Vancouver's Qmunity sustains LGBT support through alternate means with new interim executive director

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      The lights may temporarily dim in some parts of a Vancouver-based queer resource centre but their rainbow connections will continue to shine on through alternate means.

      Qmunity announced a number of changes on March 18, which will be in effect until further notice.

      The centre is closed to walk-ins until further notice, and volunteers won’t be attending the office. The majority of staff will continue work from home but hours may vary.

      The Bute Street Clinic, which provides testing for sexually transmitted infection (STI), will remain closed until April 30. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control, which operates the clinic, is advising anyone who is seeking STIs services to call 604-707-5603 to determine if they can attend an alternate location.

      For group programming, several groups have moved online and for updates, visit the Qmunity website.   

      Despite these changes, Qmunity will continue to offer several support services.

      New referrals for low-cost counselling will continue to be accepted. Anyone with counselling appointments already scheduled should contact their counsellors about any upcoming meetings.

      Qmunity will also maintain phone and email contact and support with youth and seniors.

      Staff will continue to maintain information and referral services by phone and email as much as possible, and will return messages within 24 hours.

      Qmunity is also accepting suggestions or requests on ways the organization can be of assistance during this time period.

      For updates, visit the Qmunity website.


      Meanwhile, Qmunity also announced on March 18 that Tim Agg is the organization's new interim executive director, and he formally joined the nonprofit's staff on March 1. He has committed to remaining with the organization until September 30, with the possibility of extension by mutual agreement.

      Agg is a part of Qmunity's history as he signed the first lease for the Bute Street office in 1985 when the organization was known as the Vancouver Gay and Lesbian Community Centre. 

      Agg has been working with Qmunity after a period of suspended programming and services that began in late 2019. The previous executive director was Osmel Guerra Maynes, who relocated from Toronto to Vancouver when he was appointed to the position in April 2018.

      Meanwhile, Vancouver-based Health Initiative for Men launched a resource website for queer male health during COVID-19 and the national Community-Based Research Centre, based in Vancouver, is continuing on with its Sex Now Survey data analysis and policy education work.

      In other local LGBT news during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver-based Out on Screen, which runs the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and the B.C.–wide Out in Schools program, has closed its Downtown Vancouver office while staff work from home. All upcoming events and presentations have been suspended until further notice.

      For further information, visit the Out on Screen website. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.