Gala wraps up celebration of 50 years

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On November 4, Rainbow capped off our 50th Anniversary with a massive celebration of queer joy and 50 years of identity, advocacy and community. There were over 800 people in the room, many of whom had never attended our gala before and many who already knew that they were in for a great party. And they were. There was singing, there was dancing and there was fashion — and a whole lot of love.

But most importantly, there was community—the community that shapes the work Rainbow does each day.

This event looked and felt like a celebration 50 years in the making. And we know a night like this doesn't just happen. It's fueled by the compassion, commitment, and determination of a community with a united vision.

We are pleased to share that together we raised a record-setting $909,190!

On behalf of Rainbow Resource Centre, the 2SLGBTQ+ community across Manitoba, and the many people who will benefit from the funds raised, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. Thank you.

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Executive Director Noreen Mian's Speech

At last year’s gala, I told you that my coming out journey as a teenager was deeply shaped by Rainbow Resource Centre. It was at Rainbow that I first said “I am gay”, to a room of strangers and quickly learned that there was a vibrant and loving community ready to embrace me. (And I now make a living telling groups of strangers that I am gay).

But I also told you how secret it all felt. When I was young, Rainbow was hidden away in an old, unmarked apartment block. You had climb a back stairwell and buzz to get in the door. Fast forward 20 years and now, Rainbow is Canada’s first 2SLGBTQ+ centre to own property.

In May we moved to 545 Broadway, which some of you might remember as the old Klinic building, a place that has been a hub of community activism for decades. And as we’ve shared, Rainbow in partnership with Westminster Housing Society, are leading the charge by building Place of Pride: Canada’s first affordable housing for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults, with a complete campus of queer services to support the folks who live onsite. More than that, Place of Pride will be a safe space for community to gather in times of sorrow, protest, and celebration.

It will be a home for those who fought for equality to safely age-in-place, surrounded by the community they helped build. For the first time in our 50-year history Rainbow is proudly and unapologetically taking up space. Space that is purposeful, beautiful, and just happens to be in direct line of sight of the Leg.

This could not have happened at a better time. In the past few months, there has been an overt resurgence of hate directed at the 2SLGBTQ+ community. In September, we watched as a mob of anti-2SLGBTQ+ protesters descended on the grounds of the leg – a place where many of our queer rights were won. The group opposes queer content in schools, and have been emboldened by a proposed “parental rights” policy that had the potential to silence a generation of queer and trans youth—and even worse, out trans children to families who could potentially cause harm.

As a community, as an organization, as people – we felt shattered. We felt let down. Quite frankly, we were scared. But the very next day, every single one of my colleagues was back at the office, planning a response, refusing to back down.

That is because the queer and trans youth of today are the elders of tomorrow. And that is why as an organization and as a community We will not let a generation of 2SLGBTQ+ youth be silenced.

And who knows, the future leader of Rainbow could be in our youth programming, right now. I wonder what stories they will tell about us.

Rainbow Resource Centre exists to let queer and trans folks know—at any stage of life you are not alone. This community will embrace you. You are loved. The struggle for queer and trans rights is far from over. But tonight, I am here to tell you, Rainbow will continue the fight our elders started.

We will continue to show up for our queer and trans youth. We will not be stopped – we will never hide again.

Thanks to your support we are purposely and beautifully taking up space like never before. We are on a journey, paved with the dreams and resilience of a community—proudly heading into the next 50 years of Rainbow. Thank you for walking along side us on this incredible journey.