“When Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown came out to his dad, he was terrified. ‘He’s such a macho man, he doesn’t speak English, very hardcore traditional,’ Brown said. But when Brown told him he was nádleehí, a third gender in Navajo culture, he was surprised by his father’s reaction.” C. Norwell, The Washington Post, June 19, 2021
‘My father was telling me that I am born the way the Holy People made me,’ Brown said in Navajo, and later repeated in English, from a stage at the now annual Navajo Nation Pride on Saturday. ‘I am a product of his prayers’ and in the Diné kinship system, ‘there is no ‘other’ clan.’
Earlier this month, the Navajo Nation celebrated its fourth annual Pride Week — the largest Indigenous Pride in the country — with a series of virtual gatherings culminating in its first official pride parade on Saturday.
Brown was among speakers who addressed attendees at one of the Navajo Nation’s first public events since covid-19 restrictions have begun to lift. In front of the Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., organizers and public leaders reaffirmed their commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) community members and to overturning policies like the Diné Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex marriage in Navajo Nation…’This year is our fourth year and in Diné culture we understand that the number four is a very sacred number,’ invoking the four directions and the four sacred colors, said Navajo Nation Pride’s youth director Geronimo Louie (Navajo). ‘We are a matriarchal society at heart and through our teachings and understandings and our origin stories, women have always been leading and paving the way for all of us as Indigenous people.’ Reclaiming language, organizers say, is an example of overturning colonial influences; so is repealing the Diné Marriage Act.”
ALSO TO CELEBRATE GAY PRIDE:
“Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation,” says Mary Emily O’Hara, a communications officer at GLAAD. “And when you’re speaking to people, it’s a really simple way to affirm their identity.” L. Wamsley, NPR, June 2, 2021