-binary, and fluid have always existed. And our queer Indigenous ancestors were loved, valued, and respected members of their communities.  

We honor our queer Indigenous ancestors every day by being who we are and taking care of ourselves to the best of our abilities.  

Some ideas to help us support our mental health as queer Indigenous people include:

  1. Connecting with Our Queer Ancestors

For a long time, colonists have attempted to bury queer Indigenous history by ignoring our ancestors’ diverse identities and trying to make them ‘fit’ into the gender binary (the idea that a person can only be male or female). However, many Indigenous societies didn’t think about gender as binary. Instead, they viewed gender and sexuality as a spectrum full of possibilities and choices. 

Learning about queer Indigenous history that has been suppressed by colonialism can help us in so many ways. It can bring us closer to our ancestors, help us imagine new ways to exist and move in the world, make us more comfortable and confident in our identities, and allow us to create a deeper connection between our gender, sexuality, and culture. Plus, having examples of our queer Indigenous ancestors can be affirming to us as we explore our identity and care for ourselves. Some good places to start your journey into queer Indigenous history are the University of British Columbia’s Indigenous & 2-Spirit resource page and the Two-Spirit Archives.

  1. Building Community

It’s important that, like our queer ancestors, we feel appreciated and cherished by those around us. Having people that we can rely on to keep us feeling safe and cared for can have a big impact on our mental health and wellbeing.  

Some people might not need to look far to find support and understanding. For many of us, it can take longer to find and connect with people who we want to be in community with. I’ve realized that a good way to connect with queer kin is to look for inclusive, diverse events. 2SLGBTQ+ community centers in your city or school can provide resources, host events, and hold space for queer people. There are also virtual options, such as book clubs, talking circles, and communal spaces that are made by and for queer people to access online. Try using the CenterLink LGBT Community Center Directory to locate 2SLGBTQ+ community centers near you.  

  1. Cultivating Self-Love Practices

Support, intimacy, and care (in all its forms) starts with the relationship you have with yourself. This means that it is crucial to develop self-love practices that strengthen the relationship you have with yourself. For me, this looks like giving myself time to be creative through writing and scrapbooking, allowing myself to rest without guilt or expectations, attending virtual therapy sessions with an awesome Indigenous therapist, and using self-affirmations. Some of the self-affirmations that I use include:

  • I treat myself with the tenderness and compassion I deserve, especially when I’m not feeling great mentally or physically.  
  • I am strong enough to ask for help from my loved ones and community when I need it.  
  • I am not ashamed of my boundaries. They are there to protect me, and I do my best to respect and honor them.

For more ideas on how you can incorporate self-love practices into your life, check out this article published by them, this primer on the significance of self-love, and this video on building self-compassion.

Resources to Know About 

It’s important to know that there are resources available to support your mental health that are tailored to the queer community. A few include:

  • The Trevor Project – A crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people under the age of 25, available 24/7 via phone, text, or chat. 
  • Trans Lifeline – Ran by and for trans people, they provide trans peer support, valuable resources, and are divested from the police.  
  • WVU’s List of Resources for Queer & Trans BIPOC – Documents 20 important resources specifically for BIPOC queer and trans folks.  
  • The Paths Remembered Project – Centers the Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ community –its strengths, resiliencies, and histories— in our movement toward health equity. 
  • The Native Youth Sexual Health Network – An organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. 

 Author: Gillian Joseph (they/them) is a queer 2-Spirit Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ and Mdewakaŋtoŋ Dakota storyteller who grew up as a guest on Waxhaw and Catawba lands. Alongside writing, they work in the mental health field with a focus on Indigenous health sovereignty.  

Published: Aug. 4th, 2023

Reclaiming Food Sovereignty

For centuries, Indigenous communities have been disconnected from their traditional food sources...

Navigating College as a Young Native Man

Navigating college as a Native man poses unique challenges and opportunities. For...

Seven Generations

Young American Indian men, especially in the Northern Plains, face a greater...

Colonial Languages Do Not Define My Identity

As a queer, 2-Spirit Indigenous person, I have definitely struggled with my...

Advocating for Yourself at the Doctor’s Office

Doctor’s offices, clinics, and other medical spaces can cause anxiety, fear, and...

Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Male)

Setting Boundaries with Social Media

Today’s generation is pressured to be what society deems “perfect.” Although you...

Preparing to Attend a Predominantly White University

Getting accepted into college is an impressive achievement and important milestone. However,...

Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Female)

How to Prioritize Your Schoolwork

Whether you are in high school, college, or graduate school, time management...

National Loving Day

National Loving Day celebrates interracial marriage and the precedence set for same...

Does Breast Size Really Matter?

How to Get a Job in High School

Do you need to find a job? Are you unsure of where...

How to Accept Change

Sometimes, change can be sudden and difficult to cope with. Other times,...

I Strengthen My Nation: Sierra

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with We R...

How to Date Yourself

Dating can be hard, especially if you don’t know what you are...

How to Request Accommodations at School

Accommodations are adjustments that help support people with disabilities. There are many...

I Strengthen My Nation: Caitlin

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with We R...

