Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing

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There is very little Indigenous anthropological material regarding the historical place of LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy Indigenous Australians.

 Black Rainbow


There is very little Indigenous anthropological material regarding the historical place of LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy Indigenous Australians. What has been accessible is predominately framed within sexual health or to be specific a HIV/AIDS context; not our histories or roles and functions. Black Rainbows aims to make visible Indigenous LGBQTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy peoples.

Here in Australia there is limited information/resources/stories accessible of Brotherboys in Men’s Health. There is also limited information in the general space of positive social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

The representation of other colonised nations’ multiple sexualities and genders has a place informing the discussion regarding Indigenous Australian LGBTI Sistergirls and Brotherboys. On the Black Rainbow facebook page, what is shared is what is available. Some reports are out of print and have had to be sourced from overseas (Did you meet any Malagas by Dr Dino Hodge was purchased from Amazon) or hunted down through archives (Malaga to Malaga by Gary Lee which was purchased as scanned PDF copies from a Canberra library).

I have been heartened by discovering The Postgrad Sista: A Blog about Indigenous Gender Diversity and become good friends with the author. In the Guest section of Indigenous Consultancy you will find a couple of blogs by The Postgrad Sista.

Cultural considerations that prohibit certain things being shared and conversations and sharing does also happen away from non-Indigenous spaces.

Black Rainbow is run from Broome, WA.

Please feel free to share anything you come across and you can either message directly on here or email

Black Rainbow is part of a larger network and conversation and its primary function is about visibility and keeping the conversation going. In under three months it has managed to do just that. Last week Black Rainbow was the front page of the most circulated gay and read gay street press, the Star Observer.

Check it out here :

Black Rainbow exists primary as a resource of information sharing, conversation and visibility. It will no doubt grow as it too is organic and it is hoped that it will grow beautifully.

It is not the voice of Indigenous Australian LGBTI Sistergirls and Brotherboys but one of the many mechanisms for those voices.

Thank you for your interest in Black Rainbow, your membership is much appreciated.

The Black Rainbow Facebook Page

 Our Facebook page is here :

Here are some posters Black Rainbow developed. 

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A paper on Indigenous LGBTI Suicide Prevention looking for publishers or journal

Voices from the Black Rainbow – Indigenous LGBQTI in Suicide Prevention

Abstract : The suicide rate for Aboriginal people can fluctuate between 4 to 12 times the national average. Similarly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender Individual (LGBQTI) health literature note LGBQTI populations are also a high risk of suicidality. A review encompassing 15 years of Aboriginal and LGBQTI health literature was undertaken; including the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP) 2013-2015, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 (ATSISPS) and national LGBTI Health Strategies; Growing Up Queer (2014) and Writing Themselves In I, II, III (1998, 2004, 2010). The review noted a paucity of information on the causation of any potential suicidality at the intersection of Indigeneity, gender variance and diverse sexualities. This study captured voices of Aboriginal LGBQTI peoples through workshops called “Yarning Circles” (Bessarab and Ng’andu 2010); online surveys circulated via Aboriginal LGBQTI networks; and “tweet yarns” (Parker 2014). The online surveys and Yarning Circles established that overwhelmingly participants had not seen any health, wellbeing and suicide prevention strategies or activities for the Aboriginal LGBQTI community, and that this group would like to see some preventative measures in place.

These findings suggest the current Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Strategy and national LGBQTI Suicide Prevention Strategy need amending to reflect the unique needs and solutions for Aboriginal LGBQTI communities.


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I’m a self funded Indigenous LGBTI Suicide Prevention researcher, please assist if you can

World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 Indigenous LGBTI Suicide Prevention fundraiser
Hi, I am a self funded Indigenous LGBQTI Suicide Prevention researcher. I raise money through tee spring to continue my research and endeavour to attract more funding to the Indigenous LGBQTI Suicide Prevention space. Currently, I am the only person looking specifically at this population group. I am a gay Indigenous male and we are losing to many of our mob to suicide. If you can, please buy a t-short from here

This is the design

WSPD14 Front

WSPD14 Back


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Two-Spirit term in North American Tribal Languages

Two-Spirit term in North American Tribal Languages

Aleut: Male-bodied: Ayagigux’ (“man transformed into a woman”) Female-bodied: Tayagigux’ (“woman transformed into a man”)
Arapaho Male-bodied: Haxu’xan (singular), Hoxuxuno (plural) (“rotten bone”)

Arikara Male-bodied: Kuxa’t

Assiniboine Male-bodied: Winktan

Bella Coola Male-bodied: Sx’ints (“hermaphrodite”)

