Gukwa̲s sa Wagalus


What sparked the idea for Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus-Rainbow House?

In the early 80s, I was happily a part of the Queer community in Vancouver. One word I would use to describe the people and times is: joy. In the mid-80s the AIDS epidemic hit and devastated the community. What followed was years of ignorance, government inaction and prejudice.

Flash forward to the present day. Recently a leader in the Comox Valley community posted transphobic comments online. When asked to apologize by the various non-profits and the Pride Society of the Comox Valley, they hid behind their right to freedom of speech. It is a matter of what you do with that freedom. This kind of hatred and ignorance is gaining traction online and in public displays of violence and hatred toward the queer community. A time period I thought we left behind.

As a result of this incident and as an outreach worker with a deep passion informed by social justice as strongly informed by the loss of most of my family to the holocaust, I decided to do some research. What I found was shocking: the disproportionate numbers of queer people who are on the streets due to a lack of understanding at home and in support services. These experiences inform the need for Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus / Rainbow House peer-supported safe housing for queer youth. This is the first of its kind project in

Join me in being the change we need to see in society. Support Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus/Rainbow House.

Grant Shilling, D2D Community Facilitator

Previous Story Next Story

Become a D2D Client Landlord


Directly supports someone who is homeless

Contact Us