About one hundred people turned out this weekend for an event aimed at fostering understanding within Native communities toward the LGBT community.
Se-Ah-Dom Edmo has family ties with the Shoshonee-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Yakima tribes.
She knew there was some interest in the metro-area’s native community to talk about gender and identity issues — sometimes referred to in the tribal community as the “two-spirited.”
“It really came from youth and elders in our own community,” Edmo says. “They had — separately — really identified critical needs for ‘Two Spirit Youth’ in our communities who were having challenges finding services and feeling welcomed,” she said.
But she didn’t expect the capacity crowd that filled conference rooms at a Native community center in East Portland. Conversation groups discussed everything from personal pronouns for trans people to placing historical traditions in a modern context.
dmo says people we now think of as gay, lesbian, or transgendered held various governmental and spiritual roles in traditional tribal communities and that many tribal communities have modernized their laws with inclusive same-sex marriage language or other policies.