AtlanticRainbowCollective

pic Established early October, 2019 1

Trying to form a LGBTQQIP2SAA+ Community Centre in K'jipuktuk, in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Facebook - Atlantic Rainbow Collective.

This is the current rough sketch of the plan:

Following our first community meeting, we’re excited to announce that we’ve got an official name: Atlantic Rainbow Collective (ARC)!

We feel this name encompasses the desire to create an inclusive, community-centered space. The Facebook group and page will be updated shortly to reflect the new name.

[Image: The words ‘Atlantic Rainbow Collective’ in black text on a white background, framed by LED lights arraigned to look like a rainbow]

December 10, 2019
We had 150 responses and 83.8% yes to the community member, and 2% no; other respondents were not sure or other. The most common concerns were funding, safety, accessibility and inclusiveness.
March 4, 2020
Hi everyone, its been a while since we have done an update. We wanted to thank everyone for their excitement and interest in this project thus far.

Starting a community centre from the ground up takes a lot of time, energy and work. Unfortunately due to our very busy schedules we have put the community centre idea aside. We now plan to concentrate our efforts on a website to serve as a central hub where people can go to find information about the organizations and services available in our community and what they offer.

We would like this website to serve not only as a place to share events, but to also be a tool to help people find resources such as support groups, counselling, etc.

When we have the website ready, we’ll post the link here. Once live, we invite you to share any community events you are hosting or may know of and we will share it on the website.


Compiled responses from “Gauging Interest in a local LGBTQQIP2SAA+ Community Centre” online survey

The questionnaire was open from October 28, 2019 until January 24, 2020, and received 160 responses. Only responses from people who gave permission are included here (if they selected no or left the question blank, the response was removed) so percentages may not equal 100%

Do you think of yourself as:  
Asexual - 9 (5.7%)
Bisexual - 44 (28%)
Gay - 32 (20.4%)
Heterosexual/Straight - 15 (9.5%)
Lesbian - 37 (23.6%)
Pansexual - 25 (15.9%)
Queer - 68 (43.3%)
Prefer not to say - 0 (0%)
Demisexual - 1 (0.6%)
I'm - 1 (0.6%)
Gray/demi - 1 (0.6%)
Demisexual , two-spirit - 1 (0.6%)
No idea tbh - 1 (0.6%)

Do you consider your gender to be:
Male - 37 (23.6%)
Female - 77 (49%)
Transgender - 28 (17.8%)
Trans Masculine - 18 (11.5%)
Trans Feminine - 8 (5.1%)
Non-binary - 35 (22.3%)
Two Spirit - 3 (1.9%)
Genderfluid - 8 (5.1%)
Prefer not to say - 3 (1.9%)
Woman - 2 (1.3%)
Bigender - 2 (1.3%)
Androgynous - 1 (0.6%)
Genderqueer - 1 (0.6%)

Would you like to self-identify your ethnicity? (check all that apply)
Asian - 4 (2.6%)
Black/African - 2 (1.3%)
First Nations - 7 (4.5%)
White - 146 (93.6%)
Hispanic/Latinx - 0 (0%)
Middle Eastern - 3 (1.9%)
Prefer not to say - 1 (0.6%)
Jewish	- 1 (0.6%)
Mixed/Metis - 1 (0.6%)
Acadian - 1 (0.6%)



What is your age?
Under 18
18 to 24 - 25 (15.9%)
25 to 34 - 62 (39.5%)
35 to 44 - 40 (25.5%)
45 to 54 - 16 (10.2%)
55 or over - 14 (8.9%)
Prefer not to say - 0 (0%)
	
Do you feel the Halifax LGBTQ+ Community needs a community centre?
Yes - 131 (84.5%)
No  - 3 (1.9%)
Not sure - 15 (9.7%)
Other - 6 (3.6%)

What services/events would you want a community centre to offer?
Family oriented activites - 111 (71.6%)
Workshops - 132 (85.2%)
Meeting Space - 138 (89%)
Dances - 95 (61.3%)
Potlucks - 94 (60.6%)
Counselling Services - 142 (91.6%)
Employment Services	 - 115 (74.2%)
Leather/Kink Events - 52 (33.5%)
Art Gallery - 91 (58.7%)
Crafter's Market - 88 (56.8%)
Board Games	- 97 (62.6%)
Just a space to hangout/have coffee	- 145 (93.5%)
Drag Event - 84 (54.2%)

Do you have any concerns about or see any potential issues with the creation/funding/running of this proposed centre?

