同属正常

——Part of Normal

  • 作者:本站  发布时间: 2012/04/02
  •   狄伦·罗斯(Dylan Rose)是土著居民,并且是同性恋,他同时经历着种族歧视和对同性恋歧视的双重打击。像罗斯这样既是土著居民又是同性恋的人有一个特殊的称谓“two-spirited”。在加拿大,同性恋或变性的土著青年拥有全国最高的自杀率,他们代表的是两个最高危的群体。根据加拿大卫生部的数据显示,土著居民中的自杀率是其他居民的5至7倍,而同性恋或变性青年的自杀率也远高于异性恋青年。这样的特殊群体应该受到平等的对待,正如“two-spirited”研究者威尔逊(Wilson)所说,亚文化也是正常文化的一部分。

      新词解释:

      Two-spirited:出现于90年代初,指既是土著居民又是同性恋或变形者的人,他们常常用这个称呼来自称,甚至已经成为了他们的口号。

      Dylan Rose was riding his bike home from a bar one night when someone driving a pickup truck, honking the horn and yelling out the window, ran him off the road. The attack, he says, probably had to do with the way he was dressed — it was summer and he was wearing short shorts and a see-through tank top. Rose ended up with a few bumps and bruises and was on painkillers for a month. But the emotional scars endured. It was the first time the 24-year-old was the target of homophobic violence. But it wasn’t the first time he was the victim of unwarranted prejudice.

      Rose is aboriginal and gay. He’s spent his life wading through multiple layers of discrimination and stigma. Growing up all over Saskatchewan, in places like in Cumberland House, Sandy Lake and North Battleford, he experienced what he calls the double whammy of racism and homophobia.

      “There was lot of racism, for sure,” he says. “On top of that, I was always like, ‘Oh man, I’m gay too. I’m never coming out.’ It was tough.”

      But Rose, who plans on starting law school at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall, did eventually come out of the closet. It was Jan. 26, 2006, after he moved to Saskatoon for university. Since then, he has embraced the term queer. Once used as an anti-gay epithet, it now refers largely to sexual minorities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people. But there is another term he’s embraced as well — these days he calls himself two-spirited.

      Since its inception in the early 1990s, the term two-spirit has become a rallying cry for gay, LGBT aboriginal people all over the world. Two-spirited is used to identify people who are both queer and aboriginal. But, as Rose and countless other queer aboriginal people have found out, the term is more complicated than that.

      Like so many young queer youth, Rose made the exodus from rural life to the big city with hopes of finding kinship — queer friends, queer-friendly bars and queer support groups.

      In the weeks, months and years after he came out, Rose struggled to find that community. Although things got better once he moved to Saskatoon from North Battleford, he spent years in counselling, dealing with mental health issues related to his racial and sexual identity.

      It wasn’t so much that he couldn’t find like-minded people, but he grappled with his identity, trying to find an intersection between his life as a queer person and life as an aboriginal person.

      “I hung out at the Pride Centre and I also hung out at the Aboriginal Students Centre, but there was no other people who hung out at those places and found community in both those places. I felt like I was one of the only queer aboriginals on campus. It made me feel more alone in some ways,” he says.

      Rose’s father is from the Red Pheasant First Nation, and his mother had friends on reserves all over the province. When he wasn’t in school, he would travel around to powwows and spend summers on different reserves. Sexuality and gender were not common topics on the reserve.

      “There were like two gay people on the reserve,” Rose says. “There was this guy on the reserve and his name was Burt and everyone jokingly called him, auntie Burt so I knew he was gay.”

      When Rose came out, he got a diverse reaction from family and friends living on the reserve. Some embraced his difference, while others scorned it.

      “It’s a mix. You have those people who are practicing a more traditional way of life and they are more open-minded to the way people are living their lives — as long as they aren’t harming anyone, they will treat them as moral human beings,” he says.

      “But there is that Christian side that sees me as a sinner, and think I’m going to hell.”

      It was during this time that Rose heard the term “two-spirited.” It was first used in 1990, at a Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference in Winnipeg. The idea was to encompass the spiritual, not simply the physical and the sexual when talking about queer aboriginal people. In literal terms, people might think of it as having both male and female spirits. But these days, that interpretation has largely been dismissed as homophobic.

