National Runaway Safeline

Banner BLog 1

Why NRS includes 2s in LGBTQIA2S+

The language – and even the acronyms – we commonly use when discussing both sexual orientation and gender identity continually evolve. With this evolution, it’s easy to find yourself confused by these two phrases and their differences. 

As explained by Planned Parenthood, “sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually. Sexual orientations include gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, and asexual. Gender identity isn’t about who you’re attracted to, but about who you ARE — male, [cisgender], genderqueer, etc.” Gender identity focuses on a person’s understanding of their gender, even if it does not match the sex assigned at birth. 

You’ve likely seen the acronym LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) as it relates to gender identity and sexual orientation. While LGBTQ+ is the GLAAD-recommended acronym for this community of people, you may find other organizations use variations like LGBTQI (the “I” represents “Intersex”) or LGBTQIA (“A” represents “Asexual,” not “Ally”).   

In 2020, the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) began using LGBTQIA2S+ to recognize those who identify as “Two-Spirit.” This phrase refers to people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous and Native communities.  

“Two-Spirit” describes the cultural-specific understanding for the diverse gender traditions of Indigenous and Native people. Historically, Two-Spirit people were among the most respected in their communities, often serving as community healers, ceremonial leaders or caregivers to the elderly or orphaned children. This is consistent across many cultures who experienced extreme oppression and intergenerational trauma through periods of colonization. Today, young people who identify as Two-Spirit may suffer from inequalities perpetuated by a legacy of discriminatory laws and policies.  

By utilizing LGBTQIA2S+, NRS hopes to acknowledge underserved people in Indigenous and Native communities.  

You can make a difference in the lives of those who identify as Two-Spirit. It’s easy. We recommend you start by reviewing the trainings, resources and webinars made available by SAMHSA’s Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center, an informative guide by the Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Also, consider making a financial contribution or volunteering for an organization that works to advance the interests of Two-Spirit people. Indigenous Pride LA offers a collection of Two-Spirit societies and organizations across the country.  

The National Runaway Safeline is committed to serving young people who feel unsafe and unsupported or are struggling in any way when it comes to their sexual orientation and gender identity. If you are a young person who identifies as Two-Spirit, we are here for you 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY and 1800RUNAWAY.org. If you represent an organization that offers resources for young Indigenous or Native people, please consider joining our resource database so that we can refer youth to your services.  

Share This Post

Recent Posts

Recognizing January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month

According to the United States Department of State, each year, an estimated 27.6 million people are trafficked worldwide. Despite the prevalence, there are many misconceptions about human trafficking.

Here are some of the common myths and misconceptions and clarifications about why they are inaccurate.

December 2022 Volunteer of the Month

Mallory began volunteering with NRS in 2019 as a way to make an impact in the lives of youth in crisis. Having experienced homelessness as a child, Mallory knows NRS’s mission and programs are extremely important.

October 2022 Volunteer of the Month

A Philadelphia native who today calls Chicago home, Doug has been volunteering with the National Runaway Safeline since the late 1990’s. Like many NRS volunteers, Doug found the organization while looking for opportunities to directly impact the lives of young people in need. He was intrigued by the idea of phone crisis intervention and thought volunteering with NRS would be an exciting and challenging experience.

Scroll to Top

Please join us for the National Runaway Safeline’s (NRS) annual fundraising event, Celebrating the Spirit of Youth.  This year’s event will focus on “writing the next chapter” by showcasing the possibilities and highlighting the importance of activating change for the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness every year.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the NRS website. 

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the NRS website.