Portland, Oregon, is a city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and is second in the US metro area with the highest percentage of LGBTQIA2+ of people living there. It is also known for its rain, it’s Rose Festival and alternative yet unique style. Some fun events for the community include the annual Portland Pride Festival, Dykes on Bikes, and the Portland Queer Film Festival to name a few.



Portland Oregon is currently on occupied Chinook land, therefore it’s critical that these people get the recognition and respect that they deserve. LGBTQIA2 is not a new “phenomena”  as some might argue, and “the multiplicity of gender and sexuality among native peoples was noted as early as 1540 along the Colorado River by Alarcón, in the 1770s, in Hawaiʻi by Cook’s third expedition, and in the same decade by Russian explorers in Alaska,” ( and the first recorded two-spirit person from the Pacific Northwest was someone named Qánqon-kámek-klaúlha (ca. 1780s–1837). As stated by some elders in the 1930’s, “Qánqon’s original name was One-Standing-Lodge-Pole-Woman. Undistinguished as a child, she grew up to be large and strong. The earliest reference to her is in the journals of David Thompson of the British North West Company, who crossed the Rocky Mountains and established a trading post near the headwaters of the Columbia River in 1807” ( Clearly, there were two-spirit people far before a white cisgender colonizer man recorded it, however, having information like this is important and beneficial towards learning and respecting the past, and the people who experienced a horrible mass genocide. Qánqon had begun

“dressing in men’s clothes and courting women, and she became interested in hunting and warfare. The Kutenai called such women títqattek, which has been translated as “pretending to be a man. After her first war party, she adopted the name Qánqon Kámek Klaúlha, Sitting-in-the-Water-Grizzly. She was also known by the Europeanized name Ignace Onton”(

Despite the misgendering, Qánqon was a strong and intelligent person. It is said that they constantly would be telling stories to camps that they would travel to and pretty soon“Qánqon’s prophecies spread throughout the Pacific Northwest. According to the explorer John Franklin, “many young men put themselves under her command….and at length, she became the principal leader of the tribe, under the designation of ‘Manlike Woman.’” In the early twentieth century, Kutenai elders remembered her as a shaman as well, who on one occasion cured a chief.”(

For more information on the current two-spirit and LGBTQIA communities for Native people in Portland, check out their facebook page



The Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) has put together an extensive timeline on the queer history of Oregon. For a more extensive list, see


Nell Pickerell, or as they referred to themselves, Harry E. Allen, was a male presenting, biologically female person who was notorious for trouble in the 1900s. In this context their true pronouns are unknown, and therefore we will be using they/them pronouns, but the sources will be using she/her pronouns. As far as the trouble they got into, states they constantly ran around with criminals and prostitutes. Harry was also “arrested in Portland on a Mann Act (white slavery) charge. When it is learned that she is a woman dressed as a man, the charge is dropped, but she is prosecuted for vagrancy.”(GLAPN). However the crime they caused was not purely because of their actions, “ The police started picking her up more frequently because of her attire. “She insisted on dressing as a man. And many people were fooled into believing she was a man,” Berger said. “But when they discovered she was, in fact, a woman, she was arrested on vagrancy charges. Or it was illegal for a woman to be unescorted in a saloon. So she was arrested for that.”( It was illegal to wear the clothes they felt comfortable in, and it was illegal for them to identify the way they did. Unfortunately in 1920, “Pickerell died of syphilitic meningitis. She was 40. The headline in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer read, “Nell Pickerell, Man-Girl, Dies.”(


Dr. Marie Equi was an early American medical doctor in the American West devoted to providing care to working-class and poor patients, as well as the first openly lesbian women in Oregon. She was known to regularly provide birth control and abortions at the time when both were illegal in the early 1900s. She became a political activist and advocated civic and economic reforms, including women's right to vote and an eight-hour workday. With courage and conviction unusual for her time, Equi openly enjoyed associations with other women that would readily be called "lesbian relationships" today. For fifteen years she lived with a niece of the Olympia Brewing Company founder, and she adopted an infant girl whom the two women raised. ( She was also very involved with the activism scene in Oregon, as well as California. In 1913, she attended a Portland cannery strike where female laborers argued for better wages, with some making only five cents per hour. Here is an important quote from her after the strike, “she climbed onto a chair in the middle of Portland’s city hall and threatened to “shed blood” if anyone stood in the way of the cause. Her weapon, she snarled, would be a poisoned hat pin to cause a “slow and lingering death.” ( In 1950 Equi fractured her hip in a fall and spent a year at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland and then to a nursing home outside Portland near the town of Gresham. She died at Fairlawn Hospital on July 13, 1952, at 80 years of age. Her obituaries ran in newspapers across the country, including those in Portland, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and in the New York Times. ( 



(economic demographics)

  • The unemployment rate for Native American transgender respondents was 18 percent—more than twice the rate of the general population (7 percent) in 2008 when the survey was fielded.


  • The report shows how racism and economic marginalization can compound with anti-transgender bias. Of survey respondents, 23 percent reported a household income of less than $10,000 per year, compared to 15 percent for transgender people of all races.
    (safety and shelter demographics)


  • Many LGBT and Two-Spirit Natives struggle to find safety: In one state survey, nearly 1 in 3 LGBT Natives (29.4 percent) reported experiencing hate violence—a higher rate than any other LGBT group (Frazer and Pruden, 2010, p.10). Research with Native lesbian, bisexual, and Two-Spirit women revealed a high prevalence of both sexual (85 percent) and physical (78 percent) assault (Lehavot et al., 2009).

(above info from

Annotated Bibliography



Nell Pickerell in the 1900s was a documented perhaps transgender, the person who got into a lot of trouble with the law and was arrested in Portland Oregon for the impression that they were holding hostage a man as a slave when in reality it was the same person.


“LGBTQ America.”, National Park Foundation, 2016,

Qánqon-kámek-klaúlha was the first documented two spirit of the Pacific Northwest.


Newport, Frank, and Gary J Gates. “San Francisco Metro Area Ranks Highest in LGBT Percentage.”, 20 Mar. 2015,

A statistic that states Oregon is the second highest ranked US metro city with 5.4 percentage of LGBT folk living there.


Yandel, Jeannie. “Nell Pickerell, A Trans Man From Seattle's Rough And Tumble Days.” KUOW, 25 Oct. 2018, ble-days.

Nell Pickerell continuously was harassed by the police about their appearance and often arrested for presenting the way they prefer.


Buck, Stephanie, and Stephanie Buck. “An out Lesbian and Abortion Rights Activist, Marie

Equi Got Locked up for Espionage.” Timeline, Timeline, 2 Oct. 2017,

Dr. Marie Equi was the first openly lesbian women in Oregon.

Indian Country Today. “Study: Transgender Native Americans Experience Discrimination at Worst Rates.”, Indian Country Today, 12 Oct. 2012,

Demographics on the Native American LGBT population.