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What We Are About & Our History

Rainbow Health is BC’s largest trans, Two-Spirit, nonbinary organization. We are a volunteer based, not-for-profit cooperative that began as a community initiative early in 2014.

We have members across BC, and acknowledge the multiple First Nations traditional territories where we live, work and play. Our organization is housed in the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and centered in the islands of the mid-Salish Sea, as such we specifically acknowledge our organizational host, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and our hosts of several nations, collectively the SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples, also referred to as the Malchosen, the Lekwungen, the Semiahmoo, and the T’Sou-ke. We work on a way forward that is based on mutual respect and marked by stories of our communities cooperating in this time of Truth and Reconciliation.

Our mission is the promotion of gender wellness through education. Gender wellness is the set of personal strategies and public policies that makes our genders a beneficial part of our lives, families and communities.

We provide Hans Kai 4 Trans in partnership with Norwest Community Health of Winnipeg Facilitator Training, Canada’s most comprehensive gender wellness program.

We provide community representatives for a number of regional boards and committees such as the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee

We complete Community-Based Participatory Research with our partners, the University of Victoria and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, – Our_Community Healthcare Initiative (O_CHI) to develop new training, workshops, and wellness services.

O_CHI is a multi-year, BC-wide Community-Based Participatory Research Project that is investigating what systemic change would be for the T2NBY Community. O_CHI is a mixed methodology research project that establishes ongoing community resources to accomplish its objectives, while maintaining a commitment to equitable access by the Indigenous community.
O_CHI views systemic change through a strengths based lens that sees a world where the T2NBY community is a respected, vital and important member of society. The start of that change is to see ourselves in that community as vital, important and worthy of respect.
Our people have lived amongst all peoples, in all places, in all times. We sit where others don’t so that all might have a place. We walk where others don’t so that there are new paths. We bridge between the here and the away. We are Peacekeepers and Pathfinders. Our task is to awaken our kin to their work in this world.

The O_CHI logo is five rings that overlap each other surrounded by a circle of dots. The five rings represent five marginalized communities, Indigenous/Two-Spirit, trans/nonbinary, Sex Workers, People With Disabilities, and Newcomers. The overlap represents our communities’ intersections. The colours represent the uniqueness of each, the white our common struggles. The Silver center represents our common goal of improving wellness in our community The circle of dots represents our ongoing welcome to all.

O-CHI is an incubator of Community Projects of Innovation. The incubator consists of a core resource of support coordinators, project leads and researchers for each project. The incubator is housed at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. In 2019, O_CHI began with a set of Pattern Language projects to build the capacity to discover, define, develop, and demonstrate the Community Projects of Innovation.

All O_CHI Projects separately and collectively:

  • Identify patient cohorts with specific needs within the T2ENBYcommunity
  • Develop community capacity to lead in all aspects of the research project
  • Develop community capacity to lead in all aspects of the research project
  • Establish a base line of delivery and experience metrics usable by multiple agencies
  • Ensure the safety of those directly associated with the project and those they interact with
  • Identify service provider, healthcare , government and community member stakeholders
  • Design a pilot program to address the needs identified by a specific patient cohort

O_CHI Projects are evaluated by the Trans, Two-Spirit, Nonbinary (T2NBY) Community Council of BC whose purpose is to define, maintain, and exercise a set of community-based standards for transition related services, healthcare, and research. The T2NBY Council establishes the community capacity to ensure that resources directed to our community’s healthcare are allocated equitably and effectively. O_CHI’s primary deliverable is the establishment of the T2ENBY Council.

Why the O_CHI Project Matters

Growing the changes needed for healthier communities requires:

  • A convincing argument consisting of a clearly stated need and an effective solution
  • The authority to speak and access to decision makers who will listen
  • A network of persistent communities working together to create improvement for each

Our work is to create the conditions where this growth happens.
We conform to the Standards of Care published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. (WPATH SOC v7).

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