Ask Elise: Queer BIPOC Resources in Minnesota and the Midwest

Confused woman looking at her laptop.
Photo courtesy of BigStock/fizkes

Ask Elise is an advice column meant for suggestions regarding LGBTQ+ community member dilemmas of any kind. If I am not qualified to answer your question (regarding issues for transgender individuals, people of color, etcetera), I will ask someone who is qualified and cite them. Your question is equally important and may help another community member. If you have a question, please submit it to [email protected] listing your pronouns and pseudonym if desired. If you need someone to talk to for more urgent or serious matters, please consider using the following hotlines:

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: (888) 843-4564

Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860: Trans Lifeline is a trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive.

Dear Elise,

Lots of queer events and spaces are dominated by white, queer men whom I can’t really relate to the queer experiences of as an Indigenous trans woman. Could you run a column on queer BIPOC resources in Minnesota and the Midwest to help people like me find relatable queer experiences and spaces that aren’t centered around white feminism and queerness?



Dear Fern,

Excellent question! I would say my overall tip based on conversations with community members and experiences in Indigenous spaces as a white Sámi woman is that finding smaller affinity groups or queer individuals is not terribly hard when you attend BIPOC events. Personally, I find new queer Indigenous friends quite easily by being part of communities like Art Shelf by Willard MaleBear in Minneapolis and Indigenous Roots in Saint Paul. I found a bunch of new artist friends at the Earth Day art market at Indigenous Roots. I wear my beaded bee earrings every day to represent my grandpa (by @nopalli.beads) and I proudly display my MILF Man I Love Frybread pin on my backpack (by @awohalidesigns). You can find features of more local artists on my Instagram for Siida Sundays (@decomprose, siida is a Sámi word for community).

My friend who wishes to go by AGT here (he/him) is a Mexican trans guy and had some great reflections on vetting resources. For Latine resources specifically, he approaches spaces with caution when he sees the phrase “la raza” anywhere in the organization. Literally, the phrase means “the race.” It has controversial roots, but some folks have chosen to reclaim it as a term with a sense of community that transcends race or ethnicity. That’s not for everyone, so I don’t blame him for his hesitancy. For readers that are unfamiliar with the term Latine instead of Latinx or Latino, it is a gender-inclusive term that is compatible with an evolution in Spanish grammar. I am an advanced Spanish speaker, email me if you have any questions.

AGT then asks questions like, “How do they collaborate with local recent immigrant communities or communities of different races? What are their language capabilities outside of Spanish since not all Latine people speak Spanish? Who does their funding come from? How do they sustain themselves and why? What are their long term goals?” AGT recently expressed discontent with the food shelf of a local Latine organization because they didn’t have basics like masa harina, tomatillos, or seasonings. Nothing can substitute for masa harina while cooking, so it surprised him that they did not offer this common ingredient. This begs the questions of who they collaborate with and where does their funding come from.

As far as specific resources that I am aware of, RECLAIM has a queer BIPOC support group. The diverse staff at the Aliveness Project are a good resource for finding smaller affinity groups. The Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center hosts a Two Spirit/Native LGBTQ+ program to create space for celebration of cultural teachings that hold Two Spirits in high regard. The goal of having this space is to challenge mainstream biases that perpetuate health disparities for Two Spirit people in particular.

TIGERRS is a group of dedicated and accomplished activities with 50+ years of combined organizing experience devoted to delivering quality, robust, and consistent direct services in Minnesota through intergenerational community and teamwork. They have two youth programs called Little TIGERRS and Teen TIGERRS. Currently, they are developing intersex care training for healthcare professionals. TIGERRS plans accessible, inclusive, and intergenerational community events like dance parties and empowerment/self-defense workshops. TIGERRS has an impressive document listing trans-friendly resources all over Minnesota that includes restaurants, clothing stores, swaps, BIPOC resources/events, hang out spaces, activism opportunities, clubs and bars, youth or family organizations, religious organizations, hair and nails, pride, legal aid, disability, insurance, homelessness, low-income, non-transitional body modification or tattoo, gyms, sports teams, home improvement, mechanics, schools, mental health, addiction, primary care, disability, and dental. TIGERRS is fiscally sponsored by Family Tree Clinic, which provides comprehensive sexual health care and education.

I hope these tips and resources help you and readers! You are not alone in this question.



Lavender Magazine Logo White

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436
©2024 Lavender Media, Inc.

Accessibility & Website Disclaimer