Submission to the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls (DAWG)
The following submission was prepared by youth activists who are members of Action Canada’s National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) with support from Action Canada and the SRI. The NYAB was formed in 2018 to guide the creation of national and regional campaigns to encourage STI testing among youth communities with a specific focus on racialized newcomers, queer, trans and Two Spirit youth (2SLGBTQIA+), and gay, bi, young men who have sex with young men (gbMSM). The board was set-up with “nothing for us, without us” as the guiding principle of the STI testing campaigns and has since expanded its scope of work to advise Action Canada on various thematic issues and conduct autonomous advocacy.
The 14 NYAB members work to end gender-based discrimination through both their volunteer work on the NYAB, other volunteer and paid work with local, front-line sexual health organizations, national SRHR advocacy coalitions, grassroots activism and the creation of online activist and learning spaces. The submission includes four NYAB member’s experiences being young women and gender diverse youth activists, fighting to dismantle systems of oppression that intersect and exacerbate gender-based violence, including poverty, racism, food insecurity, homophobia and transphobia.
 Two Spirit is a term used by some Indigenous people in North America to self-identify. It is an Indigenous specific term that can only be used by Indigenous people to identify themselves. While the term itself is Anishinaabe based, it has been taken up by different Indigenous nations to describe complex experiences and identities as well as cultural roles and responsibilities. Two Spirit can sometimes refer to sexual orientation and at other times to gender identity, depending on the individual and/or their particular nation. It can also describe roles and responsibilities specific to different Indigenous nations that may or may not be tied to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Like any other term that people use to self-identify, do not assume that just because someone is Indigenous and identifies as LGBTQ+, that they will use the term Two Spirit to identify themselves.