11th Anniversary of the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project

Monday, March 14 is the 11th Anniversary of the founding of the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project.  Here is some background about this online resource.

Since 1971, Jim Parrott (a professional librarian) has been collecting documents like newsletters, posters, event programmes, etc. that were produced by local rainbow organizations or community members for the rainbow communities in Waterloo-Wellington.   After repeated requests from community leaders to create a public online archive of these documents, Jim set up the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project on March 14, 2011.  Because there were many gaps in his personal collection of documents, Jim obtained copyright permissions to digitize and publicize the collections of several Waterloo-Wellington organizations, including GLOW, Guelph Queer Equality, Rainbow Chorus of Waterloo-Wellington, tri-Pride Community Association, Rainbow Reels Film Festival – and similarly for some publications produced by individuals; examples include Pink Triangle Community Calendar (PTCC) [1989-1996], Outlook Magazine [1995-1998], and The Voice [1998-2003] (not yet digitized).

The central feature is the digital Library which you can find here.  The Project includes other useful resources as well, like the Chronology of Events near the bottom of the top page of the Project.  

Jim had to put most work on the Historical Project on hold after he took on the role of SPECTRUM’s Executive Director in 2014.  Now that he has stepped back from that position for a full year, he is keen to see further work proceed in documenting the history of our community.  We expect 2022 to be a year of significant development.  Part of that work will be done in conjunction with a student who is joining SPECTRUM for a placement of a couple of months,  We are also working to find additional support for this work over the summer.  Look for announcements about further developments.

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The Grand River Rainbow Historical Project is collecting local coming out stories

Banner for the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project’s Coming Out Stories

As part of SPECTRUM’s Grand River Rainbow Historical Project, we are collecting local coming out stories! We believe oral history is extremely important so we are calling for anyone whose coming out story took place in Waterloo Region to create a short video that will live on the Grand River Rainbow Historical Project website.

Our goal is to collect at least one coming out story for every year, going back as far as we can. These stories will catalogue the wide variety of experiences that 2SLGBTQ+ people have had over the decades. Some of them will inspire, others will be cautionary tales, but they all help to make up the fabric of our community and they are all a valuable part of our history.

We plan to launch our Coming Out Stories page on October 11, 2021 — Coming Out Day. First celebrated in 1988, October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day to celebrate our coming out stories, and also a day to advocate for a world where everyone feels safe and free to live their authentic lives.

If you would like to be part of this project here are the details:

  1. Record a short video (1-5 minutes) wherein you share:
  1. Your name (not necessarily your full name)
  2. Your identity (for example, I am a trans, non-binary person)
  3. The year you came out
  4. And any details you’d like to share about your story
  1. Send an email to scott@ourspectrum.com that includes your video as an attachment, or that includes a link to download your video from a Dropbox, Google Drive, or similar.
  2. Your email must also include an attached video waiver form completed and signed by you.

Before you agree to participate here are some things to consider:

Coming out is always an extremely personal and individual process. 2SLGBTQ+ people frequently come out many times over the course of their lives, sometimes even daily.

You are the only person who really knows if and when it’s the right time to come out, how, and to whom. By sharing your coming out story on video and allowing it to be part of this project you will be forever out to the world. Anyone might potentially see or share your story.

Be sure to consider your personal safety and well-being before agreeing to be part of this project. If you are dependant on someone for housing or financial support, how will that person react to your coming out story? How would your employer react?

SPECTRUM encourages anyone who wants to come out to do so, but to do so in their own time and way. This project may not be for everyone.

If thinking about your coming out story or the process of making a video about it is difficult, you should consider talking about it with a safe person you know or perhaps a counsellor. You could connect with the OK2BME program at KW Counselling Services to find a counsellor.

Tips for Making Your Video

If you are ready to be part of the project, great! Here are some tips to consider when making your video.

  1. Do so in a quiet place, preferably indoors. The sounds of people talking in the background or outdoor nature noises might distract from your story.
  2. Do so in good quality lighting.
  3. Consider what can be seen in your background. Is there anything that you would not like people to see or that might reveal your location?
  4. Please record your video in a horizontal format. If you’re using a smartphone, simply flip it horizontally.
Examples of don’t (record vertically) versus do (record horizontally)

If you have any questions about the project please contact scott@ourspectrum.com.

Download the video waiver form here.

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