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What does “Two-Spirit mean?

The term two-spirit (also spelled 2-spirit or two-spirited) was coined by Myra Laramee in 1990.(4) Two-spirit means different things to different people and different communities. One of the most commonly cited understandings of the term is a person who possesses both masculine and feminine spirits; however, two-spirit is used throughout English-speaking communities on Turtle Island2 to distinguish the wide variety of Indigenous concepts of gender and sexual diversity as separate from the European gender binary, which was violently imposed on Indigenous communities through Christianization and the residential school system. Within Indigenous cosmologies, gender and sexual diversity are viewed holistically, with people of many genders and sexualities holding important roles in families and communities. For some people two-spirit is a gender identity, while others use it to describe their sexual orientation, and still others as a spiritual identity (and some a combination of these elements). Although two-spirit is sometimes used as an umbrella term for LGBTQ Indigenous people, it is important to note that not every Indigenous person who identifies as LGBTQ will identify as twospirit, and not everyone who identifies as two-spirit will identify as LGBTQ. Some people use the term two-spirit in order to distance themselves from colonial society. Others may identify with a nation-specific term, as many Indigenous languages have words for the gender diversity traditionally found in their communities.

Though LGBTQ and two-spirit experiences may overlap, the two are distinct identities, encompassing a vast range of lived experiences. For this reason, many LGBTQ-focused services may not meet the needs of Indigenous community members, and some Indigenous community services may not meet the needs of LGBTQ and two-spirit people.(5) Further, although Western medicine is practiced in most First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Indigenous understandings of health and wellness may be different than those of health care providers, and should be respected.


Aboriginal Education Centre - Turtle Island 

University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
CAW Student Centre, Room 179
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Phone: 519- 253-3000 ext. 3481

The Centre provides support to self-identified Aboriginal students reach their highest potential in a culturally supportive atmosphere. The Centre provides student support services, cultural programming and events, lounge and study area, printing, scanning and faxing services, volunteer and work opportunities and school visits and community presentations.

Metis Nation of Ontario

Windsor Health Centre
600 Tecumseh Rd E, Suite 145

Windsor, ON N8X 4X9

Phone: 519-948-9908


Provides a wide variety of services and programs to enhance the employability, quality of life, and well-being for the Metis and off reserve Ontario residents in the area, health services programs , public Internet access workstations, volunteer opportunities, offers information and applications for applying for a Metis Nation of Ontario citizenship and/or Harvesters card.

Can Am Friendship Centre

2929 Howard Avenue

Windsor ON N8X 4W4

Phone: 519-253-3243

The Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre is driven by the desire of Aboriginal peoples within the areas of Windsor and Essex County to become a self-sufficient, self-determining, self-governing community. Historically, the Friendship Centre has been the focal point for Aboriginal peoples within the urban environment. The Centre was incorporated in 1982 to facilitate the acquisition of key administrative funding. The Centre itself retains the grassroots support and direction that was evident in the founding members. The Centre and the Aboriginal community are inter-linked, seemingly a single entity.


Get In Touch

WE PrideFest Rainbow Reverse430

Windsor Essex Pride Fest

Phone: (226) 348-3378
General Inquiries: [email protected]

2109 Ottawa Street, Unit 216
Windsor, Ontario, N8Y 1R8

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Whether you have a question about our organization, one of our events, wanting to sponsor or donate, or just want to get involved, please get in touch by email or by using the contact form. One of our Windsor-Essex Pride Fest team members will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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