How to Practice Mindfulness

Life is busy From school to sports to work, it often feels...

How to Deal with a Breakup

There is not one way to magically get over a breakup completely...

Sexual Orientation: A Spectrum Of Attraction

Your College Survival Guide

Ahh, college! It’s an exciting time for self-exploration, meeting new people, and...

How to Succeed in Your Career

Career success is important because your career impacts many aspects of your...

Sex Assigned at Birth and Gender Identity: What Is The Difference?

Indigenous Coming of Age Movies and Shows You NEED to Watch

Coming-of-age movies and shows can help us better understand and navigate the...

18 Things You Should Know How to Do Before You Turn 18

Turning 18 is an important event, marking our transition into adulthood. However,...

Sexual Orientations Explained: Lesbian, Gay, Heterosexual and Bisexual

Self-Advocacy Tips for Youth with Disabilities

Self-advocacy, or speaking up for yourself and your needs, can make your...

Does Size Really Matter?

As a teenager, we’re all consumed with similar worries. From wanting to...

Becoming Jane Doe

Alara, an Athabaskan and Tlingit transwoman, found her gender identity through drag....

Preparing for Your Driver’s Test

Getting your driver’s license is an exciting and life-changing experience! There is...

How to Help a Friend Who Drank Too Much

Being around a friend who drank too much can be scary, especially...

There’s Heart Here

Roller derby champion. Activist. Cyclist. Follow three indigenous members of the Two...

How to Face Your Bully When You Go Back to School

Going back to school after a break, whether summer or Christmas, can...

Establishing Healthy Boundaries with Family

Family relationships can be beautiful but tricky to navigate at times. Learning...

Saying Yes or No: What Is Consent?

Ways to Help a Friend Who is Being Bullied

Bullying is never fun or funny, especially when it’s happening to a...

Stocking Your Pantry: A Guide to Pantry Necessities

Whether you’re new to cooking or just moved into your own place,...

Consent And Communication

Financial Aid – Getting Money for College

Going to college can be expensive, but financial aid and scholarships can...

What Does Disability Really Mean?

How Do You Define Disability? “Disability” can mean different things to different...

Consent Explained: What Is It?

Heads Up: Sex Must Start with Consent

The idea of having sex can be both exciting and nerve-wracking! You...

How to Swap in Healthier Foods for Junk Food

With our busy schedules, from school to sports to work, it can...

Top Signs Boys are in Puberty

How to Access Free or Low-Cost Birth Control

When it comes to birth control, there are many different options available...

My Abortion Story

Acknowledgment: We R Native would like to thank the author for sharing...

Top Signs Girls are in Puberty

Tips for Teens with Diabetes

Diabetes can happen to anyone at any age.   Type 1 diabetes (T1D)...

How to Stay Safe from COVID-19

Going to school in person can be super fun. You get to...

Taking Care of Your Body During Puberty

How to Protect Yourself from the Flu

The fall season is an exciting time! There are fun activities to...

What is Roe v. Wade?

You might have heard about Roe v. Wade being “overturned.” This article...

Puberty: What Is Doctor Confidentiality?

How To Prepare for Your First Date

First dates can be both exciting and nerve-racking, whether it’s your first...

HPV Vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections...

Accessing Sexual Health Care for Minors

Real Talk About Sexual Pleasure

Sexual pleasure comes from understanding how your body works and what feels...

Thinking About Having Sex

It’s important that you think through your decision to have sex with...

Bodies: Different Shapes and Sizes. All Beautiful!

Wait what?! That’s what you do with lube?

A little-known fact is that lube can be a real game-changer when...

Sex 101

People define “sex” in different ways. The dictionary defines it as “sexually...

Does Penis Size Really Matter?

Oral Sex

Oral sex is using one’s mouth to stimulate a partner’s genitals. Just...

Protecting Yourself During Oral Sex

It is possible to get HIV and other STDs during oral sex...

Menstruation: What To Expect

Protecting Yourself During Anal Sex

Anal sex involves inserting one partner’۪s penis into another partner’۪s anus. It...

Protecting Yourself During Vaginal Sex

Vaginal sex happens when a partner’s penis is inserted into another partner’s...

Period Hygiene: Tampons, Pads and Menstrual Cups

Withdrawal – Pulling Out

Withdrawal is when the man pulls his penis out of the vagina...

The Real Story about Dental Dams

Giving and receiving oral sex can be fun and feel good. But...

How the Boner Grows

Internal Condom Instructions

***Remember to always check the expiration date and package of any condom...

How to Use an External (Male) Condom

If you choose to have sex, condoms can protect you and your...

All About Getting Your Period

Top 10 Sex Myths

MYTH #10: If I use birth control, I don’t need to worry...

I Don’t Have Health Insurance – Now What?

There are plenty of reasons why you might not have health insurance....

Masturbation: Totally Normal

Take Notes: How to Not Misgender Your New Friend Crush

Understanding Pronouns & Misgendering Misgendering is when you refer to someone using...

Tips for Saving

So, you’re thinking about getting that car you’ve been eyeing, or you...

