Historical Timeline

Curious about where Rainbow Resource Centre started? Take a look at our historical timeline below for key dates, the growth of the Centre, and how we've been involved in the local 2SLGBTQ+ community.

  • 1969 Homosexuality is decriminalized.
  • 1973 Gays for Equality is founded by Phil Graham as a student organization at University of Manitoba. Gays for Equality grew out of the Campus Gay Club which existed slightly earlier. Campus Gay Club was more social in nature and Gays for Equality was established partly out of a need for advocacy and community education identified by members of the Campus Gay Club.
  • 1974 Gays for Equality hosted the National Gay Conference from August 31 to September 2, which included a march (photo).
  • 1975-1983 Gays for Equality hosted regular events in the Tier Building at the University of Manitoba. These included "rap sessions" (casual chat meetings), public speaking events, an info-line, and more.
  • 1975 In what is perhaps Gays for Equality's first campaign of public research, interviews were held at bus stops regarding their opinions on gay liberation and gay pride celebrations.
  • 1981 Here's a photo of Gays for Equality's library in 1981: https://digitalcollections.lib...
  • 1983 Gays for Equality, along with many other gay and lesbian organizations, hosted an AIDS forum held in Winnipeg
  • 1983 - 1988 Gays for Equality moved to The Winnipeg Gay Centre, which was located on the second floor at 275 Sherbrook Street, next door to Giovanni's Room (later known as Gio's), from April 1983 to August 1986. The larger space accommodated the library, meeting spaces, and counselling spaces. When Gio's moved to 616 Broadway in August 1986, the centre moved too and remained there until July 1988.
  • 1985 Gays for Equality pledges support for Richard North's hunger strike to pressure the government of Manitoba to add sexual orientation to the Manitoba Human Rights Code. In this press release, Gays for Equality includes bisexuals alongside gays/lesbians as people who are affected.
  • 1987 Sexual orientation is added to the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
  • 1988 As the space needs of Gays for Equality continued to grow, they moved to 222 Osborne Street (Confusion Corner) under the new name of Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre (though it was incorporated under the legal name of Manitoba Institute on Society and Sexuality).
  • 1989 Gays for Equality distributes a survey to candidates for city office with questions about their support for a number of important 2SLGBTQ+ issues.
  • 1995 Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre received funding to develop Breaking Barriers, a project to provide anti-homophobia professional development to medical professionals. This is the unofficial start of our Education Program.
  • 1997 Though the organization had been running an info-line for decades, a toll-free line is launched to better serve rural and northern Manitobans.
  • 1999 Our name is changed to Rainbow Resource Centre.
  • 2000 Breaking Barriers expanded its scope to include anti-homophobia training in schools.
  • 2004 Same sex marriage is legalized in Manitoba.
  • 2006 While there had been youth programming associated with Rainbow Resource Centre prior to 2006, this year saw the launch of Peer Project for Youth, which would evolve into our current Youth Program.
  • 2007 Camp Aurora launches. This is a four-day camp for 2SLGBTQ+ youth aged 14-21 and still runs annually.
  • 2008 Rainbow Resource Centre moves to its current location at 170 Scott Street.
  • 2010 Our first annual fundraising gala is launched.
  • 2011 Our first GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance or Gay Straight Alliance) conference is launched. This conference continues on a biennial basis today.
  • 2012 Rainbow Resource Centre is awarded a Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, recognizing the ongoing work and commitment of the Centre toward full inclusion, celebration, and participation of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in society.
  • 2012 With a great decline in phone calls and a surge in email and social media inquiries, the peer support phone line is shut down.
  • 2017 Though talks and plans had been in the works for years, 2017 saw the launch of our Older Adult Program (also known as Over The Rainbow).
  • 2018 Due to a surge in demand, Rainbow Resource Centre formally offers services for 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers.

More Historical Content

Homepage Images

Throughout 2023 we will be updating the banner on our homepage to feature different aspects of the history of Rainbow Resource Centre and 2SLGBTQ+ activism in Manitoba. This webpage will evolve over the year, featuring all of the images and their historical significance.

A Look Back at History
We'll be posting a "decades summary" five times throughout 2023, exploring different eras of Rainbow Resource Centre's past.