This month, Waterloo Brewing is excited to be serving our SPECTRUM Mango Sour in the Taphouse. This beer was brewed in collaboration with SPECTRUM, Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space, and a portion of the proceeds from this beer will go directly to the organization.
SPECTRUM’s vision is to accomplish an inclusive community where all LGBTQ2+ individuals are welcomed, celebrated, and supported as their authentic selves. SPECTRUM strives to be an organization that serves, affirms, and supports the well-being of LGBTQ2+ individuals in Waterloo Region and the broader community through peer support, community partnerships, education and training, resources, and events.
“When SPECTRUM was organized initially [in 2012], it was brought to fruition so rainbow community members had a safe physical space to gather,” Kristy Skelton, Acting Executive Director at SPECTRUM said. “The physical space is at the core – creating space to connect and to gather safely with each other and with your partners in a space where you could really be your authentic self.”
SPECTRUM offers a wide array of peer support groups – over 20 a month! These groups include a variety of trans peer support groups, multicultural groups, aging community support groups, recreational and leisure groups, as well as social groups like a forthcoming book club. SPECTRUM also puts forth educational material, advocacy efforts and training programs for the community.
Over time, Waterloo Region has seen a decline in public spaces that are comfortable for queer people to go to. There are currently no queer bars or dedicated social spaces in the Region. Within Waterloo’s university spaces, there are LGBTQ2+ groups and spaces, but nothing beyond that reaches the wider community. In Waterloo Region, some folks still experience safety concerns and risk of harm when being their authentic self in public spaces; this is why SPECTRUM’s space is extremely important for our community.
Despite the pandemic taking most of their social gatherings online, SPECTRUM has had a very successful year. They received a Women and Gender Equality Grant from the federal government which allowed them to hire paid positions. With full-time paid staff, they were able to focus on their fundraising, marketing and volunteerism efforts even more than before. They recently celebrated a brand relaunch and are currently renovating their space to welcome folks back physically at the end of September. In October, SPECTRUM will host their Annual General Meeting virtually; all community members are invited.
Waterloo Brewing is grateful for the opportunity to partner with SPECTRUM as their tireless efforts are extremely valuable for our community. “Partnerships with businesses are important for us … One of my goals this year was to really push SPECTRUM beyond its physical walls because while people know of the organization, they don’t always know what it does or how it functions unless they are a part of that inner circle,” Skelton said. “I really feel like we need to push beyond that and move out into the community, which is why [we wanted to collaborate with Waterloo Brewing.]”
To learn more about SPECTRUM and the good work they do, head to ourspectrum.com