Transgender Peer Support Group Updates

UPDATE! The Trans Peer Support Groups will return to the second and fourth Mondays of the month starting October 9th!

We’ve had some questions about recent changes to our transgender peer support group schedule and wanted to provide an update.

Our general trans peer support group is currently meeting on the first and third Thursdays of the month. We don’t currently have enough volunteer co-facilitators to run the meetings that we used to have on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, but we hope to bring them back in the near future.

Our Beyond the Binary group meets once per month on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Our transmasc group is currently on hold as we look for volunteer co-facilitators. Ideally, we would also like to have a transfemme group, but again we’d need the volunteers to make it happen.

Our Cambridge transgender peer support group continues to meet bi-weekly on Thursdays.

For transparency’s sake, we schedule two volunteer co-facilitators to run every group. Our volunteers are required to take training in accessibility, health and safety, racism, and our own Rainbow Diversity Training. They’re also required to have a police check for the vulnerable sector, be familiar with our policies and procedures, and participate in additional training as we identify other important opportunities. Not everyone who applies to be a volunteer is well-suited to facilitation of a peer support group. We interview people and check references to make sure that our volunteers will be able to commit to running the groups at specific times and have strong facilitation skills.

We currently have four volunteers on our trans peer support team, and three of them are relatively new. Special thanks to our volunteers for making these groups possible! If you are interested in volunteering with us you can complete the application here.

We will provide more updates as the program evolves. We know how important these groups are to participants and we will provide as many of them as we safely can within our resources.

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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!

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Welcome to SPECTRUM’s new Board members!

At our Annual General Meeting on October 5, 2021 we welcomed aboard four new board members and we would like to introduce them to you.

Nic Brewer (she/her) – Secretary:

Nic Brewer is a queer writer, editor, arts administrator, and serial hobbyist. By day, she works at the League of Canadian Poets, and by all other hours she enjoys crafting and tiny adventures with her wife and their dog. Her passion for community has so far manifested in literary endeavours: she is the co-founder of Frond, an online literary journal for prose by LGBTQI2SA writers, and formerly co-managed the micropress words(on)pages. She is also a novelist, and her debut novel Suture was published Book*Hug in Fall 2021.  She loves tea, boxing, and the ocean, and she really wants to hear about what you love most in the world.

Hollee George (she/her):

Boozhoo! Musko Giizhigo Ikwe N’dizhnikaaz. Hello! My name is Red Sky Woman. My name comes from the eastern direction and it means “New Days” or “New Beginnings”. 

When I was named, the Elders taught me that when the sun rises in the east the sky is red and so, the red sky tells us that a new day or new beginning has come. I take pride in being and bringing new days or new beginnings to my family and community. With that, I also belong to the Sturgeon Clan, which is an old teaching clan – otherwise known as the fish clan. 

My English name is Hollee George.  I am a registered section 6(1) status Indian and band member of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, located in Southwestern Ontario. I identify as a Two Spirit Anishinaabe Ikwe (lesbian) and have both Ojibway and Potawatomi blood. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, an auntie and a wife. 

In the community, I’ve recently been selected to be the Two Spirit Council Ambassador for Fierte Canada Pride. I am a knowledge keeper, carrier of ceremony, a Jingle dress dancer, political and social activist. 

Mark Hartburg (he/him):

Mark Hartburg, 65, has lived in the Region since 2005. A former Lutheran minister he came out in 2014. Since then he has been a volunteer with SPECTRUM and is an activist working to end Conversion Practices/”Therapy” locally and federally. He officiates weddings and other life celebrations. Mark is married to Bruce, has two daughters and a grandson. Together they have a dog and two cats and love to camp in their teardrop camper.

