Open Letter to Native Youth: Pride Month

Dear Native Youth:

Growing up my family always told me that we as human beings have masculinity and femineity within us. I know I have masculinity and femineity within myself. Some days I’m more masculine, some days I’m more feminine, and some days it’s a balance of both. When I look at myself I’m just me, no more no less. I looked at people as just being people never assuming who they were. This year I just became open about identifying as a Non-binary Native queer and I thank the youth in our community for inspiring me to do so.

This past year seeing so many youth in our community being proud of their identities is the reason I became open about mine. I knew I was different but could never really put things into words of how I saw myself until I followed LGBTQIA2S+ influencers and creators.  I listened to podcasts, followed people on Instagram, watched TikToks and was blown away at what I missed growing up. The work these creators do to help society learn about who they are and their role within our community is so important. They are educators who are able to reach our community in more accessible ways to help us reconnect.

We all are reconnecting back to our culture no matter where you grew up or how old you are. Our community continues to do the work to keep our tradition alive and reclaim our languages, history, and teachings. Be proud of who you are and know you are a blessing to our community. Being LGBTQIA2S+ is a gift, we are healers, educators, leaders, and balance keepers. This year’s Pride month was a beautiful celebration and we cannot limit ourselves to one month.

As July approaches that doesn’t mean Pride and celebrating the LGBTQIA2S+ community stops. Continue to educate yourself, reconnect yourself back to our teachings, and learn your nation’s history of our Two Spirit people. There is so much to learn and I thank our Native youth for inspiring us by doing the work to educate our elders, leaders, and community.

Be you and Be true to who you are.

Tracie Jackson

Footwear Designer at Nike