I think there needs to be an all-ages space, but I also believe it is important for the community to have a spot for 25 and older to meet without alcohol. A liquor license may still be necessary for the financial viability, but I want to see more places that aren't necessarily bars.
I think it is important to have a governance structure that is democratic, transparent, and rooted in community
Would likely need to be volunteer run due to lack of income
No, I think it is long overdue
Just gotta make sure we're safe. Hate groups like proud boys and northern guard scare me. Karens scare me more - to make light of a serious problem.
There will always be kick back from certain sectors of the public when it comes to our community but that is why we need a place that is for us and our supporters.
I think any space that provides a support and inclusive environment will be beneficial to the queer community. Many still lack safe spaces to receive services this centre would provide.
Of course! Lots of people have tried in the past and it's never come together. Even if funding could be established, I worry about long-term longevity.
Balancing keeping it accessible but financially solvent is a real issue
What are the policies around corporate sponsorship?
Without some base funding to get the organization started, I don't necessarily see how it's viable.
Perhaps the first stage is developing a single community hub? Not necessarily a physical space.
Creating collaboration with existing organizations is a key to success but intra-community conflict is often a barrier.
I as a Student's Union councilor at my university have been pushing for this for two years. I've contacted local organizations and have been told they will not support these efforts without funding and connections. I do not see those as limitations, the first Centres were run at the grassroots level. The Centre could be opened by donation and proceeds from community events, after that you could apply for grants for providing these much needed services.
Anti-LGBT organizations against it.
I'm sure there will be, but I think if the space acts as a venue where community members are able to create whatever programming they want to run (within reason/with approval from the venue) could definitely work and is something we need.
Avoid getting tangled in minutia, it'll never fit everyone's needs
Creating a safe space without exclusion can be tough but needed!
I don't think there is a model that would successfully maintain this expensive project. It has been explored already. Community centres in other communities have not proven sustainable, with few exceptions.
I think this would be a great thing, however living in the valley limits how often I could attend
The space needs to be accessible for the most marginalized members of our community. Highlighting the understanding of those needs (queer youth on the streets, queer folks facing housing and food insecurity, folks with disabilities, queer parents) and how you plan to address them will strengthen your grant proposals. I would take some time to investigate the current groups/spaces like south house, the YP, glitter bean, ElderBerries, FLY trans support, radstorm to learn about challenges and historical/ongoing community conflicts that may impede your efforts. How can we address the infighting and power relations in the queer community within a space like this and avoid reproducing oppression? Who will the volunteers be, staff? Will they represent the diversity of the community? Who are the funders? I would also highlight the need for alcohol-free community space for lgbtq adults and intergenerational events.
I think it will probably be difficult to fund
Who is responsible for running it, who are they accountable to, etc. Regular non-profit concerns.
It would be great not to see a cis white gay man in a position of power for once. There are all ready so many queer spaces designed for gay men that I believe are not welcoming to women and non binary folx. Sometimes even just having the spokesperson of an organization being white and a man (and sometimes a white and cis woman) can lead to a space becoming unsafe to those more marginalized. There needs to be a high expectation of experienced and collaborative folx who actively work on mediating and growing the organization to match with our ever growing community. Don’t become palatable to non-queer or “traditional” leaning organizations and patrons just for funding.
Violence against the community in a targeted location.
I would want to see it being accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of ability, income, religion, race, gender, or sexuality. Even with our community, sometimes we exclude people (accidentally but also sadly on purpose). I would hope for this space to purposefully include EVERYONE.
No concerns, per se, but I would hope that there would be a strong focus on hiring POC for paid positions.
Having smaller groups, and groups that are formed take issue. Who's staffing. And are they paid.
Sustainable funding always a challenge
It will most probably be a white majority given the nature of our province.
It will be hard to make everyone happy, but something is a good place to start.
Funding, yes. So much institutionalized homophobia around.
It would be amazing if some community groups (Halifax Pride, Sexual Health Centre, etc) had their offices in the same building
