Outreach on Glbtq Issues
12In 2007 GLOSSI decided to donate funds to a group that faces extreme homophobia. This group was IRQO, the Iranian Queer Organization, now known as IRQR, the Iranian Queer Railroad. In Iran being a gay man or lesbian is punishable by hanging or floggingI RQR is an international queer human rights activist group, centred in Toronto. It helps gay, lesbian and transgendered Iranians go through the UN refugee application process and emigrate to “safe” countries. The regime has cracked down on diversity of expression of both gender and orientation Much of the IRQR news pertains to gay men. Women are so opressed in Iran it is very difficult for them to escape. Arsham Parsi, the group’s dedicated activist, came to Gay Pride 2007 to sit on a panel at Art Spring, Love Beyond Borders: Human Rights in Iran and Canada. The panel helped us value the freedom we have. We came to understand how important it is for groups like IRQR to receive the support of countries where there is freedom to be queer.IRQR uses the internet, radio and magazines to help queer Iranians understand their human rights and to overcome internalized homophobia and transphobia. IRQR relies heavily on email support to persuade governments around the world to accept asylum seekers.
Health Research
In 1999 GLOSSI undertook a research project and published a booklet Gay and Lesbian Health on Saltspring Island : a Resource for Health Care Providers
Research Description
Queer-Straight Alliance
2014 update - the High School's GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) has been renamed the Queer-Straight Alliance and it is being spearheaded by a Trans youth activist. Salt Spring's GSA Contributed by Bill T., 2009 Salt Spring’s progressive and high-performing secondary school, GISS, has had an active GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE since 2004, when it was initiated by three grade 10 students who felt the need for such an organization. Principal Nancy Macdonald, who wholeheartedly supported this initiative, recruited Bill Turner, an active board member of GLOSSI and substitute teacher at GISS, to sponsor the GSA. Taking seriously its mandate to educate GISS students, as well as the community at large, about gay issues, the GSA has undertaken many activities toward this goal. Following are a few highlights of this work: Two GSA students, Clare Lannan and Jacob Schweda, were members of a six-member panel (which included Svend Robinson) in a community discussion of gay issues during Salt Spring’s first-ever Gay Pride celebration four years ago The GSA has done many poster campaigns at GISS, ensuring that every classroom has an anti-homophobia poster on a wall GSA students have attended numerous conferences, both in Vancouver and Victoria, which have focused on gay issues in schools GSA students have given workshops in both the middle and elementary schools. GSA students took part in an emotional GLOSSI-GSA workshop where participants ‘bared their souls’ (see Jacob’s write-up below.) The GSA proudly marched behind their banner in Salt Spring’s first-ever and enormously successful Gay Pride Parade this past September (see picture above). Perhaps the crowning achievement of the GSA is their involvement in the creation of our school district’s stand-alone anti-homophobia policy in 2005, the first such policy in a rural school district in British Columbia, with only Vancouver and Victoria sharing similar policies. Without such an active GSA this undoubtedly would not have happened. Special recognition goes to Jacob Schweda, founding member and extraordinarily gifted leader of the GSA at the time, who spearheaded this initiative
Lambda Foundation

Lambda Foundation  Human Rights Awards  

Contributed by Jack H, 2009 It was discussions among GLOSSI board members  because of Homophobia at G.I.S.S. that led eventually, through the Lambda Foundation to two annual Human Rights Awards at G.I.S.S.  The awards in 2007 for $700 will be $1000 each in 2010.  It is hoped and expected that these awards (at least one in some years) will be  awarded in perpetuity. The late Dr. Gary Gibson, vice- president of the Lambda Foundation, Bill Turner teacher and mentor to the Gay Straight Alliance, Jack Hallam retired biologist and teacher involved in funding and several others including Caffyn Kelley and David Rumsey were instrumental in establishing these  awards. In the fall of 2008 a committee of Bill, Caffyn, Jack and Maggie Allison of G.I.S.S.  clarified that these are awards to grade 12 students not scholarships and applicants may plan to follow a non-academic  career. One award is for a student who has been  active in opposing Homophobia, the other is for a student who demonstrated that she or he has been active in combating Racism  directed at persons of colour including First Nations peoples.  Applicants are also required to write a short essay on one of a variety of Human Rights issues.
