BLiNK: safe space for gender queer kids


In many ways, it’s a scary time to be a parent of a trans or gender creative kid: heated protests amid a culture war, anti-trans legislation in the US limiting travelling for 2SLGBTQ+ people, and provinces across Canada adopting school policies that put queer kids in danger.

Amid this climate, Rainbow Resource Centre's community group, BLiNK, is a sanctuary where all that stuff can be left at the door—a place where trans and gender creative kids can just be kids. “It is such an honor to see kids that are able to be themselves, or explore who they are, without restriction or limitations,” says Jennie MacMillan Gomez (she/her), facilitator of BLiNK.

BLiNK is a monthly volunteer-run family drop-in group for kids aged 12 and under. Jennie, whose been connected with the group since 2016, and facilitating it since 2019, is pro at making the space is as safe as possible for the kids, their families, and the friends and loved ones they bring with them. Jennie says, “We strive to be an affirming space for kids who are trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, Two-Spirit, or those who are exploring gender identity or expression.”

The name of the group itself—BLiNK—is a direct result of this exploration of the gender spectrum. “The name of the group comes from combining the words blue and pink,” Jennie explains, “to represent that gender is not defined by or limited to these two words.”


The impact of BLiNK extends far beyond the group meeting times.


In addition to providing a safe and fun space for kids to be themselves and play with their friends, both old and new, BLiNK has had special programming and gone to community events, all thanks to the generous donations from community organizations. Meraki Theatre Company has done theatre workshops with the kids, drag queens from the Snowy Owl Imperial Sovereign Court have visited the group, families have been to performances at Rainbow Stage, and to see the Winnipeg Goldeyes play.

As fun and life-affirming BLiNK can be for the kids, the group ends up offering so much more. “At our group, we are mainly building connections among the families and kids,” Jennie says. “Parents still have issues with other family members who oppose their support for their kids, and parents may come against challenges at schools, such as with bathroom/change room access and bullying.” Support networks like BLiNK can mean as much to the parents as to the kids.

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Activities that focus on creativity, expression, and simple fun, such as painting rocks, are a focus of BLiNK programming, pictured here.


That said, while the parents at BLiNK do offer peer support to each other to navigate these issues, these very things are often the topics of discussion at PFFOTI (Parents, Family, and Friends of Trans Individuals), which is co-facilitated by Jennie’s partner Alba. In the spirit of building connections, Alba will often attend BLiNK to connect with parents that haven’t been to PFFOTI and to help build those support networks so parents can build fully supportive and affirming environments for their kids.

The impact of BLiNK extends far beyond the group meeting times. Jennie says, “It is such a gift to see the kids from year to year growing up with pride and confidence in who they are, supported by (at least some of) the adults in their lives. There are kids that have attended the group when I first started who are now 15 or older, and despite increases in human rights infringements related to gender, they are thriving and existing.”

“As a queer adult, who never had a space like this when I was a kid, being able to help run this group is a privilege. I am grateful for the space and support that Rainbow offers and for our longstanding volunteers, Colleen and Tracy, who have been supporting BLiNK since before the pandemic

To support BLiNK, and the many other community groups that operate out of Rainbow, please give below.