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Aurora Pride offers support group for Indigenous LGBTQ and Two Spirit people, allies

A support group for Indigenous LGBTQ and Two Spirit people and their allies wants to let Indigenous queer people have a safe place to connect.

Tui McDermottt, Will  Bean and Jenny Miller founded Aurora Pride, which is a private Facebook group out of respect to members’ privacy and safety.

The trio came into the KNBA Morning Line studio on Friday, June 28, 2019, to talk with Morning Line host Danny Preston.

“Being Indigenous, growing up, it seemed like the gender expectations and roles were very binary but that really isn't the case,” Bean said. “We've had words for people that are like us, which is really great and honoring those traditions and coming back to them and having space where we can bring together these identities and feel comfortable with them.”

Bean describes the group as a place to share common interests with each other and create a community for Indigenous and LGBTQ identified people.

“In the LGBTQ community, although it's very diverse itself, it still lacks a certain aspect that Indigenous people really need,” Bean said.

Living in rural Alaska can be difficult for Indigenous queer people.

“You can be extremely closeted and have a hard time talking about it with people,” McDermott said. “A lot of folks find themselves moving to Anchorage so that they can find support or be able to be out and not have to have that fear. Some people do have support in the village but we wanted to create a space for people who had moved and be able to talk about it openly.”

The group will hold a meeting during the Saturday Pride celebration in downtown Anchorage.

Hailing originally from the Puget Sound region of Washington State, Danny Preston has lived in Alaska for more than 40 years. His career in radio began in 1991, and since 2004 he has hosted KNBA’s Morning Line program. He is also the station’s music director.
Originally from the Midwest, Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe, a descendent of Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, pronouns: they/them) has 15-plus years in print, web and radio journalism. Tripp first moved to Alaska in 2016 to work with KTOO Public Media in Juneau. And later moved to Anchorage in 2018 to work with KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. Tripp currently works for Spruce Root in Juneau, Alaska. Tripp also served as chair of the Station Advisory Committee for Native Public Media.
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