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Meet the Executive Director of Diné Pride 2021

Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Women to be honored, Navajo Nation will reunite post-Pandemic


Alray Nelson is the founder of Diné Equality and served the last three years as the Board Chairman of the Equality New Mexico Foundation. He is co-founder of Diné Pride and serves as its executive director. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development recently recognized him as a Top 40 Native American Leader Under 40 and he is a recipient of the Naastiliid Rainbow Champion Award. Alray will continue to be an New Mexico education administrator for the Navajo Nation and provide overall leadership for the Diné Pride organization.


A new slate of LGBTQIA+ leaders and allies were selected to serve as the Board of Directors to coordinate this historic event. They include several nationally-renowned Indigenous human rights leaders, Native women entrepreneurs, film producers & artisans, LGBTQ+ titleholders from around Indian Country, respected Two-Spirit youth leaders, and professionals in the social work, marketing & economics field.


In a press release from Diné Pride Executive Director, Alray Nelson said,

Our Indigenous mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters are to be uplifted, protected, and honored as the matriarchs of our Sovereign Nations. Through their leadership, we are resilient. The new leaders for Diné Pride will fight for the sacred equality of all our relatives and through our theme, uplift the voices of our women this year.

Diné Pride will honor our Indigenous Women who led our movements & are the changemakers for our Sovereign Nations. We acknowledge the work of our women in Indian Country who have been at the forefront protecting our sacred knowledge, passing forth our oral tradition, and raising resilient communities.


Diné Pride Academic Director, Nicole Johnny added,

The “Sacred Resilience of our Indigenous Women” highlights the matriarchs around us. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters form one of the foundational aspects of Diné society, especially as we are a matrilineal one. I’m proud that Diné Pride chose this theme because the stories of our women need to be heard. We need to protect, listen, and use our voices to bring equitable change for everyone.




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Diné teachings tell us that both sexes are important to the survival & perpetuation of our people. At one time, our people also acknowledged a third or multiple genders in our society— who are often called the nádleehí. The imposition of modern democracy has led to our loss of memory about the inclusion of women & our LGBTQ relatives in nation-building.

We are changing the narrative because our LGBTQ+ relatives have always been sacred.

© 2013 Coalition for Diné Equality. All Rights Reserved