Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife (formerly It Gets Better Yellowknife) is an outreach organization to support queer youth and their allies in Yellowknife. As an organization, we strive to make Yellowknife a safer, more open, more knowledgeable place for all LGBTQ2S+ youth, their families and their allies.
Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife
PO Box 1751, STN Main
Our History & Queer Organizing in the NWT
In 1997, an organization called OutNorth was formed in response to a call for public input on NWT Family Law. For the next decade, OutNorth spent time supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community, mostly through lobbying. OutNorth successfully lobbied the GNWT to allow for same-sex couples to adopt children (1998), pass the NWT Human Rights Act to include protection against discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity (2002), and same-sex marriage (2005).
OutNorth ceased to exist in 2007, and four years later in 2011, Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife was founded. Originally called “It Gets Better Yellowknife”, RCYK formed while honoring Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project campaign in the United States, as a response to the multiple young suicides of LGBTQ2S+ people.
Since our foundation in 2011, we’ve worked with national LGBTQ2S+ organizations as NWT representatives, offered peer-mentorship to youth all over the NWT, organized multiple events, and most recently, we’ve opened a Rainbow Youth Centre for LGBTQ2S+ youth, their families and their allies to utilize.
In the wake of current events surrounding anti-blackness and white supremacy, it has come to our attention that the organization’s name “Rainbow Coalition” has a history of fighting anti-blackness in the United States.
It is not our intention to erase or co-opt the efforts of Fred Hampton, William Fesperman and Jose Jimenez with our organization’s name Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife. It is our intention to acknowledge the history surrounding the name and reinforce our commitment to anti-racism and our support of BIPOC people as well as the 2SLGBTQQIPAA+ community. The Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife firmly stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
While we have begun the work of being introspective and critical of the way that we serve our BIPOC community members, we also acknowledge that we are not the experts of your experience and would love the opportunity to support you and meet your needs in the ways that you see fit. Please let us know, either publicly in the comments, via this anonymous survey, or privately via email (email@example.com), if there are specific ways that we do not currently represent or support you.
In the meantime, we will also be conducting an analysis of our policies, procedures and governing principles to ensure that we are continuing to operate from an anti-oppressive, anti-racist standpoint, and most importantly, that our BIPOC community members feel safe and supported by our organization and the work that we do.
We are, and always have been, committed to supporting the Black Lives Matter cause, and join countless others in our community as we strive for justice and the ending of senseless police brutality rooted in centuries of the white supremacy that built the country we now refer to as “Canada”. ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿🌈❤️