Iranian Queer Railroad
11In 2007 GLOSSI decided to donate funds to a group that faces extreme homophobia. This group was IRQO, the Iranian Queer Organization, now known as IRQR, the Iranian Queer Railroad. In Iran being a gay man or lesbian is punishable by hanging or flogging. IRQR is an international queer human rights activist group, centred in Toronto. It helps gay, lesbian and transgendered Iranians go through the UN refugee application process and emigrate to “safe” countries. The regime has cracked down on diversity of expression of both gender and orientation. Much of the IRQR news pertains to gay men. Women are so oppressed in Iran it is very difficult for them to escape. Arsham Parsi, the group’s dedicated activist, came to Gay Pride 2007 to sit on a panel at Art Spring, Love Beyond Borders: Human Rights in Iran and Canada. The panel helped us value the freedom we have. We came to understand how important it is for groups like IRQR to receive the support of countries where there is freedom to be queer. IRQR uses the internet, radio and magazines to help queer Iranians understand their human rights and to overcome internalized homophobia and transphobia. IRQR relies heavily on email support to persuade governments around the world to accept asylum seekers. IRQR needs donations to fund safe houses, run education campaigns and above all to help refugees to escape and survive where they are sent, which is also often not safe.
P-FLAG
P-FLAG on Salt Spring Island Contributed by Katie, 2009 PFLAG Canada is a registered charitable organization that provides support, education and resources to anyone with questions or concerns about sexual orientation or gender identity. PFLAG Canada has chapters or contacts in more than 70 communities across Canada. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex, queer or questioning, or if you care about someone who is, compassionate volunteers are ready to help.  The Salt Spring Island  chapter began in September 2008 to coincide with Pride celebrations.  The national support line is 1-888-530-6777.  For more information about meetings on SSI please email: pflagssi@live.com
Life Mapping
Queer Erotic Spirit
In 2009 Caffyn Jesse offered a workshop on Queer Erotic Spirit. Are you curious about the notion that sex can be sacred? Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer artists and activists have developed unique intersections of sex and spirit. Participants heard a talk that touched on the history of sacred same-sex sexuality in diverse cultures, and the contributions of contemporary erotic explorers to expanding possibilities for human sexuality. Explicit video and images were shown with a mix of frisky how-to instructions and deep inspiration for sacred sex. While everyone kept their clothes on at this workshop, participants were invited to take a guided meditation to meet their own capacity to be a sexual healer, and experiment with ecstasy breathing. All registered participants received a workbook on sacred sexuality. See Caffyn's "Queer Sacred Sex Principles" and check out her website at www.erospirit.ca
Relationship Violence
Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships: How Can Family Doctors Help? article by Caffyn Jesse, 2012 Domestic violence threatens the health of up to one in three people. Those in same-sex relationships face psychological and physical abuse in the same proportions as those in heterosexual relationships, but there has been limited research on the problem in this population. There are less tools and established protocols for health care providers. The Lambda Foundation and GLOSSI (Gays and Lesbians of SSI) sponsored a talk by Dr. Christina Romulus, who presented the results of her groundbreaking study on how family doctors can help address the problem of domestic violence with patients in same-sex relationships. Dr. Romulus noted that there is a great need to educate both patients and doctors on what abuse is. Beyond physical violence, abuse can operate in emotional, social, financial and sexual spheres of people’s relationships. Victims tend to minimize the abuse and its impact. Dr. Romulus found that doctors can use simple, open questions like “How safe do you feel in your relationship?” and “How supported do you feel by your partner?” to explore the possibility of abuse in relationships. Doctors then need to be ready with an appropriate response to a disclosure, which could include referrals to community resources, and seeing the patient for a series of counseling appointments. Survey respondents noted that simply talking about the abuse helped them to feel empowered. They did not discuss the situation with their doctor when she or he failed to ask, or when the victim did not feel important enough. Doctors have special considerations when dealing with domestic violence in the lives of the GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender) population. There may be a dearth of resources for GLBT patients contending with abuse. Lesbians and trans women are welcomed into emergency shelters serving abused women, but there are no transition houses serving men, and specialized counseling services are limited. Here family doctors play an even more important role in helping their patients gain safety. Domestic violence is the third-largest health care problem affecting gay men, after HIV and substance abuse. Domestic violence and its disclosure can be complicated by homophobia. Victims can be bullied by homophobic stereotypes or threatened with unwanted disclosure of their sexual orientation, even when the abuser is the victim’s intimate partner. Victims may be reluctant to disclose negative aspects of their relationships for fear of encountering a homophobic response, or further stigmatizing an already-stigmatized group. Dr. Romulus is a family physician working in downtown Vancouver. She has been selected to receive the Lambda Foundation Dr. Gary Gibson Award in recognition of her research. Salt Spring Islanders may remember Dr. Gibson, who was an active volunteer in many island organizations between moving to Salt Spring in 2002 and his sudden death in 2008.