Coming Out to Coming In: Reclaiming and Resurging Two-Spirit Voices through Indigenous-Led Research Project



The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is conducting a two-year Indigenous-led data research project related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls (MMIWG) that aims to represent the important transformations occurring in both “coming out" and “coming in" as these concepts relate to 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities.

Funded in part by a 2021 grant of $50,000 from the MMIWG Secretariat, the research project will particularly focus on the importance of “coming in"—the act of Two Spirit individuals returning and resuming their place as a valued part of their families, cultures, communities, and lands, in connection with all our relations.

“For far too long, colonialism has changed how we as Two Spirit First Nations are seen by our communities and our Nations," said Wayne Wallace, FNHA Director, Urban and Away-from-Home. “It's my hope, through this work, that we can begin reclaiming our rightful place in our communities and for the younger 2SLGBTQQIA+ population to see themselves represented and thriving in our Nations."

The projects specifically aims to:

  1. Create culturally-grounded qualitative distinctions and identity-based indicators;
  2. Address existing methodological gaps for groups who are underserviced or underrepresented in data; and,
  3. Work to define safety through Indigenous ways of understanding.

Honouring the perspectives and experiences of members belonging to 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities is pivotal in overcoming barriers to wholistic health and wellness. To ensure that community voices remain centered in this work, the FNHA will form an Advisory Council to guide the project that includes Indigenous Peoples with lived and living experience as being members of 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, community-based organizations, provincial stakeholders, and service providers from across BC and Canada.

The Advisory Council will aim to exchange knowledge and explore ways to improve our systems for working alongside and creating safety with 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities. Members of Indigenous 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities will take an active role in shaping the project deliverables which will enable organizations and service providers to more skillfully meet their needs from a cultural safety and humility and trauma-informed lens.

“As a First Nations, Two Spirit community-based scholar at the FNHA, I believe that this project will have a tremendous impact, particularly, in ensuring that 2SLGBTQQAI+ individuals/communities are afforded a sense of place and belonging that is well-deserved and much needed – a-kha ta neekanenni miso-an ('we are all equally important')," said Mathew Fleury, FNHA Manager of Research and Knowledge Exchange. "I'd like to especially recognize the Elders, Knowledge Carriers, teachers, and mentors, who have continually reminded me of the importance of 'coming in.'"

The project team and its partners will co-design appropriate sharing materials, educational and training resources, and a MMIWG2SLGBTQQAI+ framework and action plan that is rooted in Indigenous data governance principles. Each will be developed in a manner that ensures relevance and accessibility to 2SLGBTQQAI+ communities as well as the systems and sectors involved in their care; in doing so, this research will ultimately work to improve existing data and expand data related to MMIWG and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

To learn more about the project or to express interest in participating on the Advisory Council, please email the FNHA's Research and Knowledge Exchange team at

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