Thank You to the Kitchener Sports Association

We’d like to thank the Kitchener Sports Association for a grant of $3,500 that will allow us to purchase sports equipment for our 2SLGBTQIA+ Multi-Sport Drop-In!

The Multi-Sport Drop-In is totally free and is run out of the Downtown Community Centre and Stanley Park Community Centre in Kitchener. Each week we play a variety of sports like badminton, pickleball, volleyball, and basketball. From time to time we invite guest coaches for special events like Muay Thai and yoga.

Almost every participant that comes, comes because they want to meet other queer folks and move in a space exclusively for queer folks. Participants are at all levels and abilities. We have some people who are brand new to sports, while others are trying out for national sports teams. We’ve created a space that allows all abilities to play and have fun.

We’re also starting a Queer Run Club! Stay tuned for details.

Read More

Multi-Sport Drop-In Expansion

Since April 2022, we have been partnering with the Stanley Park Community Centre to offer the 2SLGBTQIA+ Multi-Sport Drop-In on Saturdays. This program has run seasonally with short breaks of a few weeks between sessions. It’s been extremely successful with up to 20 participants attending each week.

As announced earlier this month, we have received a grant from Sport Canada to expand this program and conduct a robust evaluation of it in partnership with the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. We will now be able to offer a second Multi-Sport Drop-In on Saturday afternoons at the Downtown Community Centre in Kitchener. We hope that participants in these sessions will help us by completing evaluation surveys. This grant also includes funds that will allow us to provide Rainbow Diversity Training to as many as 200 City of Kitchener employees who work with the community centres.

In our ongoing efforts to provide more programming in Cambridge, we have partnered with Kinbridge Community Association to run a third Multi-Sport Drop-In on Saturday afternoons in Cambridge!

Spectrum is very grateful to our partners at the City of Kitchener community centres, Kinbridge Community Association, and Wilfrid Laurier University for helping us make this programming possible. We are also grateful to Sport Canada for recognizing the importance of creating opportunities for 2SLGBTQIA+ people to participate in sports and recreation.

Please Note: Though these Drop-Ins take place on most Saturdays, they do not take place EVERY Saturday. Please be sure to check our calendar for details.

Read More

Lyle S. Hallman Foundation Children’s Initiatives Grant

We are pleased to share that Spectrum is receiving a two-year Children’s Initiatives grant from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation to create programming for 2SLGBTQIA+ children aged 4-12!

With the Youth Under the Rainbow program, we will be partnering with Kitchener Public Library, Waterloo Public Library, Idea Exchange, Region of Waterloo Library, and Artshine to provide storytime and craft programing for 2SLGBTQIA+ children across Waterloo Region.

The grant of $152,493 over two years will allow us to hire a program coordinator to lead this work in the new year. You can view the posting here.

We are extremely grateful to the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation for their generous support!

Read More
WAGE Grant

2021 in Review: We’ve Come So Far…

In January of 2021, SPECTRUM embarked on Project Excelsior, a landmark capacity-expanding project, which was made possible by a generous grant from the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund. This project was envisioned and planned by our former ED, Jim Parrott, and former Trans Services Coordinator Melissa Kennedy, who spearheaded the grant application process to secure a transformational grant of $279,782.

Thanks to that grant, the Project Excelsior team as well as SPECTRUM’s volunteers, Board, and community partners have made incredible strides to expand our ability to affirm and support the well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ people in Waterloo Region.


From August 2020 – July 2021, SPECTRUM had:

  • More than 2000 participants across 796 Zoom Sessions, totaling 344,345 minutes of Zoom sessions!
  • An average of 180 Zoom participants each month
  • 270 people participated in our RDT pilot workshops
  • 178 people attended virtual Pride events
  • Through our partnership with OK2BME, 129 counseling sessions were provided for 48 clients between August 2020 and June 2021

In addition, we’ve added seven new programs to our roster, including:

  • A 2SLGBTQ+ Book Club in partnership with Waterloo Public Library
  • A Queer Crafting Circle in partnership with Button Factory Arts
  • A 2SLGBTQ+ Yoga Group in partnership with The Branches
  • A 2SLGBTQ+ Mindful Movement dance therapy group
  • A Social Networking Group for Young 2SLGBTQ+ Adults aged 25-40
  • A 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Peer Support Group for ages 18-25
  • A Transgender Peer Support Group for Cambridge

And we’re not finished yet! We know there is still a need for programming for Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, programming for people with underrepresented genders and orientations, and programming for children, parents, and families. We’re currently working with consultants from local Black and Asian communities to help us understand the needs of those communities and how we can create programming and spaces that are accessible and relevant for them.

