Rainbow Pages goes virtual, makes Waterloo region LGBTQ directory more accessible

The Rainbow Pages are now online.

The directory of LGBTQ-owned and LGBTQ-friendly businesses has been around since 2014, first starting as a print newsletter and evolving into a magazine by Spectrum, Waterloo region’s rainbow community space.

But the group wanted to make the directory more accessible.

“We think that the directory is important because 2SLGBTQ folks want to feel safe when they go to a business or an organization,” said Scott Williams, the executive director of Spectrum.

Scott Williams is the Executive Director of Spectrum in Waterloo Region. (Submitted by Scott Williams)

“And they also want to know about which organizations are supportive of us and make sure that they’re patronizing those, so it’s a place where people can find that information.”

It isn’t always clear which businesses or organizations in the Waterloo region are LGBTQ-owned or LGBTQ-friendly, making a directory like this invaluable to the local community, Williams said.

“I think people have found it useful over the years,” Williams said. “It’s been almost 10 years since we created the initial one, so hopefully the online version will continue to be helpful.”

The directory has more than 110 LGBTQ-owned and LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations in the system, which are divided into categories like “arts and culture,” “food and drink” and “family resources.”

What is LGBTQ-friendly?

The directory is user generated, but Williams said Spectrum vets submissions to make sure that they are genuinely LGBTQ-friendly.

“I would say we look for organizations that have either done some training in 2SLGBTQ+ issues,” Williams said. “Or they make it clear on their website that they have policies — they might share those policies — around anti-discrimination for 2SLGBTQ+ people. “

The Rainbow Pages can be found through Spectrum’s website.

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Jorge Oliveira

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