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

Jun 28, 2019

Will Bean, left, Jenny Miller and Tui McDermott talk Friday, June 28, 2019, with Danny Preston on Morning Line about Aurora Pride, an online support group for Indigenous LGBTQ-plus and Two Spirit people and their allies. (Photo by Tripp J Crouse/KNBA)

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.