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Violent Victimization and HIV Among the Native LBGT/Two Spirit Community. Presented By : Elton Naswood, Project Coordinator Red Circle Project, AIDS Project Los Angeles 10 th National Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime Palm Springs, CA ~ December 8, 2006.

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Violent victimization and hiv among the native lbgt two spirit community

Violent Victimization and HIVAmong the NativeLBGT/Two Spirit Community

Presented By:

Elton Naswood, Project Coordinator

Red Circle Project, AIDS Project Los Angeles

10th National Indian Nations Conference:

Justice for Victims of Crime

Palm Springs, CA ~ December 8, 2006

Violent victimization and hiv among the native lbgt two spirit community1
Violent Victimization and HIV Among theNative LBGT/Two Spirit Community

  • Curriculum developed and written by Elton Naswood and Sandi Pierce.

  • Originally presented at the American Indian/Alaska Native Victim Assistance Academy Pilot Training in August 2005 at the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet, MN.

  • Funded by grant to Tribal Law and Policy Institute by the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), US Department of Justice.

  • Also, presented at Native Peoples of North America HIV/AIDS Conference in May 2006 in Anchorage, AK and received national media attention on Victimization issues.

Two spirit definition

Two Spirit term refers to Native American/Alaskan Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) individuals

Came from the Anishinabe language.

It means having both female and male spirits within one person.

Has a different meaning in different communities.

Two Spirit – Definition

History of two spirits

Encompassing term used is “Two Spirit” adopted in 1990 at the 3rd International Native Gay & Lesbian Gathering in Winnipeg, Canada.

The term is used in rural and urban communities to describe the re-claiming of their traditional identity and roles.

The term refer to culturally prescribed spiritual and social roles; however, the term is not applicable to all tribes.

History of Two Spirits

Spirituality and culture
Spirituality and Culture at the 3

  • “Alternative gender roles were respected and honored and believed to part of the sacred web of life and society.”

  • Lakota view: Wintkes are sacred people whose androgynous nature is an inborn character trait or the result of a vision.

    • Example: Lakota Naming Ceremony

  • For many tribes, myths revealed that two-spirit were decreed to exist by deities or were among the panethon of gods.”

    • Example: Navajo Creation Story – The Separation of Sexes

  • LGBT/Two Spirit Umbrella at the 3






    A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction is to other women.

    A term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs form the sex they were assigned at birth.

    An individual who is physically, romantically, emotionally and/or spiritually attracted to men and women

    A man whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction is to other men

    A contemporary term used to identify Native American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender individuals with traditional and cultural understandings of gender roles and identity.

    Fred martinez jr

    She was a 16-year-old Navajo Transgender. at the 3

    Her friends adored her.

    “Had he been born a woman,” one teacher said, “he’d have been the most popular girl in town.”

    The 19-year-old killer assaulted Martinez and crushed her skull with a rock, sliced open her abdomen, and left her to die by the side of the road.

    Fred Martinez, Jr.

    Fred martinez jr1
    Fred Martinez, Jr. at the 3

    • Later, the killer bragged to friends, “I bug-smashed a hoto.” Hoto is Spanish slang for “faggot”.

    • Fred’s mother learned the details of her son’s autopsy not from the district attorney’s office, but from the newspaper.

    • She filed a formal Request of Enforcement of Compliance, saying her rights as a crime victim to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity, and to be informed and present for all critical stages of the criminal justice process, had been violated

    Federal bureau investigations fbi statistics 1998 most recent
    Federal Bureau Investigations (FBI) at the 3Statistics(1998, most recent)

    • Of all hate crimes reported for 1998, 16.2% were motivated by sexual orientation bias

    • Of those, 67% were specifically against gay men and 18% were against lesbians

    • The remaining 15% were motivated by more than one bias (such as both race and sexual orientation)

    Hate speech
    Hate Speech at the 3

    • Verbal harassment—unwanted, intrusive words or gestures designed to put the person down or make them feel unsafe

    • Includes name-calling, hang-up phone calls, anonymous notes or mail, and physical gestures

    • Can be a warning sign of impending violence

    • Considered a “bias-motivated incident” not a hate crime but still a threat—should be reported to police anyway, and should be defined as such on the report

    Screening for hate crimes
    Screening for Hate Crimes at the 3

    • If the victim describes her/himself as Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or says they are questioning their sexuality, be sure to ask if the person said anything about their sexual orientation during the assault.

    • If the assault appears to be motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias, report it as a hate crime

    Domestic violence against two spirits
    Domestic Violence Against at the 3Two-Spirits

    • It is estimated that 15-20% of gay male relationships involve domestic violence

    • Several studies of lesbian relationships have found that 40-50% involve violence

    • A survey of transgender and intersex individuals found that 50% had been raped or assaulted by their partners

    Myths about two spirit domestic violence
    Myths about Two-Spirit at the 3Domestic Violence

    • Abusers are usually bigger, stronger, or more “butch” than their partners

    • LGTBQ victims can easily leave abusive partners because they have no legal ties to them

    • Transgender people wouldn’t get hurt if they didn’t dress or try to act like something they’re not

    Unique types of abuse
    Unique Types of Abuse at the 3

    • Threatening to “out” the victim

    • Reinforcing victim’s fears that no one will help her/him because of sexual orientation

    • Justifying abuse by claiming that the victim is not a “real” Two-Spirit person because s(he) previously had an opposite-sex relationship

    • Claiming that the violence is consensual, especially if the victim defends her/himself

    Threats of hiv aids
    Threats of HIV/AIDS at the 3

    • If the abused partner has HIV/AIDS, the abuser may threaten to tell others – disclosure.

    • The HIV-positive partner will suggest abuse if the relationship ends.

    • The abuser may withhold, dispose, or hid partner’s HIV medication and other needs.

    • The abuser may take advantage of the HIV-positive partner’s economic affairs.

    • Physical violence is potent as HIV-positive victims can not defend themselves or may fear complications from bruising, infections or slow healing may result.

    • An HIV-positive abuse may threaten to infect a partner.

    Legal protections
    Legal Protections at the 3

    • A search of Tribal Codes found none addressing hate crimes

    • There are no federal protections for hate crimes based on sexual orientation

    • State law may be the best protection, in communities where the state has jurisdiction

    • Currently, Navajo LBGT have organized a group “Dine Rainbow Coalition” to strategize on Tribal Hate Crime legislation.

    Remember poem
    Remember Poem at the 3

    Remember…We are here to listen,Not to work miracles.We are here to help “victims” discover What they are feelingNot to make the feelings go away.We are here to help “victims” identify their options.Not to decide for them what they should do.We are here to discuss steps with them.Not to take steps for them.We are here to help victims discover they can help themselvesNot to rescue them leaving them still vulnerable. ----Anonymous

    May the Creator Always Guide and Protect You as You Walk In Beauty . . .

    Ahe’hee (Thank you)

    The Red Circle Project

    AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA)

    3550 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. # 300

    Los Angeles, CA 90010

    Telephone: 213-201-1311

    Email: [email protected]