Well it's difficult to get funding for any social venture lately, and there should be some care put into who runs it and how.
while it is important to have a dedicated space for unique communities, the world is becoming more fluid. not sure if an exclusive place is the best approach
Having folks in power who don't represent the community. Focusing the board (or however it is run) on formal education is classist and inaccessible. Building accessibility, including it being close to the communities that need it and accessible by public transport.
Funding
Concerned that if the centre were to offer kink or sexualized events in the first few years of opening, it would be publicly viewed as an “adult” or even “bad” place due to associations with sex being “bad.” Sexualized events (Venus Envy-style workshops, leather events, kink meetups, etc) might be better to wait until the centre was well-established in the public eye, but after that would be awesome!!
The government doesn’t really like to fund stuff like this but I hope it will!
Are straight people included in the +?
Creates isolationist feelings. Inclusion not exclusion.
I just hope it works! The community really needs it.
It should be along a bus route, wheelchair accessible
I worry about how nasty intra-community conflicts can get. You can't do anything in the queer community (esp in Hali) without making someone very mad.
I worry about who will be excluded. It is not possible for one space to be inclusive for everyone. Hopefully the community centre can include several sub-spaces, so everyone has at least one space they're comfortable in.
I worry about the tension between the need for freedom of sexual expression, and the need for nonsexualized queer spaces.
I worry about funding and placement and access.
I worry that folks will just stay home.
all must be welcome
Likely the biggest obstacle will be finding a space as that is likely to influence how funding and running the facility will work. Rent in Halifax is a little out of hand and even if an affordable space can be found it may not be accessible (Halifax is pretty bad for wheelchair accessibility or for those with mobility issues) and in a location that people will want to travel to. Having said that I think it's great you're thinking of putting such a thing together.
If we're all in one place it is easier for us to be targeted by hateful people.
I see some roadblocks in the way of finding for this MUCCCHHH needed center, this city prides itself on pride for the community so it's time for them to show it more.
Spaces in Halifax are often physically inaccessible and lack gender neutral or single stall washrooms. Do you have funding to address these two issues?
$$
I mean, unless I'm somehow involved I'm not sure this would concern me any more then the general issues of bigots and the uninformed.
that it will create an environment that is "welcoming" on the surface but people won't actually want to spend time in
Making sure it’s a safe space
Where funding might come from...
Never having consistent and sufficient funding.
I'd want it to be democratically run + centering BIPOC in decision making process
It has to be operated as a business to remain profitable. It cannot and should not rely on government funding because that type of funding is subject to review every time there is a change in government. Good governance is key to its success.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Love this idea! It is much needed.
We need something for adults; the Youth Project is great but even though they technically serve people up to 25 I felt too old by the time I was 21 because everyone else is so young. And this centre should have evening and weekend hours, and maybe even a space for physical activity (basketball hoop, soccer net- nothing fancy)
I love the idea of this. It will be a great place for people of all ages and identities 
I'm rural and traveling services would be nice
1) This is a motherhood-and-apple-pie survey. Of course everyone would like a community centre.  If you asked, "Would you pay $5/month for a community centre" you'd get a very VERY different answer.  2) I'm quite unhappy that you, the organization or person that has created the survey, has not identified yourself.
I think looking through the queer exchange group will show a need for a space like this. So frequently, people are posting asking for recommendations for queer friendly therapists, jobs, etc. A queer community centre could help connect people with those safe spaces and provide the queer friendly services that people need. I am someone coming from a place of privilege and I would benefit from counselling and support around coming out, self acceptance and gender identity. If I, a person of privilege, could benefit from this centre, those experiencing discrimination and marginalization would benefit even more than myself. I hope to see this centre come to fruition. It would change the lives of many. 
Despite my critiques, I think it would be valuable.
This is needed specifically for the queer community. There is nothing like this here and this would absolutely be a positive service for our queer community. 
Mi'kma'ki is a large area that includes what is now known and NS, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland. The area now known as Halifax was originally named K'jipuktuk.