Cris Sheridan (she/her):

Cris Sheridan is a registered dietitian and holds a master’s degree in human nutrition, with a focus in food security and adult education.  She works as a regional manager with a medical technology company in the area of type one diabetes. Currently, she is the founding chair of her organization’s Pride Network.  Prior to this, Cris worked as a full-time instructor in the Food & Nutrition program as well as the Nursing programs at Ryerson University.  She enjoys a good ‘crafter-noon’ or kitchen dance party with her six-year old little human and her dog.  Kale, sarcasm, and traveling are things Cris enjoys. When she isn’t being a dedicated co-parent, or working at her demanding job she is usually dreaming of changing the world or eradicating world hunger and heteronormative assumptions or being on a beach in the sunshine. 

You can find information about our Board of Directors here.

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Events, SPECTRUM News

Join Us At SPECTRUM’s 2021 Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting is coming on October 5, 2021.

You are a voting member of SPECTRUM if you have made a financial contribution or volunteered 30 hours in the last 12 months. Click here to make a donation today and renew your membership!

Our AGM is an essential part of SPECTRUM’s operations, and our ByLaws require that a certain portion of our membership attend. During the meeting, you will hear a summary of SPECTRUM’s past year, and will vote on our Board of Directors for 2021-2022. 

Please demonstrate your support for the work SPECTRUM does, and join us! Click here to register to attend.

This is a public call for nominations for the Board of Directors. If you are interested in becoming a board member, complete our Board Application Form and send it with your resume to info@ourspectrum.com. We will then follow up with you to schedule a meeting with the nomination committee. 

If you have any questions about the duties of a board member position, please visit our Board of Directors page.

Note: all nominations must be received by Sunday September 12th at 5pm. All nominations must be a member in good standing, or willing to become a member prior to the AGM. No nominations from the floor will be accepted during the AGM. 

Find the AGM agenda and other materials here.

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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.

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LGBTQ2+ Community Capacity Fund News Release

Investing in LGBTQ2 Communities: Minister Bardish Chagger Highlights LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund Recipient in Waterloo Region

From: Canadian Heritage

News release

WATERLOO, Ontario, March 31, 2021

The Government of Canada is working to support LGBTQ2 organizations and the critical work they do to create a more equitable and consciously more inclusive Canada. The government is fully committed to building a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to be their true authentic selves. That’s why, on February 11, 2021, we announced 76 recipients of the first ever LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Member of Parliament (Waterloo), met with representatives of SPECTRUM Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space today. The organization recently received $279,782 from the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund to support its community-building efforts.

Led by SPECTRUM Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space, this project will strengthen the organization’s capacity by improving board governance, developing a strategic plan, and focusing on sustainability, succession, and financial planning. The project will also make better use of evidence, data, information, and knowledge sources through an environmental scan that assesses community needs. On top of that, it will help build capacity by offering skills training as well as sensitivity training opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Canadians and certain segments disproportionately, including LGBTQ2 communities. Through the $20-million LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund, the Government of Canada recognizes that the work of these organizations is critical for better social, health, and economic outcomes in LGBTQ2 communities, which is why the important work that LGBTQ2 organizations do deserves targeted investments to ensure the sustainability of these communities. See the full list of supported organizations.


“The LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund helps advance equity for LGBTQ2 communities by supporting organizations across the country in building new tools, enhancing collaboration, and strengthening organizational development at the local level. The Government of Canada is committed to working with LGBTQ2 individuals and community-led organizations from coast to coast to coast to combat discrimination in all its forms. By supporting projects like SPECTRUM Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space, we are working to build back an even better and consciously more inclusive Canada where everyone can be their true authentic selves.”

—The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Member of Parliament (Waterloo)

“SPECTRUM is one of 76 organizations that has received capacity building support from the first federal investment in the LGBTQ2 fund. By supplementing existing funds, this will create jobs, improve the quality of life and increase equity for LGBTQ2 Canadians. The Government of Canada proudly supports the work of these essential organizations. Congratulations to all involved.”

—The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“I am proud of the work that SPECTRUM does to support the LGBTQ2+ community in Waterloo Region. They are a valuable resource in our community. I am happy that they have received this funding to support the expansion of their social programs and web presence. The Community Capacity Fund was created to support organizations like this who are making a difference in communities across Canada.”

