Aging with Pride

//Aging with Pride
Aging with Pride2019-05-08T20:44:05-05:00

Information About Us

Aging with Pride (AWP) is a committee of SPECTRUM, Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space.  AWP is committed to creating events, supports and providing education in response to the needs of our community. We work with local senior serving organizations to make them aware of the needs of LGBTQ+ older adults. To that end, we advocate and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that new and existing supports or services are inclusive and responsive.

Waterloo-Wellington are communities in which LGBTQ+ older adults live healthy, meaningful, and fulfilling lives, free of stigma.

Aging with Pride is committed to creating events, supports and providing education in response to the needs of our community. We work with local senior serving organizations to make them aware of the needs of LGBTQ+ older adults. To that end, we advocate and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that new and existing supports or services are inclusive and responsive.

LGBTQ+ older adults have played an integral role in the progression of rights for queer communities over the previous several decades and, as such, have developed valuable skills and knowledge that can be harnessed to continue to educate and advocate for a better quality of life as they age. To this end, Aging with Pride aims to highlight and tackle systemic barriers that the LGBTQ+ aging population face by:

•Increasing opportunities for social interaction, especially for those without partners or without many friends;
•Increasing access to personal advocates in legal and health matters;
•Increasing understanding and sensitivity on the part of staff in hospitals, care facilities and support services.

On 2013, October 22 (Tuesday), SPECTRUM hosted an organizational meeting for a Working Group on LGBTQ Seniors Needs in the area. The goal of the Working Group was to create a set of detailed concrete recommendations for (1) programs and services that will best meet the needs of local LGBTQ seniors, and (2) how to begin implementing the proposed programs and services.

At its second meeting, 2013, November 21 (Thursday), the group renamed itself: Aging With Pride – Serving LGBTQ communities in Waterloo/Wellington, also known as Aging With Pride for short.

We prepare and deliver LGBTQ+ Cultural Awareness Training sessions to staff and administrators at senior-serving institutions such as: community centres with a significant senior population, retirement homes, home-care services, long-term-care facilities and hospices.

Aging with Pride’s mission is put into practice by a steering committee. The committee generally meets on the on the second Wednesday of the month at SPECTRUM. The committee uses consensus as its decision-making process.

Aging with Pride’s steering committee is made up of a caring group of older LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies who work to carry out the mission of AWP.

In addition to steering committee members, AWP’s LGBT+ cultural awareness trainers assist the committee in delivering workshops to the various organizations requesting education. Some steering committee members fulfill this role as well.

All new membership applications for those wishing to join AWP, either as steering committee members or cultural awareness trainers, must apply through SPECTRUM’s volunteer application process.  Once consent is gained, current AWP steering committee members will review the application(s) of prospective members and give feedback to Spectrum accordingly. If the AWP members are in agreement of the prospective member’s admittance, they will be invited to the next meeting to see if they’re interested in staying.

If one or more current AWP committee member objects to the prospective member’s addition, a discussion on the matter will be added as an agenda item for the next meeting (without the prospective member present). After discussion, AWP will try to reach a consensus on the issue. A vote will be held in the event that a consensus is unable to be reached. In the event of a vote, a simple majority of the votes will determine if the prospective member is added to the committee or not.

For a full list of current AWP steering committee members, as well as cultural awareness trainers, please visit

  • We have established a Facebook discussion forum – Aging With Pride in Grand River Country.
  • We have initiated a discussion and social group for older LGBTQ adults.  We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evenings of the month, from 7 – 9 PM at SPECTRUM.  For more information see our webpage

2017, March 1

SPECTRUM was notified by Service Canada that we had been awarded a $25,000.00 grant from the New Horizons for Seniors Program(funded by Employment and Social Development Canada) for a project that SPECTRUM’s Aging with Pride Committee would be undertaking to reduce isolation of local LGBTQ seniors, especially those in institutional settings. The contract for the project runs from 2017, March 30 to 2018, March 29.

