Two-Spirit Pride abundant at San Francisco and Twin Cities pride parades

Two-Spirit Pride abundant at San Francisco and Twin Cities pride parades

Two-Spirit Pride was abundant at the San Francisco and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) pride parades. This year the San Francisco Parade Grand Marshal was Randy Burns (Paiute), 1975 co-founder of Gay American Indians in San Francisco, and the Twin Cities Parade marshal was Richard Lafortune (Yupik), a long-time GLBT and Two-Spirit organizer who currently serves as Chair of the Development Committee to the Tretter GLBT Collection of the University of Minnesota Archives and is a chair for the MN Dakota Ojibwe Language Revitalization Alliance. Below are two stories; one on Randy from the San Francisco Chronicle and the other on Richard from the Star Tribune.

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BAY AREA Celebration, setbacks for gay indigenous people They’ll mark parade grand marshal, loss on marriage front

WEBMASTER’S NOTE: NativeOUT Mentioned in this article

Gay and lesbian Native people from throughout the Western Hemisphere are gathering in the Bay Area for an international conference next week, just as the San Francisco Pride celebration elevates a Native American to parade grand marshal.

{mosimage}But even as they celebrate, these American Indians are grappling with major disappointment from the passage of anti-same-sex marriage laws by the Navajo and Cherokee nations, the two largest tribes in the United States.

As in the United States and other countries around the world, same-sex marriage is dividing North America’s native nations. The split in Indian country has pitted “traditional” Indians — those who practice the spiritual and cultural customs of their ancestors — against tribal members who practice conservative Christianity, scholars and tribal members said.

“The two-spirit community is feeling hostility both externally and internally,” said Richard LaFortune, a national Native American gay activist who founded the conference scheduled to take place in Sonoma County next week. “Two-spirit” is the phrase used by many Native Americans to express their sexuality in terms of their tribal history.

LaFortune is grand marshal of the pride parade in Minneapolis this weekend, while Randy Burns — a Bay Area Native American activist who founded the first organization in the country for gay American Indians in 1975 — takes a seat as grand marshal in the San Francisco parade. Read more….

Periodicals Research Info (if link expires):
Article title: Celebration, setbacks for gay indigenous people
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, June 25, 2005
By: Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

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Two Spirit people emerging as tales are told

Jingling bells on traditional regalia announced the American Indian contingent at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade in 1986. Among them was a young Alaskan Eskimo named Anguksuar, or “Little Man.” He wore holes in his moccasins dancing on the hot asphalt.

As a teenager in the 1970s, he was a conscientious objector. He lived near Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania during its nuclear scare in 1979. He heard former Miss America Anita Bryant’s attacks on gays and lesbians and came of age during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

Anguksuar, also known as Richard LaFortune, was destined to dance down many new roads to make change.

Today, he writes poetry, public policy statements and articles for the gay and native press. He is active in AIDS education as well as native language preservation. He creates traditional crafts out of wood, leather, copper, beads and quills. He’s also a classical pianist with a passion for Haydn and Mozart.

On Sunday, the longtime social activist comes full circle, serving as grand marshal of the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Parade.

NOTE: Online article link expired.

Periodicals Research Info (if link expires):
Article title: Two Spirit people emerging as tales are told
Source: Star Tribune (published possibly on July 7, 2005)