Blackfoot, Southern Peigan Male-bodied: Aakíí’skassi (“acts like a woman”) Female-bodied: Saahkómaapi’aakííkoan (“boy-girl”) [ *strictly a nickname given to Running Eagle* ]

Cheyenne Male-bodied: He’eman (singular), He’emane’o (plural) (hee = “woman”)Female-bodied: Hetaneman (singular), Hatane’mane’o (plural) (hetan = “man”)

Chickasaw, Choctaw Male-bodied: Hoobuk

Chumash Male-bodied: Agi

Cocopa Male-bodied: Elha (“coward”) Female-bodied: Warrhameh

Coeur d’Alene Female-bodied: St’amia (“hermaphrodite”)

Cree Male-bodied: Aayahkwew (“neither man or woman”)

Crow Male-bodied: Bote/Bate/Bade (“not man, not woman”)

Dakota (Santee Sioux) Male-bodied: Winkt

Flathead (Interior Salish) Male-bodied: Ma’kali

Gros Ventre Male-bodied: Athuth

Hidatsa Male-bodied: Miati (“to be impelled against one’s will to act the woman,” “woman compelled”)

Hopi Male-bodied: Ho’va

Illinois Male-bodied: Ikoueta Female-bodied: Ickoue ne kioussa (“hunting women”)

Ingalik Male-bodied: Nok’olhanxodeleane (“woman pretenders”) Female-bodied: Chelxodeleane (“man pretenders”)

Inuit Male-bodied: Sipiniq (“infant whose sex changes at birth”)

Juaneno Male-bodied: Kwit

Karankawa Male-bodied: Monaguia

Keresan, Acoma Male-bodied: Kokwi’ma

Laguna Male-bodied: Kok’we’ma

Klamath Male-/Female-bodied: Tw!inna’ek

Kutenai Male-bodied: Kupatke’tek (“to imitate a woman”) Female-bodied: Titqattek (“pretending to be a man”)

Kumeyaay, Tipai, Kamia Female-bodied: Warharmi

Lakota (Teton Sioux) Male-bodied: Winkte (“[‘wants’ or ‘wishes’] to be [like] [a] woman.” A contraction of winyanktehca) Female-bodied: Bloka egla wa ke (“thinks she can act like a man”) [ editor’s note: cited by Beatrice Medicine, its age unknown ]

Luiseno, San Juan Capistrano Male-bodied: Cuit Mountain- Male-bodied: Uluqui

Mandan Male-bodied: Mihdacka (mih-ha = “woman”)

Maricopa Male-bodied: Ilyaxai’ (“girlish”) Female-bodied: Kwiraxame

Mescalero Apache Male-bodied: Nde’isdzan (“man-woman”)

Miami Male-bodied: Waupeengwoatar (“the white face,” possibly the name of a particular person who was two-spirit)

Micmac Male-bodied: Geenumu gesallagee (“he loves men,” perhaps correctly spelt ji’nmue’sm gesalatl)

Miwok Male-bodied: Osabu (osa = “woman”)

Mohave Maled-bodied: Alyha (“coward”) Female-bodied: Hwame

Western Mono Male-bodied: Tai’up

Navajo Male-/female-/intersexed-bodied: Nadleeh or nadle (gender class/category), nadleehi (singular), nadleehe (plural) (“one in a constant state of change,” “one who changes,” “being transformed”)

Nisenan (Southern Maidu) Male-bodied: Osa’pu

Ojibwa (Chippewa) Male-bodied: Agokwa (“man-woman”) Female-bodied: Okitcitakwe (“warrior woman”)

Omaha, Osage, Ponca Male-bodied: Mixu’ga (“instructed by the moon,” “moon instructed”)

Otoe, Kansa (Kaw)
Male-bodied: Mixo’ge (“instructed by the moon,” “moon instructed”)

Papago (Tohono O’odham), Pima (Akimel O’odham) Male-bodied: Wik’ovat (“like a girl”)

Paiute Northern Male-bodied: Tudayapi (“dress like other sex”) Southern Male-bodied: Tuwasawuts

Patwin Male-bodied: Panaro bobum pi (“he has two [sexes]“)

Pawnee Male-bodied: Ku’saat

Pomo Northern Male-bodied: Das (Da = “woman”) Southern Male-bodied: T!un

Potawatomi Male-bodied: M’netokwe (“supernatural, extraordinary,” Manito plus female suffix)

