We are all very aware of goings on in America in recent weeks and the struggles of many people who may feel further marginalised by recent events. The events at Standing Rock have shown the power of the people to at least attempt to stand up for others even if they have no means to provide literally or when there are thousands of miles between them. (To read more about how people on Facebook and Standing Rock protestors came together here) It is so important to act in the face of oppression and abuse even if the only thing you can do is say ‘I care’.
As a promoter of equality in all areas we do have a special interest in LGBTQ issues, and have been duly reminded of the disproportionate suffering amongst native people of what has come to be known as America.
Suicide rates amongst native communities are disproportionately higher than other communities and particularly so in young people between ages 18-25. To get a clearer background read this Huffpost article on native suicide and the supporting research from the CDC, It makes for some difficult reading and the obvious need for some statistically relevant action to take place which is sadly ignored because native communities make up approximately 1% of the population of the US.
Suicide rates amongst the LGBTQ community are higher the world over and this leaves a bitter taste especially amongst natives who have the most beautifully rich history in honouring people in all their complexities Traditionally, many tribes had multiple gender systems (recognizing more than two genders), It was understood that there were people who occupied a social and spiritual position somewhere in-between men and women. Many other cultures around the world also had or have multiple gender societies. 'Two Spirit' is a contemporary term used to refer to these people in some tribes. This term implies that someone has both male and female aspects within them, not that they are physically both male and female (e.g., intersex). Many tribes have words in their languages for these people. Definition from wernative.
We have developed our two spirit range to honour both our native allies and to raise awareness of the concept of a fluid gender identity. All profit will go to the Native American Rights Fund who you can find out more about here.