Every November, the U.S. honors Native Americans whose culture and traditions have indelibly shaped the land we know today, despite centuries of systematic displacement, marginalization and sustained genocide at the hands of European settlers and European-Americans.
As communities across the U.S. gather to honor Native American Heritage Month, we must center the lives and stories of LGBTQ and two-spirit Native American people. Too often LGBTQ Native American youth report heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection in their homes and communities.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
- 15% of Native American LGBTQ youth did not go to school because they felt unsafe at school or felt unsafe on their way to or from school;
- One-half of Native American LGBTQ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless;
- More than one-third of Native LGBTQ youth were bullied on school property;
- And more than one-quarter of these young people reported being electronically bullied.