Quinault Male-bodied: Keknatsa’nxwixw (“part woman”) Female-bodied: Tawkxwa’nsixw (“man-acting”)

Salinan Male-bodied: Coya

Sanpoil Male-bodied: St’a’mia (“hermaphrodite”)

Sauk (Sac), Fox Male-bodied: I-coo-coo-a (“man-woman”)

Shoshone Bannock Male-bodied: Tuva’sa (“sterile”)

Lemhi Male/Female-bodied: Tubasa Female-bodied: Waipu sungwe (“woman-half”)

Gosiute Male-bodied: Tuvasa

Promontory Point Male-bodied: Tubasa waip (“sterile woman”)Female-bodied: Waipu sungwe (“woman-half”)

Nevada Male-bodied: Tainna wa’ippe (“man-woman”) Female-bodied: Nuwuducka (“female hunter”)

Takelma Male-bodied: Xa’wisa

Tewa Male-/Female-bodied: Kwido

Tiwa Isleta Male-bodied: Lhunide

Tlingit Male-bodied: Gatxan (“coward”)

Tsimshian Noots

Southern Ute Male-bodied: Tuwasawits

Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Male-bodied: Shiange (“unmanly man”)

Wishram Male-bodied: Ik!e’laskait

Yuma (Quechan) Male-bodied: Elxa’ (“coward”) Female-bodied: Kwe’rhame

Yup’ik Chugach/Pacific (Alutiiq, Southern Alaskan) Male-bodied: Aranu’tiq (“man-woman”)

St. Lawrence Island (Siberian Yup’ik, Western Alaskan) Male-bodied: AnasikFemale-bodied: Uktasik

Kuskokwim River (Central Alaskan) Male-bodied: Aranaruaq (“woman-like”)Female-bodied: Angutnguaq (“man-like”)

Zapotec Male-bodied: Muxe

Zuni Male-bodied: Lha’mana (“behave like a woman”) Female-bodied: Katotse (“boy-girl”)

Two- Spirit. Internet Archive Wayback Machine

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Two-Spirit defined and Native Americans

TWO-SPIRITED – LGBT Native Americans

“Two Spirit” is an aboriginal phrase (A direct translation of the Ojibwe term Niizh manidoowag) that refers to both masculine and feminine spirits simultaneously living in the same body. It is a term used by the native, indigenous, or aboriginal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Within the various native or aboriginal populations (American Indian, Canadian Indian, Alaskan Native, Inuit, First Nations, and others), LGBT individuals often have difficulty overcoming the cultural taboos against homosexual behavior.

As a result of tribal community pressures, young people who have a different sexual orientation often grow up in a closeted existence or actual isolation. This imposed isolation is self-destructive and limits individuals from living to their fullest potential. In a school environment, many of these young people are subjected to bullying and harassment from their classmates. In this atmosphere, support is generally unavailable and creates an unsafe environment within the school. Nonetheless, there are exceptional gay students who somehow endure and who are accepted as equals by their peers. However, the majority of gay students exhibit behaviors such as skipping school, which affects their academic performance, or simply will become a run away from both home and school.

For the Native LGBT who seeks life in a city for anonymity, the experience can be far more negative than staying within their home community. Like most natives reared in a tribal community, Native LGBT retain pride in their identity, where they are from and who are their relatives. Living in a city can unfortunately give a sense of alienation that is both physical and emotional. Native LGBT individuals often grieve their separation from family and community when they are unaccepted in a city because of their lifestyle as well as being a Native. This experience results in a double discrimination for Native LGBT instead of the desired anonymity.

TWO-SPIRITED – LGBT Native Americans

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Voices from the Black Rainbow – Indigenous LGBQTI in Suicide Prevention: SDOH and Intersectionality

Voices from the Black Rainbow – Indigenous LGBQTI in Suicide Prevention: SDOH Intersectionality©Indigenist














To reference : Bonson, D 2014 1997, ‘Voices from the Black Rainbow – Indigenous LGBQTI in Suicide Prevention: SDOH and Intersectionality, paper presented at the Equity @ the Centre: Action on Social Determinants of Health, 22nd National Australian Health Promotion Association Conference & 18th Chronic Diseases Network Conference, Alice Springs, 4-5th September.

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Previous and Upcoming Presentations 2010 -2014

In 2014


Keynote at 12th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Adelaide this November


Equity @ the Centre: Action on Social Determinants of Health – 22nd National Australian Health Promotion Association Conference & 18th Chronic Diseases Network Conference, Alice Springs this September

Voices from the Black Rainbow Indigenous LGBQTI people in suicide prevention – Intersectionality and SDOH.

