In The Beginning
In our culture, before the Europeans came to North America, “2-Spirit” referred to an ancient teaching. Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because
they carried two spirits: those of male and female. It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third gender in many cases and in nearly all of our cultures they were honored and revered.
2-Spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers and the medicine people, respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies. This is our guiding force as well as our source of strength. This is the heart of 2-Spirited People of the First Nations.
At our 1992 Annual General Meeting, we adopted the name “2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations” to honor our ancestral past and reclaim our Aboriginal identity. As our 2-Spirited community is unique, so are our issues and our organization. We are members of a group of people whose way of life has been drastically altered by historical circumstance.
Since European colonization, the existence of the Two Spirit community has been systematically denied and culturally alienated from the Aboriginal identity. 2-Spirit members bear witness to this activity in the form of racism, sexism and homophobia in the courts, the streets, the education system, and the media and in other lesbian and gay organizations within the dominant Canadian society.
By 2020, we see a strong, healthy and independent 2-Spirit community in Toronto where HIV infections are rare and 2-Spirit people live with pride in their indigenous heritage.
We provide prevention education and support for 2-Spirit, including First Nations, metis and Inuit people living with or at risk for HIV and related co-infections in the Greater Toronto Area. We base our work on indigenous philosophies of wholistic health and wellness.