Partial Transcript: We’re live, and I’m here. This is Connie Merasty and I’m here to interviewing Vanessa. Okay Vanessa, is this your first time at a gathering?
Segment Synopsis: Introduction of the interviewer, Connie Merasty, and the interviewee Vanessa Tait, at the Two-Spirit Gathering in Beausejour, Manitoba on August 5th, 2018.
Partial Transcript: Well I haven’t ever attended a Two-Spirit gathering, and I’ve attended all other like different gatherings, and I just find that while attending other gatherings that I’ve attended in the community, there’s really no ... what I find is like finding my place in the circle, right?
Segment Synopsis: Tait reveals that it is her first gathering, and that she is constantly seeking information regarding two-spirited roles, as well as her identity. Tait explains how she had to decide between the Two-Spirit gathering and a gathering in her home community.
Partial Transcript: When I first discovered my identity as who I am as a Two-Spirited, the first sexuality that I identified was lesbian. Growing up, I seen gay men in my community, but I never really seen any lesbians.
Segment Synopsis: Tait describes the labels she identified herself with as she was growing up. She describes discovering new terms and her struggles with trying to explain to others who she is. She describes the conflict within herself as she conducted a woman’s ceremony.
Partial Transcript: For myself, like I said I’m from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. I grew up there most of my life. That is my childhood community, and that is where I feel my connection to the land, to the space, and to the place, right? That’s where my family is. I could say that for myself, community has been - like this, this is a community.
Segment Synopsis: Tait discusses how the definition of community changed when she was disowned. She found community in the two-spirit world, in her moon sisters, in university, and in Winnipeg.
Partial Transcript: In terms of safety -- the way I define, I guess being more safe is basically places where I don’t have to have fear, or where ... I really believe in my gut instinct, so when I walk in spaces or different areas and I feel like “ah this just doesn’t feel right”.
Segment Synopsis: Tait explains what safety means to her. She feels safest when there is no judgment and where she can be herself.
Partial Transcript: Like I think one topic that’s really -- for me – I get embarrassed about it, but in the same sense, I’m like its things that have come across that I know that have affected me, and is because of who I am as a two-spirited person.
Segment Synopsis: Tait describes the feelings of hopelessness in being disowned at such a young age. Tait then reviews her negative experiences concealing part of her identity as a Two-Spirit person to make others feel comfortable.
Partial Transcript: I’ve been a part of different circles as her, and I said “you know what, this is really interesting”, I said “how two-spirited people aren’t accepted in so many spaces”.
Segment Synopsis: Tait reflects on the acceptance she had received at the gathering, compared to previous gatherings where there were no specific relations to two-spiritedness. Tait talks about her newly found acceptance of herself as a two-spirit person and how she will no longer hide that part of her identity.
Partial Transcript: So, in my story, I did mention when I first embraced being two-spirited, I was disowned by my family. However, my family has now ... I do ... we’ve got a connection again.
Segment Synopsis: Tait recounts reconnecting with her family, and that the disconnection provided an opportunity for her to meet other people and to truly find peace within herself.