States of Emergency: Confronting the Erasure of Indigenous Women and Two-spirited People in HIV Movements.


Excerpt from Introduction, Page 32-33:

"Statistics on HIV in Canada do not include trans, gender-nonconforming, and two-spirited people because testing clinics that report their data to PHAC collect only binary gender information, so clients are forced to place themselves in one of two gender categories. Including two-spirited youth in the analysis of HIV means recognizing that two-spirited youth often migrate from their home communities to cities to escape homophobia, stigmatization, and discrimination. Once in the city, they are often overrepresented in street economies and can experience difficulty finding appropriate housing, a lack of social supports, low income status, and a deterioration of their mental and physical health, including HIV exposure and the onset of AIDS symptoms.

The grave statistics are met with distressing institutional responses. While Indigenous people were marked as a key population for PHAC funding through the national HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund, organizations like the Black Indigenous Harm Reduction Alliance in Montreal were denied funding in the 2016 cuts to programming. The future of CAAN is also uncertain, having had 70 per cent of its budget slashed. The Native Women's Association of Canada, which is not a community-based HIV organization and has been critiqued for its platform on sex workers that carries implications for their increased HIV exposure, has received funding. While PHAC allocated funding to three national Indigenous centric organizations and to at least 16 diverse, province-specific Indigenous organizations in order to address HIV levels in various communities, what happens when organizations integral to Indigenous AIDS responses like CAAN don't have stable funding? Where can Indigenous communities find accessible, localized services that are specific to their needs? Without funding for HIV/AIDS services for Indigenous people, can we hold out hope that community organizations will do this work, or are we facing a public health emergency that erases Indigenous women and two-spirited people? Institutional erasure - within government, research, and community organizing - of Indigenous women and two-spirited people compounds the funding cuts to systemically entrench inadequate responses, putting these communities at an increased long-term risk.

Existing institutional and knowledge production in a colonial society will never yield the radical grassroots HIV organizing that is so essential for the health of Indigenous women and two-spirited peoples. This article calls for an intervention into the white-settler queer and trans HIV organizing methods that contribute to the colonial erasure of Indigenous bodies. HIV organizers and researchers must consistently resist colonial responses to AIDS that have failed HIV-positive Indigenous women and two-spirited folks, who are disproportionately affected by HIV in Canada." (32-33).

Publication Information

Morgan, Jas M. (Lindsay Nixon). "States of Emergency: Confronting the Erasure of Indigenous Women and Two-spirited People in HIV Movements." Briarpatch 46, no. 1 (2017): 32-35.

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Morgan, Jas M. (Lindsay Nixon)
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