New SPECTRUM Resources

The SPECTRUM team has also worked hard to create and launch the following resources for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and their allies in 2021:

And, just wait until we welcome you back to our new physical space which is more than double the size and will be decorated with a mural by Trisha Abe…

We need support to keep going!

We’ve accomplished so much this past year, but there’s so much more than needs to be done! We hope that you’ll include SPECTRUM in your year-end giving to help us continue to keep our doors open and to allow us to provide programs and services that have been life-saving for some members of our community.

Click here to make a donation to SPECTRUM today!

Read More

Grant enables SPECTRUM to launch new free social groups for 2SLGBTQ+ adults!

Thanks to a grant from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Fund and the Uvaro Community Fund, SPECTRUM is proud to be able to present a series of new social groups for 2SLGBTQ+ adults at no cost to participants!

Earlier this year, we conducted a series of surveys to learn more about what people like about our programs and services, and where people felt there were gaps. The feedback we received helped us hone in on a few key areas for new programming. These new groups will be run as pilots for one year. During that time, we’ll collect feedback from the participants to help us decide whether we should continue to run them going forward.

2SLGBTQ+ Book Club:

2SLGBTQ+ Book Club Banner with SPECTRUM and WPL logos

In partnership with Waterloo Public Library, the 2SLGBTQ+ Book Club will give participants the opportunity to discuss books by 2SLGBTQ+ authors, or books that explore 2SLGBTQ+ experiences. We will usually meet on the last Monday of each month at 7pm at the Main Library (35 Albert St, Waterloo, ON N2L 5E2). We have pre-selected books for the first four months but will be accepting suggestions for future titles from participants.

The first four books:

  • September 27, 2021 – Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family by Amanda Jette Knox
  • October 25, 2021 – This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
  • November 29, 2021 – I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
  • December 20, 2021 – Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

In order to ensure compliance with COVID protocols participants will need to register in advance to attend. You will be able to do this soon at the WPL website. Watch our social media for updates.

For those who prefer virtual discussions you can join our group on Goodreads.

2SLGBTQ+ Yoga:

2SLGBT+ Yoga banner with SPECTRUM and Branches Yoga logo

In partnership with The Branches Yoga, the free 2SLGBTQ+ Yoga Group will meet once per month (on the second or third Sunday depending upon holidays) at The Branches studio. For the first session on September 12th at 7:30pm, participants will gather on the peaceful outdoor deck for a beginner’s level yoga experience with instructor Angela. No previous yoga experience is required and this is a space for EVERY body. This is an exclusive space for 2SLGBTQ+-identified people and trans and non-binary folks are especially encouraged to join us. 

The Branches Yoga is located close to downtown Kitchener at 9 Samuel St, Kitchener, ON N2H 1N9, one block from the intersection of Frederick and Lancaster.

(Please note that the space is not yet wheelchair accessible, though there are plans to install a ramp to the front door. The main floor practice space is five steps up from street level. We apologize for this lack of accessibility.)

In order to ensure compliance with COVID protocols participants will need to register in advance to attend. You will be able to do this soon at https://thebranchesyoga.com. Watch our social media for updates.

Mindful Movement Group:

Mindful Movement Group banner with SPECTRUM logo

This free group will meet once per month. Participants will explore self-care and connection to community through movement with facilitator, Joscelyn Guindon RDMT (qualifying) MSW RSW. 

This group will explore movement and dance, and how we can connect with others and with ourselves in an open and meaningful way. Participants will use movement and dance to support being present and exploring new ways to move more freely, while also focusing on having fun and enjoying dance together. This group is for EVERY body. It is trans and non-binary affirming. There is no technique or dance experience needed.

In order to ensure compliance with COVID protocols participants will need to register in advance to attend. You will be able to do this soon on our website. Watch our social media for updates.

Queer Craft Circle:

Banner for Queer Craft Circle with SPECTRUM and Button Arts logo

In partnership with Button Factory Arts, we are pleased to offer Queer Craft Circle. This free group will meet monthly on Zoom to create crafts with local artists. Explore a variety of artistic mediums in this fun and casual group. We will meet on the last Friday of every month from 5:30-7:30pm. All supplies are included and will be ready for pickup at Button Factory Arts (25 Regina St S, Waterloo, ON N2J 1R8) before meetups. Registration is limited to 10 participants per group and is limited to 2SLGBTQ+-identified people in Waterloo Region. Registration will be open soon at buttonfactoryarts.ca. Our first circle will meet on Friday September 24th at 5:30pm.