Puberty and Finding Out Who You Are

How to Stay Safe When Traveling

Whether you’re going somewhere a couple of hours away or outside the...

History of the Sterilization of Native Women

It is no secret that the federal government has tried for centuries...

The Plants of Your Place

How to Use Ride Sharing Services Safely

Rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, are good options when walking or...

Getting a Career in STEM

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM) are incredibly...

Culture is Prevention

Condom Shopping Guide

Get the facts!

How to Stay Connected with Old Friends

A major part of growing up is experiencing new things in life....

Culture is Prevention – Sarah

Opening a Bank Account

Are you starting your first job? Going to college soon? Or just...

Safer Chest Compression Brands

New to chest binding or been doing it for years? The retailers...

BRAVE: Episode 7

Chest Binding 101

Chest binding is a way to create a flatter chest using undergarments...

Healthy Habits for Chest Bindings

Whether you’re new to chest binding or have been doing it for...

BRAVE: Episode 6

Establishing Healthy Boundaries with Your Significant Other

Whether you’re at the start of a new relationship or in the...

Why Medical Racism = Genocide

Racism is real. It influences all aspects of our lives, including whose...

BRAVE: Episode 5

What I Love About My Indigenous Features

As an Indigenous adult, I want to do everything I can to...

How to Study Effectively

When you think of studying, you might feel a sense of dread....

Brave: Episode 4

Best Studying Hacks

For many of us studying is on the top of our to-do...

Being a Strong Indigenous Leader

Indigenous leadership is a hot topic these days. The truth is that...

BRAVE: Episode 3

Our Stories Connect Us to Place and People

Indigenous people have always been some of the best storytellers, and recently...

6 Anthems by Queer and Two-Spirit Indigenous Artists to Pump You Up

Music is powerful medicine – especially when it’s coming from people who...

BRAVE: Episode 2

Humor is Sexy (Sometimes)

There are many qualities that can make someone sexy or attractive. Physical...

Real Talk About Getting What You Need From Your Boo

In a healthy relationship, we should be appreciated, listened to, and have...

BRAVE: Episode 1

Level Up Your Self-Love Game

We’ve all heard the phrase “love yourself.” But, what does loving yourself...

Environmental Change and Our Mental Health

As Indigenous people, we know that connecting to our land is connecting...

Sunhawk / Managing Stress

When and How to Quit a Job

If you have a job, you’ve probably dreaded going in at least...

Types of Abortion

Abortion is a safe and effective medical procedure that ends a pregnancy.  ...

Olivia / Keeping It All Inside

Tips for Forming Deeper Relationships

Relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic, impact our daily lives.  This...

What I Love About My Body

When I was a teenager there was little to no information about...

Nadira / Reaching Out for Help at College

Who is Deer Woman from Reservation Dogs?

In “Come and Get Your Love” (Season 1, Episode 5) of the...

Staying Balanced in College

Keeping a healthy balance between life, school, and work is what everyone...

Maiya / Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

Talking to Your Partner About Protection

The thought of talking to a partner about sex makes a lot...

Abstinence

Abstinence means not having sex (that means NO vaginal, oral, or anal...

Kennedy / Seeing Kindness

Condoms 101

If you are having sex, condoms are the only method that provides...

Emergency Contraception: The Morning After Pill

Emergency contraception is a special type of oral contraceptive that can be...

Kaytlynn / Combatting Stressors

Dual Method

Many people, who have vagina-penis sex, use dual protection. Dual protection means:...

The Shot – Depo

The Shot, or Depo- Provera®, contains a large dose of a progestin...

Jowun / Self-Care For Me

Pill, Patch or Ring

What is it and how does it work to prevent pregnancy? Hormones...

Sponge

The Sponge is a soft plastic (polyurethane) sponge that is worn in...

Isis / School Stressors

Fertility Awareness: Rhythm Method

How does it work to prevent pregnancy? A woman identifies the days...

Sterilization

For women sterilization includes a surgical procedure that permanently blocks her fallopian...

Aurora / Connection

6 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Applying to scholarships for college, graduate school, or even summer programs can...

How Dancing can Teach you to Love your Body

When it comes to our bodies, dancing can provide confidence and a...

Ashley / Self-Care Looks Different For Everyone

Using Culture to Cope with COVID

COVID has brought more than just physical illness to our communities. It’s...

Weird (but normal) Body Facts

Our bodies are amazing and house many secrets! Are you curious to...

#Indigilove Recap Video

6 Questions to Help You Find the Right Birth Control for You

Are you curious about what birth control options are out there? Here...

How to Navigate Health Insurance

Medical visits and procedures, like x-rays, can be expensive. That is why...

Siletz DVPI PSA

PSA This Relationship Advice is Actually Genius

Relationships – whether they are with our family members, friends, or significant...

How to Stay Safe on Social Media

Like many things in life, social media can be used for good...

MMIWG (Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls)

How do I get in touch with my rez?

see answer

Find Us

Follow Us

Enter Phone Number to Subscribe:

Msg & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to opt out. No purchase necessary.
Expect 4 msgs/mo.Terms and Conditions

Menu