Tag Archives: Indigenous

Australia’s Queer Indigenous Community Is Speaking Out

The indigenous queer community is loud, powerful and strong.

Rather, communities. Just as there is more than one way to be queer, there are many ways to be indigenous.

For example, in North America, queer indigenous people are rapping and making art. But their experiences are different from queer people in South America and queer people in the Pacific.

Twenty-two queer indigenous people from Australia have released a new book called Colouring the Rainbow – Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives: Life Stories and Essays by First Nations People of Australia. But this book isn’t just for queer indigenous people or even for Australians – everyone can learn about queer identities, queer histories and the legacy of colonialism from their stories.

The editor, Dino Hodge, created the book in order to combat the painfully homogenous, painfully white queer narratives being told in Australia.

It’s hard to deny that in the United States and abroad, certain queer voices have more value than others. Gay, cisgender white males are the face of the LGBT movement. That’s why Will and Grace featured an upper-class white male and not, say, a queer disabled indigenous woman or a two-spirit person of low socioeconomic status. Those members of the LGBT community are pushed to the back.

In Australia, the story is similar. Indigenous people are struggling to gain acceptance in the country despite the fact that they’ve lived there for centuries, and they have had their queer histories erased. They are not allowed to be the face of the gay rights movement despite the fact that their cultures practiced homosexuality centuries before the Western world decided it was acceptable.

For centuries, many First Nation Australian communities saw homosexuality as natural. When western colonists arrived to Christianize the continent, they wiped out all traces of these practices and told the First Nations people that homosexuality was a sin. Ironically, today the descendants of these colonists call the First Nations people backward for having conservative views on homosexuality.

This book works to decolonize readers’ minds and reveal the richness of Australia’s queer indigenous community. Finally, they have a voice. The book’s writers discuss homophobia and transphobia that they have faced, racism that they have struggled against and decolonization that they have to practice daily.

Pick up your copy here.

4 Queer Indigenous And Native American Artists to Check Out

All some people know about Native Americans is Thanksgiving, the horrible Lone Ranger movie, and the Washington Redskins.

The protest against Dakota Access Pipeline provided a window into modern indigenous culture and the fact that there is much, much more to that culture than Disney’s Pocahontas.

Indigenous artists are creating amazing books, poetry and music. And yes, many of them are queer. Check out some of the biggest up-and-coming artists below.

Shawnee She-King

This upbeat popstar’s music has appeared everywhere – she penned a song for Disney Channel, toured with Roxette and Glass Tiger, and had her song Mirror Me hit #1 on Canada’s National Aboriginal Countdown.

Check out her official artist’s page, follow her latest hits on her Soundcloud and check out “Mirror Me.”


Storme Webber

In addition to being an award-winning spoken word poet and interdisciplinary artist, Webber is notable for founding Voices Rising, “a literary performance and spoken word event series dedicated to showcasing LGBTQ artists of color.” As the child of a multiracial Aleut lesbian and a bisexual black Chocktaw father, Webber describes herself as a two-spirit Black Native Lesbian.

Check out more of her work at her official website.

Cris Derksen

Derksen describes her music as a “genre-defyin braid of traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions.” As a world-renowned Aboriginal cellist, she combines world, classical, folk and electronica influences. Her third and most recent album, Orchestral Powwow, blends classical cello and aboriginal music.

Says Derksen,

What excites me most about this project is bringing our Aboriginal music to the center of the European model as we as aboriginal artists lead the way with our drums and our heart beat to create new forms of music.”

Listen to the groundbreaking album here.

Sydney Freeland

As a transgender Navajo woman, Freeland has used film in order to break down stereotypes associated with her identities. Her first feature-length film, Drunktown, “is a coming-of-age story about the complex issues surrounding identity and the struggles faced by Native American people.” She’s currently working on a web series called Her Story, which documents the lives of queer and transgender women.

Read more about her experiences here.