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Indigenous Human Rights & LGBTQ+ Leader Alray Nelson honored as a Champion of Pride

The Advocate's Champions of Pride 2021 are the unsung heroes who are making inroads for LGBTQ+ people in their fields of work and in their communities every day despite the risks or challenges. More than 100 changemakers have been named to the list.

“With trans rights and safety under siege across the country, it’s imperative to amplify and elevate the breadth of LGBTQ+ identities,” said the Advocate. “The Champions of Pride print and digital editions and virtual event is our way of honoring the diversity and dedication of so many in the LGBTQ+ community.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s earliest hires was Arlando Teller, an Arizona State RepresentatIve and respected community leader. He now serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs within the Biden Administration.

Deputy Secretary Teller:

“I am proud being an openly gay Navajo man working in a fantastic administration. Diné Pride has given back to our communities and continues to provide scholarships to our young people. Pride is not about one month, but everyday. That’s the inclusive message we want to send to all our youth.”

The pride felt by the team behind Diné Equality is evident in the organization’s name — Diné represents the people.

Diné Equality was founded by 35-year-old Alray Nelson, an Indigenous human rights and education leader who also serves as the LGBTQ+ group’s lead organizer. Having completed the Native American Political Leadership Program at George Washington University, Nelson is adept at organizing. He previously served as the Native American vote organizer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and Native American outreach director for New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 2018 campaign.

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.

“Diné Pride a movement that completely Indigenized and decolonized how Pride organizations operate and influence the communities we serve. My job is done when that one young person says proudly, without prejudice, ‘I am sacred, because that is who we were before Christianity, colonization, and hate.”

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