Out of the 250 groups invited to participate in this year's 46th annual SF LGBT Pride Parade, the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAITS) was a crowd favorite.
The SF Pride parade is one of the largest in the United States and draws nearly 750,00 visitors each year. The LGBT Pride parade was particularly poignant this year, because of the Orlando massacre. People from around the world gathered several times over the weekend to observe a moment of silence for the 49 victims of that shooting.
“Pride has always been about people,” said Amelia Vigil, local member of the Bay Area Native American and BAAITS communities.
Vigil also said it was important for Native people to serve as representatives in the Two Spirit community.
Members of BAAITS are happy to display Two Spirit pride - Facebook
“As Two-Spirit people it's important that we continue to stand up and be present... Pride is presence and representing ourselves. We are strong and we do the very best we can for our people. We dance for our people. We drum for them and while we hug our history and our culture, we also work like hell to see something better, something safer for our ancestors to come. We are Two-Spirits and we walk two worlds in power.”
Members of BAAITS on the SF Pride parade route - Facebook
“It's [about] people saying "We are here." Our Native American community gets erased over and over again-the times when Native Americans aren't even mentioned as a race or ethnic category, the times folks act like history started with George Washington.”
Members of BAAITS are also looking forward to next year’s celebrations while planning their own pow wow, which will take place at San Francisco’s scenic Fort Mason in February.
Members of BAAITS show Two Spirit and Gay pride in San Francisco - Facebook
For more information about the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits or to make a donation, please visit their website at www.baaits.org. You can also visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/baaitscommunity.
Sam White Swan-Perkins is a freelance journalist based out of Butte County, CA. He recently celebrated his first year anniversary writing for ICTMN and is the owner of White Swan-Perkins Cultural Consulting and recently launched his blog Wagon Burners.