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rainbow resourceBy BERNIE BELLAN
Here are some interesting facts about senior (55+) members of the LGBT community in Canada:
• They are twice as likely to live alone.
• They are half as likely to have life partners or significant others.
• They are half as likely to have close relatives to whom they can call for help.
• They are four times less likely to have children to help them.

The social isolation that many senior members of the LGBT community experience is something that has been addressed within the past couple of years by Winnipeg’s Rainbow Resource Centre.
According to its website “The Rainbow Resource Centre (RRC) offers support to the LGBT2SQ+ community in the form of counselling, education, and programming for individuals ranging from children through to 55+. It also supports families, friends, and employers of LGBT2SQ+ individuals.” (The letters “2S” refer to “two-spirited, which is an Indigenous identity used for people who are gay, lesbian, bi, transgender or queer.)

First begun at the University of Manitoba in the early 1970s as the “Campus Gay Club”, in 1988 the organization changed its name to the Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Centre.  In 1999 the name was changed again to its current form as the Rainbow Resource Centre. It has been located at its present location, 170 Scott Street (in Osborne Village) since 2008.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Rainbow Resource Centre will be holding an all-day conference at CanadInns Destination Centre Polo Park. According to information provided, the Summit will provide a ”forum to address issues specific to the LGBT2SQ+ aging process”.
The Rainbow Resource Centre notes that “While many of the issues faced by Canadians as we age are common, some of the needs and challenges facing our LGBT members as they age, including issues with the health care system; legal rights, including power of attorney; housing and long term care, etc., differ from their heterosexual counterparts.”

The idea for holding a conference of this sort was first broached about a year and a half ago, according to Roberta Bishop, Operations Manager at the Rainbow Resource Centre. Recognizing that programming and resources were seen to focus on younger members of the LGBT community, a group at the centre was formed called “Over the Rainbow”. This group provides social support for community members 55+, including coffee and chats, movie matinees and Pot Lucks. Subsequently the centre joined the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres (in March 2016).

The Finding Rainbows Project is funded in part by the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Project partners include Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres and Support Services to Seniors (WRHA) Primary Health Care - Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
At the conference itself, “trained 55+ volunteers will facilitate small group discussions following keynote presentations and workshops to identify aging issues in the senior LGBT2SQ+ community.” The keynote speaker will be noted author and broadcaster Bill Richardson.
Over 150 people are expected to attend the conference. If you are interested in attending or perhaps know someone who might be interested in attending email,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 204.474.0212 ext 255
If you would like more information about the Rainbow Resource Centre, go to

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