Indigenous Peoples Networking Zone – International World AIDS conference, Melbourne 

Decolonising gender identity and sexuality in Indigenous Australia

Suicide Prevention Australia Conference – One Goal, Many Communities – Perth – Australia (2014)

Voices from the Black Rainbow Indigenous LGBQTI Sistergirls and Brotherboys in Suicide Prevention

International Joint Social Work and Social Development Conference – Promoting Social and Economic Equality: Responses from Social Work and Social Development – Melbourne – Australia (2014)

A culturally responsive social work application of Indigenous and western ways of thinking and doing when responding to Indigenous sexual diversity in a young Indigenous male client.

MindOUT Courageous Voices – Seeds of Transformation, Sydney – Australia 2014

Plenary Speaker “Indigeneity and Diverse Gender and Sexuality” Voices from the Black Rainbow Indigenous LGBQTI Sistergirls and Brotherboys in Suicide Prevention

Human Right Forum “Power Through Action”, Darwin – Australia (2014)

Workshop – Echoes of the Forgotten Mob, Indigenous LGBQTI Sistergirls and Brotherboys in Suicide Prevention

In 2013

The National Men’s Health Gathering and 7th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Male Health Convention, Brisbane – Australia (2013)

Believe the Hype – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males Engage

Gay Men’s health is Men’s Health – The Heteronormativity in Men’s Health and its exclusion of Gay Men

2nd International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conference, Winnipeg – Canada (2013)

Male, going bush (remote Australia), & into the comfort zone
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males in Suicide Prevention

National Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workforce Gathering, Brisbane – Australia (2012)

Suicide Prevention in the North West (Kimberley)

In 2010

The 7th Annual LGBTI Health Conference, Social Inclusion, Exclusion and Resilience: A Social View of Health in 2010

The Colonisation of Desire

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Connectedness Is Key to Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth

Connectedness Is Key to Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth

When young people call the Trevor Project’s toll-free national crisis and suicide-prevention line for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, they may never have confided their sexuality or gender identity to anyone. They may not have fully accepted it themselves.Photograph of a young person with arms crossed, looking down.

Others have come out to disapproving or rejecting family and friends. “Most of our callers let us know that they feel alone and they feel like no one understands them and they have no one to talk to,” says Phoenix Schneider, who directs the Los Angeles organization’s prevention efforts.

Struggling with frightening feelings of rejection and isolation, some callers think they’d be better off dead.


FULL report from ncfy

PDF Connectedness Is Key to Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth 

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Assessment of Awareness of Connectedness as a Culturally-Based Protective Factor for Alaska Native Youth

Assessment of Awareness of Connectedness as a Culturally-Based Protective Factor for Alaska Native Youth

Research with Native Americans has identified connectedness as a culturally based protective factor against substance abuse and suicide. Connectedness refers to the interrelated welfare of the individual, one’s family, one’s community, and the natural environment. We developed an 18-item quantitative assessment of awareness of connectedness and tested it with 284 Alaska Native youth. Evaluation with confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory identified a 12-item subset that functions satisfactorily in a second-order four-factor model. The proposed Awareness of Connectedness Scale (ACS) displays good convergent and discriminant validity, and correlates positively with hypothesized protective factors such as reasons for living and communal mastery. The measure has utility in the study of culture-specific protective factors and as an outcomes measure for behavioral health programs with Native American youth.

FULL paper here Connectedness as a Culturally Based Protective Factor

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Two Spirits: Program helps gay youth serving time behind bars

Two Spirits: Program helps gay youth serving time behind bars

WOODBURN, Ore. – The young people locked up at MacLaren Correctional Facility are all serving time for a serious offense.

Behind the fence, some are still paying with more than their time.

“I was bullied a lit bit more than most people,” said Alejandro Estrada, who is gay.

For years, inmates like Estrada had little support.

“I have seen youth be assaulted, I have seen youth be taken advantage of. I have seen a lot of these things happen,” said MacLaren staffer Missy Mintun.

“Basically, beaten by other guys because of my orientation,” Estrada said.

“It’s a very confusing time to come out and to be able to say to yourself let alone the rest of the world – ‘hey, I am gay,’ or ‘I am transitioning, I want to be a transgender’ or ‘I am questioning my sexuality,'” Mintun said.

About 130 youth are serving time at MacLaren. About 10 of them take part in the Two Spirits group.

The name is derived from Native American culture, in which people who are gay are believed to have “two spirits.”


More on this amazing Two Spirits: Program