“If LGBTQ people get assaulted or beaten up in a hate crime on tribal land, it’s often not prosecuted,” one advocate said. D. Avery, NBC News, Nov. 9, 2021
Excerpt: LGBTQ American Indians report high levels of depression and abuse, By Dan Avery, NBC News, Nov. 9, 2021
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) adults have higher levels of mental health issues, physical abuse and economic instability than their non-LGBTQ peers, according to a new report.
The study, released last month by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in advance of Native American Heritage Month in November, found 42 percent of AIAN LGBTQ adults have been diagnosed with depression, compared to less than a quarter of non-LGBTQ Native people and just 6.7 percent of the general U.S. population.
AIAN LGBTQ adults, particularly women, are also more likely to engage in high-risk health behaviors, including heavy drinking, according to the findings.
Three-quarters of respondents reported not having had enough money to make ends meet in the prior year, compared to less than half of non-LGBTQ AIAN people…‘The complex picture of health and economic vulnerabilities of AIAN LGBT people is likely a product of factors shared with all Indigenous peoples, such as the impact of historical trauma, and those shared across LGBT people, such as anti-LGBT stigma,’ said lead author Bianca D.M. Wilson, a senior scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute and the report’s lead author, told NBC News.
In the report, Wilson stated that, ‘It is critical that policies and service interventions consider the LGBT status and multiracial identities of AIAN adults.’
Somáh Haaland, who is queer and nonbinary and uses gender-neutral pronouns, is the media coordinator for the Pueblo Action Alliance. Haaland also lives with clinical depression.
‘The unique intersection of being Native and queer can feel incredibly isolating, both in a displaced urban setting and in our own communities,’ they told NBC News…’In white queer spaces they experience racism and disconnection, while at home or on their reservation they may feel like being out could exclude them from cultural activities or simply being in community with their people,’ said Haaland, whose mother is Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland…’Being queer and being Indigenous are both beautiful identities to carry that are sacred when they intersect,’ they said. ‘But we often must fight twice as hard just to show that we are worthy of living and thriving.’
‘You’re part of a group already dealing with racism and historical trauma and, within that group — if you’re queer — you can be alienated from your community and even your family,’ said Sharon Day, a member of the Ojibwe nation and executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force in Minneapolis. ‘For people living on reservations, these are small, rural communities that are slower to change.’