New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults is committed to lessening the social isolation experienced by this population through the creation of online and in-person social and support opportunities, educational workshops and culturally relevant programming. Our team is committed to community building, inclusion across identities, and the creation of spaces where all people on the 2S-LGBTQ+ spectrum feel welcome, heard, and honoured. The 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults program aims to support and empower those who identify as older adults (55+) within the 2S-LGBTQ+ community, to promote healthy relationships, and to increase access to health and social services.
What is New Horizons?
The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a Pan-Canadian project funded by Employment and Social Canada. The New Horizons for 2S-LGBTQ+ Older Adults program is Central and Northern Ontario specific, servicing the Simcoe/Muskoka, North Bay, and Sudbury areas. Participating agencies include Gilbert Centre and Mamaway Wiikdokdaadwin, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area and the North Bay Indigenous Hub, and Reseau Access Network and Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy. Coming together as a larger team allows for community building across regions, and a larger network of support for the vast geographical area that we serve.
What Does Two-Spirit Mean?
The term Two-spirit came from the Third Annual Intertribal Native American/First Nations Gay and Lesbian Conference in Winnipeg in 1990. Two-Spirit is used as a Pan-Indian term to describe Indigenous people who traditionally assumed or crossed multiple gender roles and held great importance within their communities. While many nations had their own terms for Two-Spirit people, historically this role can be seen differently in different cultures and nations.
Some people use the term as a form of decolonization - taking back their cultures and traditions. They identify with this term in community and hold different responsibilities as a Two-Spirit person. However, not all Indigenous people take on this identity and instead use modern terms from the Western LGBT+ spectrum. They may also use Two-Spirit as an Indigenous version of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Because this term was brought to Indigenous people to reclaim their roles within community, it is extremely important to note that Two-Spirit is an identity only for Indigenous people.
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Background of the Logo
The Seniors Program Coordinators and the Two-Spirit Outreach Workers collectively created the logo for the New Horizons 2S-LGBTQ+ Seniors Project. With the very talented graphic design skills of Leisha Neuman (Two-Spirit Coordinator – OAHAS) we were able to have this in completed form. The collective intentionally chose imagery that would speak to the Indigenous community while not being overtly Indigenous to people outside of this community. We wanted to ensure that Indigenous people knew they were welcome in the program and that they were a priority while also allowing non-Indigenous folk to feel comfortable accessing these services as well without feeling as though they were taking up space in a program that was not designed for them. Striking this balance was a priority for us which is why we chose the following imagery:
In addition to the imagery described below, we chose to speak directly to the Indigenous community it was important for us to create an image that would speak to people who identify as 2S-LGBTQ+ without being overtly queer identifying as well. The rationale for this was the recognition that some seniors within the 2S-LGBTQ+ community may be hesitant to engage in programming that is identifiable to others as being a queer program as some may worry about being out to people, they are not comfortable with.
We have incorporated the colours of the Pride flag, including the BIPOC colours, within the 13 moons. This way those who are looking for representation of the Pride flag colours will be able to see themselves represented while being subtle to those who are outside of the 2S-LGBTQ+ Community
In 7 Grandfather teachings the Beaver symbolizes wisdom. The Beaver uses his natural gift wisely for his survival. He alters his environment in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way for the benefit of his family. Indigenous people have lived their lives in much the same way as the Beaver using their natural gifts to survive and provide for their families and communities.
The circle was chosen to represent community. Historically, Two-Spirit people were kicked out of Indigenous circles. This circle is representative of an invitation to our Two-Spirit clients to join our circle and welcome them back in.
13 Small Circles
These are representative of the 13 moons on the Indigenous lunar calendar.
The choice to include sweet grass was multi-layered. Sweet grass is one of the most important ceremonial plants and invokes kindness. The braid itself represents balance and strength. Each strand is representative of the mind, body and soul. The intertwining and braiding of these strands strengthen them, symbolizing the intent of being stronger together rather than alone.
The Beaver we felt also was representative to non-Indigenous people as well. The Beaver is commonly seen as a symbol of the North and being that we are prioritizing Northern Ontario in our programs and services we thought this would be a great way to tie this into the logo. The other thought process to this was that the Beaver well-represented the idea that 2S-LGBTQ+ people adapt to their environment for survival much like the Beaver does. They disrupt when they need to and build their communities.