SPECTRUM News, Survey

Help Us Create a Trans Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Waterloo Region

SPECTRUM Waterloo’s 2SLGBTQ+ / Rainbow Community Space is working to develop a mental health promotion and suicide prevention toolkit for the transgender community in Waterloo Region. We need to hear from members of the trans community in the region, as well as from family members, carers, partners, friends and service providers, to learn more about their perspectives related to trans mental health promotion and suicide prevention.


The purpose of this project is to create a toolkit that reflects both research and community priorities to support trans people in Waterloo Region. In the initial phase of this project, we’re working to understand the perspectives of trans folks, families, carers, friends and service providers, in order to identify key areas of priority and key resources to be incorporated into the toolkit.

Who We Are

Opening their doors in 2012, SPECTRUM is Waterloo Region’s 2SLGBTQ+ / Rainbow community space. SPECTRUM provides a safe space for the region’s Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer community through programing, resources, events and more.

Wisdom2Action (W2A) is a 2SLGBTQ+ owned and operated social enterprise and consulting firm. Through W2A’s commitment to anti-oppression, community engagement, and evidence-based practice, we help civil society organizations and governments facilitate change and strengthen communities. Wisdom2Action is working with SPECTRUM to execute community engagement and support content creation of a toolkit around the mental health promotion and suicide prevention toolkit for the transgender community in Waterloo Region.

Get involved

If you would like to share your perspective on mental health promotion and suicide prevention for the trans community, and ultimately inform this toolkit, please complete the survey here:


If you would like to dive further into your perspectives with us, please consider expressing your interest to participate in a key informant interview here. Honorariums will be provided to all key informants for their time.

If you have any questions about this project, or would like more information, please contact Alyssa at Wisdom 2 Action.

Thank you for your interest and participation in this very important project.

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SPECTRUM is Recruiting EDI Consultants

SPECTRUM recognizes that the organization has work to do to ensure that its  programs and services are accessible and relevant to all members of the community.  One of our four strategic priorities for 2021-2023 is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We want to ensure that we are working within anti-racist and anti-oppressive frameworks. To that end, we are recruiting three part-time consultants to help us audit and evaluate the organization and make recommendations and improvements that will help SPECTRUM move forward.

Please click to download the three postings below:

SPECTRUM acknowledges that this is but the first step in the right direction. These three areas are being targeted to start with based on feedback we received in the community surveys we conducted earlier this year. This project is made possible thanks to our federal LGBTQ2 Community Capacity grant and we intend to continue looking for funding opportunities that will allow us to expand this work in the future.

Please apply with a resume and cover letter by September 10, 2021. Send an email to info@ourspectrum.com with the subject APPLICATION: Consultant.

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Call for submissions: mural proposals for SPECTRUM’s newly expanded space!

Call for submissions: mural proposals for SPECTRUM’s newly expanded space!

Mock-up of SPECTRUM’s new space with highlighted wall where the mural will go

We are calling for artists to paint a mural on a wall in SPECTRUM’s newly expanded space!

Thanks to a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and our federal capacity-building funding, SPECTRUM is proud to be able to engage a local artist to create a mural for our newly expanded space.

We are especially interested in proposals from Black and Indigenous artists in Waterloo Region who have lived experience as a member of LGBTQ2+ communities.

We are looking for proposals that explore intersectionality of identities, and the vibrancy of LGBTQ2+ culture.

  • Proposals should be bright and welcoming to all people.
  • The dimensions of the wall are approximately 10-12′ high x 25′ wide
  • Submissions are due by August 10, 2021
  • We expect the work to be completed in September 2021 (COVID-permitting)
  • Artist honourarium is $5,000 and supply costs are a maximum of $500.

An image of the mural will be used to create postcards, stickers, and t-shirts that will be sold to celebrate SPECTRUM’s 10th anniversary in 2022. The proceeds of sales of these items will be divided between SPECTRUM and the artist. This revenue will go towards the ongoing rent and maintenance of SPECTRUM’s space to ensure that we continue to be able to provide a welcoming space for years to come.

Submission Format

Please send submissions to info@ourspectrum.com

Subject Line: Mural Proposal


  • Name, pronouns
  • Contact Info
  • A sketch of the design you are proposing
  • A short (250 word) description of your proposed piece
  • Link(s) to examples of your previous work online
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Non-Binary People’s Day: Non-binary people aren’t “new” or “trendy”

Non-Binary People’s Day: Non-binary people aren’t “new” or “trendy”

July 14th is Non-Binary People’s Day – a day to celebrate and raise awareness of people who identify outside of the man/woman gender binary. While many people talk about non-binary gender as though it’s something “new” that young people are just doing “for attention”, the fact is that cultures around the world have had traditions of non-binary gender for thousands of years, of which Two-Spirit Indigenous Canadians are just one example.

Non-binary people are often accused of “cramming” our “made-up” genders down “people’s throats”. But our society’s strict gender binary makes it extremely hard for non-binary people to live our lives without constantly having to teach impromptu Gender 101 classes to everyone we encounter.

As a non-binary person who came out as transgender at the start of the pandemic, here are just some of the situations that I have encountered in past year that have forced me to teach strangers about my gender in order to conduct my daily business.

  • Getting misgendered by official documents like school and employment records
  • Being unable to get medical care without being misgendered because Ontario Health Cards do not have a non-binary option
  • Having to misgender myself while job searching because of lack of a non-binary option
  • Nearly always being misgendered by service workers, even while wearing a face mask featuring they/them pronouns
  • Having to choose between remaining silent or correcting a coworker in public when they don’t respect my pronouns
  • Getting left out of Mother’s and Father’s Day activities at my kid’s school
  • Being intentionally misgendered by a childcare worker at my kid’s school
  • Being unable to find therapists qualified to treat non-binary people
  • Having to pay out of pocket for transition-related care because my doctor didn’t know anything about transgender or non-binary medical needs
  • Having to opt out of extended family gatherings because virulently anti-trans family members would be at an event

That’s only a small number of examples. Unfortunately, non-binary people don’t so much “come out” as they become unpaid Gender Studies and Queer Theory professors for everyone around them.

So, what can cisgender (people who are not trans and/or non-binary) do to make it less exhausting to be a non-binary person in our community, you might ask?

  1. You can’t know someone’s gender based on their appearance, so don’t assume you know someone’s gender because of how they look. Being misgendered is painful, but fear of provoking emotional or physical violence keeps many non-binary people from correcting people who misgender them. So instead, avoid gendered greetings like “sir” or “ma’am”, and avoid making references to someone’s gender (IE. “can you help this lady” or “this man is waiting”).
  2. Don’t stare at people you think may be transgender, non-binary, or otherwise gender non-conforming. You don’t need to know the gender of everyone around you. Also, it’s often impossible to tell the difference between someone who is staring because they’re curious and someone who is staring because they’re about to yell at you.
  3. Use Google to educate yourself. There are a wealth of resources online that you can use to educate yourself about the basics of gender and issues faced by transgender and/or non-binary people. Avail yourself of those resources.
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SPECTRUM Launches Survey To Help Inform Transgender Self Harm, Abuse, Suicide Reduction Tool Kit

SPECTRUM Launches Survey To Help Inform Transgender Self Harm, Abuse, Suicide Reduction Tool Kit

Thanks to a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation SPECTRUM Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space in conjunction with Wisdom2Action (W2A) have launched a community survey to help inform the creation of a tool kit for the transgender community aimed at the reduction of gender based violence that lead to abuse, self harm and suicide. Please help us to make this a highly successful project that can greatly benefit our community by participating in our online survey. Please click here  for more details and to participate. Thank you for your support.

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