2016 May

SPECTRUM received confirmation from Mario Sergio, Ontario Minister Responsible for Senior Affairs that the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat had awarded SPECTRUM a $3,000.00 grant as part of the Seniors Community Grant Program for a project that SPECTRUM’s Aging with Pride Committee would be undertaking to improve its set of training modules to be used in our cultural-awareness training sessions in local senior-serving institutions, like long-term care facilities, retirement homes, home-care services, meals-on-wheels services and seniors community centres. The project ran from 2016, August 12 to 2017, March 31. The most important outcomes were considerably improved training modules and the creation and printing of a flyer describing the services and programs of the Aging with Pride Committee.

SPECTRUM Prime – An Older Adults Group

SPECTRUM Prime is a discussion and social group for older LGBTQ adults.  We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evenings of the month, from 7 – 9 PM at SPECTRUM.  For more information see our webpage

Aging with Pride Cultural-Awareness Training Sessions

If your agency/organization would like the Aging with Pride Committee to deliver an LGBTQ+ Cultural-Awareness Training Session at your facility, please fill out the following Aging with Pride Pre-Presentation Questionnaire and send it as an email attachment to us at

Committee Members

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I am a long-time resident of Kitchener.  I was 18 in the Summer of Love. I’m from back in the days of the Back Door, the Half and Half Club, the men’s beverage rooms at the Walper and the American Hotels, the Bridgeport dances and The Robin’s Nest. I attended Waterloo Lutheran University and was a member of  GLOW in the early ’70’s. I have been involved with the  Rainbow Community for many years. I am retired and spend some of my spare time as the personnel valet for a wonderful golden retriever named Hogan.
Stevie Forbes-Roberts (She/They) is a member of Aging with Pride, a committee of Spectrum Waterloo Wellington. Currently Stevie is pursuing a Master’s in Social Work degree at Laurier University and is part of a research team documenting health inequities and microaggressions for trans identified people navigating the health system. They are also the writer/creator of Cacophony and Carrot Sticks (, a blog for single parents raising social justice minded kids. Stevie is the co-chair of the Guelph Pride Committee and a member of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition Equity Committee. Stevie has worked in sexual health education for the last 20 years as an owner at Come As You Are, a Toronto based co-operative sex shop and as part of the education team at HIV/AIDS Resources & Community Health. Stevie hopes to continue a life of activism, sex positivity and collaboration that includes advocating in the years to come for inclusive and positive spaces for our aging community.

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On 1971, March 8, Jim Parrott attended the first meeting of the Waterloo Universities’ Gay Liberation Movement, now called GLOW; he was actively involved there from 1971-1981, and from 1991-2000.  He helped organize the 20th anniversary of GLLOW in March 1991. He helped set up the GLOW Discussion Group in January 1992, and served as a facilitator in that group and others until he left GLOW around 2000. He was involved in setting up the GlowList and the Rainbow List in the mid-1990s. He played a part in preparing for GLLOW’s 25th anniversary in March 1996.

He also served on the Regional Pride Committee (now called tri-Pride Community Association) from its inception in 1996 until about 2000.  He married his Sweetheart, William Pensaert, on 2003, June 14.   On 2011, March 14, he set up the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project and two months later joined the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition.  He has been actively involved in the work of SPECTRUM – Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space since it opened its doors in August 2012.  He has been Executive Director of SPECTRUM since 2014.

Dianne is a founding, and current, member of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Rainbow Nursing Interest Group, serving as Co-Chair for 5 years.  She was also active on the Public Health Alliance for LGBTTTIQQ Equity, a working group of the Ontario Public Health Association, facilitating Positive Space training in various Ontario communities.  Dianne retired in 2012 from Region of Waterloo Public Health where she participated on the Access & Equity Committee and Regional Municipality of Waterloo’s Dialogue on Diversity (LGBT).  In retirement, Dianne continues to advocate for LGBTQ cultural competence in health care settings as a member of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre Positive Space Advisory Committee.

Ben Warren is the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Coordinator at ACCKWA

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welcomes the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer community (for definitions see About Us), their families, friends and allies. We serve Waterloo Region, including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge & area.

Donate to SPECTRUM today!

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Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space

Drop-In Hours: Fridays 7-10 PM, and Saturdays 2-5 PM

283 Duke Street West, Unit 210
(corner of Duke St W and Breithaupt)
Kitchener, Ontario Canada N2H 3X7
Telephone: 226 779-9695

A view of the entrance to the Boehmer Box Building at 283 Duke Street, Kitchener, where SPECTRUM makes it's home.

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