From South Asian to Jewish Canadians: Metro Vancouver's LGBT cultural organizations and groups

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      Due to Vancouver’s cultural and linguistic diversity, numerous organizations have arisen for LGBT people to become involved with or to provide access to culturally specific social resources and support.

      Here’s an overview of many of the main organizations in town, including indigenous, religious, and refugee groups.

      Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society
      This non-profit society is devoted to the healing and empowerment of aboriginal and non-aboriginal two-spirit people by addressing needs with traditional Native American practices and culture, such as sweat lodge ceremonies, talking circles, and smudging circles.

      Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society
      Craig Takeuchi

      Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society (GVNCS Two-Spirit Society)
      Travis Angus president told the Straight at Jim Deva Plaza said that it was created 39 years ago for two-spirit First Nations people who didn’t feel like they fit in at other local societies. He said the society has helped to take the community out of bar scene and they hold workshops, have been involved with various indigenous nations, participate in Pride parade, and conduct blessings at events.

      Our City of Colours
      Our City of Colours launches awareness campaigns to raise the visibility of positive depictions of LGBT people in various cultural and linguistic communities, ranging from Farsi and Swedish to Korean, Ojibwe, and American Sign Language. The campaigns are designed to counter invisibility or a lack of media representation. Many of their campaigns consist of posters that depict same-sex couples or trans people with bilingual text.

      Pinoy Pride Vancouver

      Pinoy Pride Vancouver
      Filipino Canadians can turn to this social and support group, which promotes awareness and acceptance for LGBT Pinoys. They are involved in various social and fundraising events, and participate in the Pride parade.

      Rainbow Refugee
      This Vancouver-based, volunteer-driven community group was founded in 2000 to help refugees who are being persecuted in their homelands or residence due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. The organization also provides information to asylum seekers outside Canada. Support groups for LGBT and HIV–positive refugees are being organized in other Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal as well.

      Salaam Vancouver

      Salaam Vancouver
      Imtiaz Popat coordinates this group that supports queer Muslim and takes action to address issues such as homophobia and Islamophobia. They’ve held demonstrations in response to antigay legislation in Uganda, as well as Donald Trump’s claim that LGBT people support a ban on Muslims from entering the U.S. Along with Trikone Vancouver, this group is boycotting the Vancouver Pride parade in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Vancouver and instead are participating in the Two Spirit Queers, Trans, Intersexed, and Bisexual People of Colour Pride March on Monday (August 1).

      Sher Vancouver

      Sher Vancouver
      Created in 2008 by Alex Sangha, the Surrey-based Sher Vancouver now has over 600 members. Although it began as a Sikh group, it welcomes all LGBTQ South Asians and allies. This social, cultural, and support group provides advocacy, counselling, information, referral, peer support, social activities, volunteer opportunities, and outreach presentations to address bullying, racism, and discrimination.

      Trikone Vancouver
      This Facebook group, affiliated with the Seattle-based Trikone Northwest, is designed to support LGBT people of South Asian descent from Bangladesh and Burma to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as diasporic locations such as East Africa, the U.K., Singapore or Malaysia. Like Salaam Vancouver, this group is not participating in this year’s Vancouver Pride parade in solidarity with BLM-Vancouver.

      Yad b’Yad LGBTQ
      Everyone is welcome to this grassroots group, even if you aren’t Jewish or LGBT. It’s a Metro Vancouver organization for Jewish queer people and addresses Jewish, Israeli, and anti-Semitism issues, particularly within LGBT communities. They’ve marched in the Vancouver Pride parade and have had booths at the Pride Festival as well.