News / Winnipeg

LGBTTQ* and lonely: New Winnipeg summit caters to isolated seniors

The Finding Rainbows Summit is Nov. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park.

Thousands gathered at the Manitoba Legislature before moving onto Memorial Park for Winnipeg's 30th Pride Parade. Organizers announced that the 2018 Winnipeg Pride Festival will be moved to late July.

Shannon VanRaes / For Metro

Thousands gathered at the Manitoba Legislature before moving onto Memorial Park for Winnipeg's 30th Pride Parade. Organizers announced that the 2018 Winnipeg Pride Festival will be moved to late July.

The people who rallied for gay rights almost 40 years ago are now facing a social isolation problem.

That's according to the organizer of the Finding Rainbows Summit in Winnipeg, who wants to help the aging LGBTTQ* community make connections.

“We come from a very unique time in history, (the) gay rights movement just began,” said Kathy Jones, chair of Finding Rainbows.

“Amongst our group, most people over 60, they tended to grow up in a time when our orientation, our lifestyle, was not supported and not accepted,” said Jones.

“Because of that, we tend to be people who keep more to ourselves, and tend to be less involved in more mainstream services, because we’re afraid of how we’re going to be treated.”

She added that when her partner died, dealing with the healthcare system was an incredibly isolating experience.

“I was treated as a friend and not as her partner of 25 years,” Jones said.

The summit is one-part community building, and also a learning experience with workshops on social isolation, health services, personal safety, legal issues and housing options.

The summit provides a space to connect, share experiences, express needs and make friends.

“When my partner died, I didn’t have any foggy idea if I was going to meet any other senior lesbians at all. You don’t want to hang out with married people when you’re widowed. So I had to find out how to make friends,” Jones said.

The event includes a number of speakers, including Bill Richardson, broadcaster and author, Robert Giesbrecht, Roger Tam, Mike Tutthill and Dr. Reece Malone.

The summit is sponsored by the Rainbow Resource Centre and is in cooperation with the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The Finding Rainbows Summit is Nov. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park. A dinner and dance will follow.

Pride Winnipeg announces date change

Winnipeg’s most colourful festival has a new time slot.

Pride Winnipeg announced its new festival dates, switching up the schedule from the first weekend in June to July 20 to 29. The festival at The Forks will be held on July 28 and 29 and the Pride Winnipeg Parade will be moved to Sunday July 29.

In a media release, organizers said the festival had reached a point where it outgrew its original footprint, and needed more space—and that another festival had reserved the space needed for an expanded Pride Winnipeg Festival.

The new dates will allow the Pride Winnipeg Festival to use the entire site at The Forks to address annual growth in attendance, create more space for community partners and new programming and reduce congestion.

The switch also means organizers can plan for and test out an expanded Pride Winnipeg Festival in advance of Winnipeg hosting the 2020 Fierté Canada Pride Festival, which is expected to bring in thousands of LGBTTQ* individuals from across Canada, the media release said.

Pride Winnipeg will be holding a town hall meeting to address any questions from the community in coming weeks.

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