Should be fairly central, especially for low income people 
I feel that a community space is desperately needed in this city, the only queer spaces I can think of Is Mens and Molly's, and as someone who doesnt drink, it's not the most appealing, or accessible. I think something like this would be a great way of creating a real community for all queer people.
You are asking questions about services, which is different from the question as to a community centre. Some of those services may be neeeded, but that does not translate into the need for a centre. And, the costing of a centre is very different from the costing of services. This project would suck up community resources much better spent in other ways. 
This could be used as a space to build intergenerational community capacity. I would look to the models of both the Dartmouth North Food Centre and Dartmouth Family Centre and McPhee Centres as community spaces that bring people together and build upon the strengths of individuals and community to create social change (while also just having a fun space to hang out together)
There are spaces in Halifax for queer drinking and dancing events. It would be great to have a dry zone, in which events with alcohol, etc. could be planned by the centre but be external from it. 
I love this idea. One of the best places I've ever visited is the LGBTQ Centre in Montreal. It felt welcoming, safe, and warm. While I was there, an elderly lesbian was using the computers, the husband of the executive director was getting ready for a drag performance, and a large group of elderly queer men were playing cards. I felt at home. The bathrooms were gender neutral and only labeled with a toilet and/or urinal so you could chose the one you needed. There was an entire library of queer books, magazine, journals, and DVDs which was one of my favourite parts. I would be ecstatic if such a space were to become part of Halifax. The community already exists, this would just give us a place to gather. All my support!
I'm really excited for this space and hope that it sparks a fire for the development and funding of programs for our community throughout the HRM.
I think this is really needed. There are so many isolated queer people in this city
I am newly out in my 40s.  There is both a lack of (visible/accessible) community for those late coming out, and  a lack of support/resources for this growing cohort.  I think the challenges of that experience are fairly misunderstood and unique, and the support needs underestimated.  
There are not many spaces in this city for gays to meet and mingle. This is a need. Also a place to go for information and help is also a need as mental health is a major issue in the community 
This space needs to be accessible. Most queer spaces in this city are not. 
I feel there are still judgements of others within these communities and the most important thing is to ensure a 'safe' space for people to come
This is an absolutely necessary resource not only for youth but for elders who have never had support from a community. Having accessible counselling services would be a dream come true as someone without insurance. Education, especially safe sex Ed for queer kids would be amazing, and desperately needed. 
Resources!! So many good books and GSA guides that people need to get their hands on!! Should be available as well as healthy sex resources and supplies
Use existing infrastructure. Time and money better spent continuing to educate and incorporate the community as opposed to isolate and shine a spotlight on. Should be no reason everyone can use existing facilities. If a reason crops up why not, educate and change the existing ones so as to continue to grow tolerance and understanding.
I have wanted to get involved in creating a community space for some of the less served populations in the HRM. If I can help let me know. 
Dry! Queer! Spaces!
This is a wonderful idea and I support it 110%, my only request is if at all possible to have this accessable by bus and all types of transit, parking might be nice but bus is most important to be most inclusive.
I love this idea!
This is needed in my humble opinion.
I think that it would be a nice addition to a growing and adapting community
often LGBT organizations try to create "queer" spaces that end up alienating people by being too broad. While very broad all-community events can be good especially for people who are just getting introduced to the local LGBT commnity, I think it's important to also allow individual people to host events which are specific in nature (whether thats specific demographics, or niche activities), rather than always trying to appeal to everyone.
The 519 CC in Toronto is an LGBT based community center that would probably be a benefit to connect with
We need somewhere, other than a bar, that is safe, to meet, chat, and just "hang out".
If we could just have a safe space where it isn't all about sexual connotations, drinking, drugs and crop tops, that'd be wonderful. I'm almost 30, and finding friends in the community has been endlessly difficult, even though I've lived here most of my life.
I have visited similar centres in many US states, particularly in New York City. It is a safe place for many people. Great place for 12 step meetings.
<3<3<3

Footnotes:

1. Date of the first survey on their Facebook page