—Tim Louis, Member of Parliament (Kitchener–Conestoga)

“SPECTRUM is a welcome and important presence in our community for our LGBTQ2+ neighbours. I am pleased that the Community Capacity Fund will help SPECTRUM expand its presence, build its capacity, and continue to foster a safe space. We must continue to support, affirm, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and I look forward to working with the staff and volunteers at SPECTRUM as they develop new initiatives and partnerships. “

—Raj Saini, Member of Parliament (Kitchener Centre)

“SPECTRUM is grateful for the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund and thanks the Government of Canada for its generous support in helping us build a larger and more stable organization that can better serve LGBTQ2+ people in Waterloo Region. Our new staff team has already done some excellent work in building up our capacity and we look forward to sharing updates about our progress throughout the year.”

—Cait Glasson, Board President, SPECTRUM Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space

Quick facts

  • The LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund call for proposals ran from on March 5, 2020 to May 14, 2020.
  • On February 11, 2021, Minister Chagger and Minister Monsef announced $15 million for 76 LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund projects across Canada.
  • As part of the COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada is investing $350 million in the Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and non-profit organizations requiring financial assistance to address the impact of the pandemic.
  • In addition to the $20 million investment in Budget 2019 to support capacity building and community-level work by Canadian LGBTQ2 organizations, the Government of Canada has also made the following investments:
    • Global Affairs Canada announced more than $30 million to improve socioeconomic outcomes for LGBTQ2 people in developing countries;
    • The Federal Tourism Growth Strategy includes major investments in Pride events across Canada;
    • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced increased support for LGBTQI refugees fleeing violence and persecution through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership; and;
    • Canadian Heritage has committed $2 million over two years under the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program for Pride and LGBTQ2 events.
  • On November 27, 2020, as a first step towards the first ever Federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan, Minister Bardish Chagger announced the launch of the public engagement process. Various engagement activities help the Government of Canada better understand the daily realities and experiences of LGBTQ2 people in Canada in areas such as employment, healthcare, housing and homelessness, and safety.

Related products

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Emelyana Titarenko
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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SPECTRUM Recipient of Government of Canada Funding Through the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2021

Federal dollars help to build capacity of local LGBTQ2+ community space in Waterloo Region.

Today, Ministers Bardish Chagger and Maryam Monsef announced approximately $15 million in funding for 76 LGBTQ2+ community-led projects across Canada through the LGBTQ2+ Community Capacity Fund. This includes $279,782 for SPECTRUM, Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space.

Serving people across Waterloo Region, SPECTRUM maintains an inclusive space in downtown Kitchener. SPECTRUM provides both social programs and services including peer support for the rainbow community, and rainbow diversity training for businesses and organizations.

“SPECTRUM has done some amazing work with volunteer power,” says Cait Glasson, President of the Board of Directors, “but in order to meet the needs of as many LGBTQ2+ people as possible in our community we need to become a larger, more sustainable, and more inclusive organization.”

This grant funds Project Excelsior, which will strengthen the capacity of SPECTRUM to advance LGBTQ2+ equality by improving board governance; developing a strategic plan; and focusing on sustainability, succession, and financial planning. The project will also increase access to evidence, data, information, and knowledge sources by performing an environmental scan to assess community needs; and will build the capacity by offering skills training as well as sensitivity training opportunities.

“This project is extremely exciting!” says Jim Parrott, Executive Director. “We’ve hired a wonderful team of three people who have been at work since the beginning of January. I’ve been very impressed with their work thus far and can already see that SPECTRUM will be a vastly different organization by the end of the year.”

“We see Project Excelsior as a jumping off point for what will become SPECTRUM 2.0,” says Melissa Paige Kennedy, Development Officer, “the next stage in SPECTRUM’s evolution as an organization supporting the rainbow community in Waterloo Region.”

Media Contact:

Kristy Skelton, Assistant Executive Director


For specific information about SPECTRUM’s programs and services visit the SPECTRUM website by clicking here.

View the complete list of recipients by clicking here for news release.

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