The Rainbow Coalition Conference in Guelph rocks minds with education and music!

The Upper Grand District School Board and Jer’s Vision were proud to present the Rainbow Coalition Conference that was held at Harcourt Memorial United Church on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013.

This student-led conference (then known as the Rainbow Summit) was founded by Nishin Nathwani and a dedicated committee two years ago as part of the Rainbow Coalition in Guelph. This year’s organizing schools were John F. Ross, Centennial, Center Wellington, Erin, and Wellington Heights. 

The focus of the Rainbow Coalition Conference was to connect students that are LGBTQ and allies with each other and community resources. Workshops were led by professionals, community members, and student teams. Students shared anti-bullying strategies, and anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia education. Through the conference, students took the skills that they learned back to their schools and communities to run high-impact events and stay connected post-conference.

The following were the workshops that were presented:

  • Body Image in Queer Communities by Sadie Epstein-Fine & Jade Campbell-Scott
  • Parenting with Pride by Bonnie Depaul
  • The LGBTIQQ2PA+ code by Daniel Poulin & Liz Martin
  • Hanging Out, Hooking Up or Just Hung Up: Healthy Relationships and Safe Dating by Kim Kennedy & Jessica St Peter
  • The Rainbow Chorus Presents by Rainbow Chorus Members
  • Queer Media 101 by Douglas Davey & Michele Collins
  • TRANSlations by Jaye Crawford, Natasha Duncan, Christine Lafazanos, Shay Stewart
  • Visiting Feeder Schools: How to Run a Grade 8 Visit by Students from John F. Ross
  • Outsport by Outsport Toronto
  • LGBTQ Issues in a Rural Community by Students from Center Wellington
  • Skittles, Rainbows and Unicorns: Homophobia 101 by Youth Talk and WAYVE
  • Effective Activities for Equity and GSA groups by Students from Wellington Heights
  • Sexual Health for Youth by BJ Caldwell
  • How to be an Ally by Students from Centennial

Best of all, between workshops, students got to hear a keynote adress by Jeremy Dias and music by the Rainbow Chorus and Gentleman Reg!

The Rainbow Chorus, the Waterloo Wellington Chorus of Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, Transgendered Individuals and Friends is a charitable, not-for-profit organization of amateur non-auditioned choral singers. They join together in song and celebrate the diversity of their community. They are the only gay and lesbian chorus in North America outside a major urban center. Members come from all over Wellington and Waterloo counties and beyond. The Chorus promotes excellence in the study and practice of the choral arts for all their members and the community in general as well as educating and increasing the public’s awareness and appreciation of music and of the talents of members of their community. 

Gentleman Reg has dueted with Nina Persson from the Cardigans all over North America, sung Fleetwood Mac covers with Sarah Harmer, sung Mariah Carey covers with Owen Pallett, once performed his song ‘The Boyfriend Song’ during Feist’s set in Paris at her request, and was once rescued by all of Broken Social Scene while being harassed by some drunk frat boys in Leuven. After more than a decade of releasing albums on some of the most seminal labels in Canada – Three Gut Records, which he helped form, and Arts & Crafts – and touring the world, Reg Vermue is set to release album number five, Leisure Life. Reg is also an on again off again member of The Hidden Cameras and launched another band called Light Fires with James Bunton who released their debut single in 2011 and toured extensively throughout Europe and Canada.

Students raved about the conference!

I learned about different terminology for homosexual relationships and how to start a group with effective Activities for Equity. I would like to start a group against racism.

I identify myself as a straight female, but i have many friends who identify as LGBTQ. This conference helped me to become way more understanding and want to make change in my community.

The music was really good. The people in the conferences made sure everyone participated.