Lead Contact: Charmaine Denny, Coordinator of Sexualized Violence Prevention and systems mobilization


NSNWA’s vision is that 2SLGBTQQIA people are guaranteed the same opportunity for freedom, peace and security as any other citizen of our territory. We strive to achieve an environment where 2SLGBTQQIA people have their unique challenges recognized, enjoy obstacle free access to all supports and services and feel that they can live safely and comfortably wherever they reside.

As an organization that applies a gender-based, culturally relevant, and intersectional lens to its research, policy development and advocacy, NSNWA recognizes that Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people are impacted by systemic discrimination. This discrimination is rooted in colonialism and racism.

Prior to colonization, Indigenous communities held distinct understandings of gender roles and sexuality. An example of this is Two-Spirit people. As coined by Myra Laramee in 1990, “Two-Spirit” is a translation of the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, meaning literally “two spirits”. With colonization, though, came mainstream teachings of gender, sex, and sexual orientation binaries: that you can only be male/female, masculine/feminine, heterosexual/homosexual and nothing exists in between. These understandings, which dictate which gender identities are normal and which are not, has led to the marginalization of Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA individuals both within their communities and in mainstream society.

While this discrimination is rooted in colonialism and racism, it is further compounded and upheld by patriarchy and heteronormativity.

Sadly, there is a significant lack of data on these issues, but we do know that Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA individuals face disproportionate levels of violence and additional obstacles to accessing basic services such as health care, housing and employment.  

NSNWA began our engagement strategy with Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA and gender diverse people to transform our organization and all of our subsequent work. Moving forward, we will create safe spaces for those members to voice their needs and perspectives to inform policy development with a focus on not re-traumatizing or re-victimizing.  Please click Final Report Gender Based Violence 2LGBTQQIA March 28 2020 to read the report from our first engagement session. 


NSNWA Strategic Direction:

  1. Engage with Nova Scotia Indigenous communities through a culture and gender-based lens to address and end the systemic violence that impacts Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people, and their families and communities.
  2. Provide Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people with the option and opportunity of removing themselves from abusive relationships and situations through community and network support.
  3. Enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well being of Nova Scotia Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people.