2SLGBTQ+ Young Adults Networking Group:

Banner for Young Adults Networking Group with SPECTRUM logo.

This free group for 2SLGBTQ+ young professionals aged 25-40 will meet once per month at a restaurant in Waterloo Region. Participants will enjoy a free meal (not including alcoholic beverages) and the opportunity to network and socialize with other young 2SLGBTQ+ adults. The restaurant will be announced in advance and you will need to register to attend. Space will be limited! Our first meeting will take place at Waterloo Brewing on September 24th from 6-8pm. Registration will open soon.

Read More

Introducing the New SPECTRUM!

Thanks to a generous grant from the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund that has allowed us to engage in a year-long capacity-building project, SPECTRUM has been able to complete a re-brand that speaks to some of the changes we’ve made to the organization this year and the direction we are working towards.

Meet our new logo!

SPECTRUM’s new logo

Our Project Excelsior team worked with The Public studio, a community-centered, social justice design studio, to develop a new logo and brand standards. The new logo speaks to the way SPECTRUM provides 2SLGBTQ+ communities with a space for refuge, which in turn, leads to both personal and political growth, to challenging  conversations, and, with time, a more joyful world.  

In the new logo, we see the idea of “space” and “refuge” represented by a rainbow form. As letterforms move toward this space, we see them coming to life. We are introduced to a sense of playfulness,  optimism, joy, and resiliency. This concept also allows space to explore the  dichotomies in this work, namely, the joyful, playful, unapologetic ways  of being within the space, alongside the professionalism needed to speak truth to power and advocate on behalf of our communities in the more public sphere. 

The goal was to prioritize the concepts of potentiality, transformation, protection, and growth. We explore the rainbow as a visual cue for both safety and refuge (internal) and celebration and joy (outward). 

The colours we chose and the number of “bars” in the rainbow are intentional. In moving away from the “standard” six colours of the Pride flag, we leave room for places of growth, alternative understandings of who’s included here, and attention to the roots of queer liberation and where these movements come from. In the colour palette, we have colours that still run adjacent to the six-colour flag, as well as warm browns and pinks that aren’t necessarily desaturated versions of the other colours, but are colours in their own right. 

We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with The Public on this re-brand. Their team spent a lot of time getting to know SPECTRUM and its people, the ways we work, our history, and our future goals. We believe the new logo does an excellent job of identifying SPECTRUM as an organization.

As we move forward, we’d also like to reflect on our history and thank Eric Chengyang, Thane Robyn, and the late Thom Ryan who created the previous versions of our logo. Eric Chengyang designed our first logo back in February 2013. In September 2015, the logo was cleaned up by Thane Robyn, who separated the textual sub-title of our name (part of our full legal name) from the graphic itself. In June 2016, Thom Ryan modified the image still further by changing the cursive subtitle to a san-serif all-caps version for readability.

Previous versions of SPECTRUM’s logo

We’ve also launched a new website!

We are also excited to be launching our new website designed by our Marketing & Development Coordinator, Ash Kreider. The new site was designed with care taken to respond to feedback that SPECTRUM has received over the last year or so, including thoughts shared by the community in various surveys and focus groups we conducted earlier this year. The new site is accessible, easy to navigate, faster to load, and is designed to reflect the new brand standards created by The Public.

We already have a list of additional changes in the works. These will be implemented throughout the rest of the year. We hope you’ll enjoy using the new site and celebrating our new brand identity with us.

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

From Grapevine to Online: SPECTRUM creates an online directory of local service providers for the transgender community

From Grapevine to Online: SPECTRUM creates an online directory of local service providers for the transgender community

For those who identify as transgender, learning about service providers was often information shared during an informal chat after peer support meetings at SPECTRUM, an LGBTQ2+ community organization providing a supportive, positive and safe place for people of all ages in Waterloo Region. COVID-19 has temporarily halted those in-person meetings, but accelerated the launch of another initiative to move this information online.

The TransNAV GPS service, created by SPECTRUM, aims to help community members who identify as transgender find local service providers that are friendly to, and knowledgeable about, the transgender community.

“As a result of the lockdown, we found that the grapevine that happened after meetings where people would chat and get referrals for these services suddenly stopped,” says Melissa Kennedy, a SPECTRUM Board Member, transgender services coordinator and the project lead for the TransNAV GPS. “We had been considering this project for a while, and the pandemic really jumpstarted the fulfillment of that need.”

To help the TransNAV GPS project move from concept to action, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) provided SPECTRUM with $27,500 in funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund. The funding was used to hire consultants, who conducted research on service providers interested in being a part of the project.

