"As an indigenous queer person, I don’t see that much representation in mainstream media," Jenny Miller said in a phone interview with NBC Out. "That's how this project came about."
Miller, who hails from Nome, Alaska, is Inupiaq, the name for the indigenous inhabitants of Alaska. Her photographic portrait series, "Continuous," features LGBTQ and Two Spirit people who come from tribal backgrounds. The portraits are accompanied by stories from Alaska's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"When I was an undergrad at the University of Washington, I took an indigenous gender roles course," Miller said. "I started to learn about post-colonial genders, sexual orientations, individuals who were often third sex or could shift between the standard binary, and they weren't ridiculed. They were respected as peacekeepers and shamans."
The concept of Two Spirit identity is central to Miller's work. In many indigenous cultures, Two Spirit is a term that describes a person with the spirit of a man and a woman in one body, and they have special roles in their tribal communities.
"I wanted to recognize and celebrate the term Two Spirit," Miller said. "It celebrates this connection to your indigenous culture. Whether it’s advocacy work or something else, you bring balance to the community. There is something tied to it. I wanted to help educate people on that term."
Fun fact: "When I was eight years old, I learned how to ride my first dirt bike."
What does pride mean to me: “Pride is believing in yourself. I believe that being queer is one part of you that makes you whole, and if you don’t recognize it, you will not be happy. Pride is being out, and being an advocate for others who aren’t able to be out right now. We’re just everyday humans, fighting back the ridicule that we go through."