      “It doesn’t literally mean you have two spirits. In order for me to be a lesbian, it doesn’t mean I have to be part man,” says University of Saskatchewan professor Alex Wilson, an educator and one of the world’s foremost experts on aboriginal queer culture and two-spiritedness.

      Wilson has been studying what it means to be queer and aboriginal for more than two decades — she began before the word two-spirited became commonplace. During her first few years of university, she was working as a queer youth group facilitator. It was there she finally understood the gravity of situation facing young queer aboriginal people.

      “I went home for the summer and when I came back in the fall, the two Native kids in the group had committed suicide. I was like, ‘What is going on?’”

      In Canada, LGBT aboriginal youth have some of the highest suicide rates in the country. They represent two of the most at-risk groups. According to Health Canada, suicide rates are five to seven times higher in First Nations communities than in the rest of Canada and LGBT youth are also at a much higher risk of attempting suicide than heterosexual youth.

      “With aboriginal gay youth, it’s way higher. It’s off the charts,” says Wilson.

      Wilson is quick to point out that “oppression is not a competition,” but there are certain realities that come with being two-spirited or queer and aboriginal that set them apart from the rest of the queer community. The suicide rate is just one of them.

      Wilson grew up on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and that was where she first came out to her family and friends as a lesbian. She says no one was surprised when she told them she liked women, not men. Her story is similar to many others that have been shared by young queer aboriginal people: being gay on reserve was not that big a deal.

      “When I ask the elders, they say we don’t have a subculture; we don’t have a word for (being queer) because it is part of normal,” says Wilson.

      That is likely why the term two-spirited is so new — before contact, it is widely believed, queer people were just a regular part of life for many aboriginal nations.

      Wilson is hesitant to embrace all the stories that have come out about the reverence her people had for two-spirited people before contact. Her research has found that before contact there were people who did not fit into Western gender binaries — men who didn’t fit into traditional male roles, and women who didn’t fit into traditional female roles. If these people were not revered, they were, she says, simply commonplace.

      “Every nation that I know of — that I’ve talked to people from — have had people who don’t fit this western gender binary. Whether they are gay or not, we don’t know,” she says.

      Wilson, like many other two-spirit scholars, believes homophobia was a western import, hammered home by the trauma of colonization and the residential school system. This western way of thinking, she says, still permeates aboriginal traditions and spirituality, on and off reserve.

      “They still have that Christian mindset, meaning they are very dogmatic in their religion,” Wilson explains.

      “Research has shown that the risk factor for all queer youth is fundamentalist religion. We know a lot about that in terms of Christianity and Islam and other organized religions, but it also holds for traditional aboriginal religion. The very place where we should be gaining strength and grounding for many gay youth has become marginalizing.”

      But Wilson’s attention is directed not only at aboriginal peoples, their traditional religions and their leadership. She would like to see more acceptance of two-spirited and aboriginal queer people with the larger mainstream queer community.

      When she first moved to Winnipeg and entered the queer community there she was surprised by the amount of racism that persisted, even in some of the most progressive sections of society. Rose says he’s had similar experiences after moving to Saskatoon.

      “You’d think that within this urban queer community there would be more acceptance, but there is serious racism going on,” he says.

      “Sometimes you create this kind of animosity yourself but sometimes it’s totally out there, it exists.”

      Rose calls Wilson one of his mentors, and he says had he not learned about aboriginal history and traditions relating to queerness and two-spiritedness, he would not have come this far.

      “I don’t think I would have found myself, found my identity,” he says.

      These days, Rose blogs about his two-spirited experiences. The blog, Urban Pionqueer, is a mixture of humour, personal essays and reflections about his life as a “20-something, gay, aboriginal.” He says he is doing it for the youth, the young aboriginal queer people who are going through the same struggles he did when he was younger.

      “I remember thinking, why am I here? Why do I have to deal with so much that the average person doesn’t have to deal with? People just didn’t get it,” he says. “I wanted my story out there so people could benefit from it.”

     

      来源:

      http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Part+Normal+spirits+keep+Dylan+Rose+touch+with+aboriginal+identity/6084940/story.html

      By Charles Hamilton, Bridges

      February,2012

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