I’m so thrilled to share with you Morgan Kagesheongai’s comic on the complex intersection of hair, gender, and culture as a Two-Spirit Ojibwe! Being Anishinaabe myself, seeing this rad Woodland art style on our site is such a DREAM! The expressiveness of the lines infuses full panels with feelings in ways I don’t often find in other art.

While the little Two-Spirit here is trying to reconcile their gender expression and their cultural and spiritual expression regarding their hair, the dilemma they face is something many people experience in other contexts: What do you do when two ways you want to represent yourself conflict? Who do you turn to for answers? Can there even be a “right” answer? Learning to sit more comfortably in this in-between space of consideration is a good exercise for us all. Thank you so much, Morgan, for providing such great representation!

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↓ Comic Transcript
Page 1
IMAGE: Indigenous art-inspired illustrations of two figures. Two-Spirit has a braid down to their shoulders while Waskwane has a short, curly hair cut.
TWO-SPIRIT (crying on the floor): boo hoo hoo
WASKWANE: oh? what's wrong, little two-spirit?
TWO-SPIRIT: it's just awful waskwane. everyday, i feel like the world looks at my braids and sees me as a kwe
WASKWANE: oh? but what's wrong with that?
TWO-SPIRIT: i want to be seen as a niin! i'm a two-sprirt after all!
WASKWANE: well, you could always cut your braid!
TWO-SPIRIT (offended): uh, no waskwane, i cannot just "cut my braid". my braid is an extremely important part of my spiritual identity as an ojibwe. it represents my commitment to my culture and its teachings. but lots of ojibwe have short hair!

Page 2
WASKWANE (sharing a growing flower between the two of them): would you call them less spiritually committed?
TWO-SPIRIT (now growing a leafy vine by themself): of course not! everyone's journey with spiritualism and culture is different. it's just that i feel most connected to my own journey when i have my braid and i don't want to lose that
WASKWANE:even though it's causing you to feel at odds with your gender identity?
TWO-SPIRIT (a single leaf grows from their finger): yes
WASKWANE: goodness little two-spirit, that is a lot! those are two very important aspects of your identity in conflict with one another. i don't know if there's anyone who can say which decision is the right one...
TWO-SPIRIT: so then what do i do?
WASKWANE: well, i have to ask the obvious: have you tried reaching out to an elder yet? [Waskwane's stomach grumbles "hungryyy"]

TWO-SPIRIT: well... normally i would, but i've had both good and bad experiences broaching this topic with them. some elders really understand, and soe don't. i do want to sit down with one eventually, but i don't think i' ready yet.
WASKWANE: what about a two-spirit elder? wouldn't they be most equipped to help put things into perspective for you?
TWO-SPIRIT: ah! gosh you're totally right! and i do know someone, but... they left to help indigenous youth in the city, and are hard to ake contact with.
WASKWANE (Stomach continues to grumble "hungryyy"): but not impossible!
TWO-SPIRIT: well, no, not impossible
WASKWANE (finding an apple tree ad proceeding to pick the fruit): they'd probably really like it if you called. but you know, even if some elders don't understand your questions about gender identity... having them ear can still help

Page 4:
IMAGE: Waskwane climbs the apple tree, picking fruits and passing them to Two-Spirit
WASKWANE: being with them while they navigate their own spiritual journey... can really help you to make sense of yours... without having to say anything.
TWO-SPIRIT: i think i get it...
WASKWANE: and on the flip side... when you need to affirm your journey with gender... the lgbt+ community is a great resource! They can help you connect with helpful resources and other two-spirits
TWO SPIRIT: ...wait so...

Page 5
TWO-SPIRIT (exasperated): the braid! do i cut it? or keep it? which is it!?
WASKWANE (eating an apple): well... i don't think there's a right or wrong answer, so i can't say! even with input from others, you'll have to decide which path is right for you on your ow.
TWO-SPIRIT (distressed): aaaa
IMAGE: flowers and vines grow around and through the two characters as they walk
WASKWANE: but that doesn't mean you'll be alone, little two-spirit. whatever decision you choose to make, you can bet that as sure as apples grow on trees... the anishinaabe and lgbtq+ community will be there to support you in that decision, always