“This funding meant we could get the project started, which was the hardest part,” says Kennedy. “At the time, SPECTRUM was purely a volunteer organization, and finding volunteers to work on this during business hours is difficult. So this gave us the ability to hire individuals to work on this solidly for six to eight weeks.”

The online directory currently includes more than 160 local providers in a variety of areas, such as: medical, mental health, employment, legal, housing, social organizations and personal care.

Not only does the directory provide resources in a wide variety of areas, it’s also focused on service providers that are local to Waterloo Region, which was an important element of the project. Kennedy says that often, in order to find trans-friendly and trans-knowledgeable service providers, people have to travel far distances, and at great expense.

“Our real desire is to increase the number of local directory entries so that no one has to drive to Toronto or London to access these services,” says Kennedy.

The TransNAV GPS officially launched on May 13, 2021. Service providers who are interested in being included in the directory can contact transgender-services-director@ourspectrum.com. SPECTRUM also welcomes all feedback, which can be provided through a form on this webpage: www.ourspectrum.com/transnav.

To learn more about SPECTRUM, participate in their programs, or provide support to their initiatives, visit www.ourspectrum.com. For more information about the Emergency Community Support Fund, visit www.kwcf.ca/covid19-ecsf, or email info@kwcf.ca.

View the article at https://www.kwcf.ca/news/spectrum

To learn more about things that SPECTRUM has organized for Pride 2021 check www.ourspectrum.com/pride.

Read More

SPECTRUM and KW Counselling Services partner to provide counselling to LGBTQ2+ people.

SPECTRUM and KW Counselling Services partner to provide counselling to LGBTQ2+ people.

June 1, 2020
Waterloo Region, Ontario

SPECTRUM and KW Counselling Services partner to provide counselling to LGBTQ2+ people.

SPECTRUM, Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space, and KW Counselling Services, have partnered to provide no cost and subsidized counselling to members of the LGBTQ2+ community. SPECTRUM has started the Chrysalis Fund in memory of a member of their Board of Directors who died by suicide. Monies from the Chrysalis Fund will be used to provide counselling services through the OK2BME program at KW Counselling Services.

Since 2005, the OK2BME program at KW Counselling Services has provided counselling services to LGBTQ2+ people, leadership and recreation youth groups, and public education and consultations on LGBTQ2+ issues. “We’re very grateful to SPECTRUM for recognizing the importance of accessible mental health services,” says Rebecca Webb, Executive Director. “LGBTQ2+ people have some unique stressors that can make them especially vulnerable to mental health challenges. We’re proud of the work we do through OK2BME.”

Cait Glasson, President of SPECTRUM notes “The Chrysalis Fund is very important to our board members. Early this year, we lost a member to suicide and we want to ensure that transgender and gender non-binary folks have access to the counselling they need.”

LGBTQ2+ people will be able to refer themselves to the program by calling KW Counselling Services at 519.884.0000. “The service will be offered on a sliding scale,” says Washington Silk, OK2BME Program Coordinator. “Those who are able to pay something will be asked to do so. The Chrysalis Fund will cover the rest of the cost. No one will be turned away based on an inability to pay. The Chrysalis Fund will cover the entire cost where necessary.”

“We were able to start the Chrysalis Fund with a grant from the 100 Men who Give a Damn,” says Glasson. “We’re very grateful for their support and we will be looking to the community to help us continue this work. People can make contributions at ourspectrum.com.”

About SPECTRUM: SPECTRUM is Waterloo Region’s first-ever LGBTQ2+ / Rainbow community space! Since opening our doors in 2012, SPECTRUM has developed into an organization with programming, social groups, special projects, research, events, and resources, plus a space where the community can connect. SPECTRUM is the centre of our rainbow community and continues to grow to support the needs of LGTBQ2+ folk across Waterloo Region.

About KW Counselling Services: KW Counselling Services is celebrating 70 years as a multi-service agency
offering counselling supports to individuals, couples, and families in Waterloo Region. In addition to our
accessible mental health services, we offer parenting education and supports through our Parenting with
Passion and Parenting Now programs; specialized services including counselling, and recreation and leadership
youth groups for LGBTQ2+ youth through our OK2BME program; community development and training
opportunities for members of multicultural communities; as well as training and placement opportunities for
graduate students in social work and related fields.

Media Contacts:
Dani Bazely, SPECTRUM, communications@ourspectrum.com
Scott Williams, KW Counselling Services, swilliams@kwcounselling.com

Read More