Rainbow Immigrant and Refugee Services

SPECTRUM’s Immigrant and Refugee Services consist of three components: (1) Rainbow Multicultural Connect – a social group where people from diverse cultures gather together to discuss what it is like to be LGBTQ+ across the world, (2) Converse and Connect Group, and (3) a pool of volunteers who can assist LGBTQ-identified newcomers in various ways.

Rainbow Multicultural Connect is a social gathering hosted by SPECTRUM on the 2nd Sunday afternoon (3 – 5 PM) of the month The main purpose of these social gatherings is for us to learn from each other as a diverse community. We are not only members of the Rainbow community but we also come from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

We have activities and discussions that allow us to get to know one another, learn from each another and share about our experiences.

It is our hope that this time will not only be educational, but that it will also build friendships and connections within the community. We hope that these monthly meetings will help reduce the isolation that LGBTQ-identified newcomers experience and help them expand their network of support.

Our goal is to ensure that the majority of people attending are in fact LGBTQ-identified. Some of the resource people present, however, may not be LGBTQ-identified, but are present because they are allies who bring special expertise. Allies are welcome, but are expected to undergo sensitivity training prior to attending the group.

The dates, times, and locations of the Rainbow Multicultural Connect social evening are listed (as with all SPECTRUM events) on the SPECTRUM Calendar.

Converse and Connect Group.  This event is not specific to newcomers, but we believe that many newcomers may be experiencing a new freedom in Canada that they may not have had in their previous country and processing this new freedom with others in the Rainbow community could be helpful.

The first half of each meeting will focus on the advertised topic; the last half will be an open discussion. We meet on the fourth Wednesdays of the month. If there is enough demand, we will see if we can add a second meeting each month. NOTE: This is a cell-phone-free environment. During each group meeting we require that participants put their phones away, and focus on what is happening in the group – out of respect for other participants.

Volunteers to Assist Newcomers

SPECTRUM maintains a pool of volunteers who can be called upon to help particular newcomers when a need arises. Since we want to be as LGBTQ-centred as possible, we are trying to ensure that most volunteers are LGBTQ-identified, but we also welcome other people with particular expertise – such as legal experience. If, for example, a newcomer needs help getting somewhere in town, a volunteer can accompany the newcomer on public transit, or give the person a ride. Volunteers can also provide assistance in English-language instruction in an LGBTQ-centred environment. Volunteers can go with newcomers to act as advocates at medical appointments, etc.

To access these services, to volunteer, or to learn more about these services please contact us at: RainbowNewcomers@gmail.com