#Native Americans in the U.S. Government# Do you feel like you are different than others?
“I resist the motivation that I can somehow only be accepted if I’m part of the mainstream, if I assimilate.” Native American politician Susan Allen is gay and identifies as “two-spirited,” an umbrella term used by some Indigenous groups to describe a person whose gender and/or spiritual person doesn’t fit standard male/female roles.
She knew from a young age that she was different but had no plans to be anyone other than herself. As a child she resented the imposition of school dress codes, “The only rule imposed on boys was that they tuck in their shirts, but girls had to wear dresses. When my younger brother and I were not in school, people thought we were brothers—this always made me smile.”
As an adult, she remained confident in her identity. Allen is Lakota, a subgroup of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and in 2012 when she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, became the first openly lesbian Native American to win election in any state legislature.
Outside of politics, Allen practices law as an attorney specializing in serving Indian tribes, helping them draft tribal laws in a wide range of areas. #NAHM# #AmericanDiversity# #Native-Americans in U.S. Government#