“All Are Welcome Here,” reads the rainbow sign at the entrances of Canvas Health clinic locations. Entering the clinic, one will also find a smaller version of this sign affixed to many of the office doors, providing a warm and affirming welcome – an indication that these are safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
As an organization, Canvas Health is dedicated to providing affirmative and inclusive mental health and substance use services to LGBTQIA+ community members. Canvas’ employee-run Rainbow Affinity group was formally introduced in January of 2023 and is always looking for new and additional members.
The Rainbow Affinity group provides informative and educational Lunch and Learns each month (and weekly during the month of June – Pride month). These sessions have provided education about a wide range of topics relevant to serving LGBTQIA+ individuals. Topics covered have included LGBTQIA+ “101”, gender-affirming care resources, cultural considerations, the impact of substance use in the LGBTQIA+ community and micro-/macro-aggressions, to name a few.
In June, the Lunch and Learn topics for Canvas Health staff will include:
- A Deep Dive Into Gender Dysphoria: Criteria, prevalence, assessment tools and the DSM-V
- Notable Figures in LGBTQIA+ History: Celebrating our predecessors
- Staying Safe In Our Current Climate: Wait! What do you mean by that?
- They’re Banning Drag Shows? What a drag!
In addition to the Lunch and Learns, the Rainbow Affinity group has hosted social gatherings for the agency and make themselves available to provide consultation, suggestions and/or resources to any colleagues or community members who find themselves in need.
In a climate where stereotypes seem often to be simply accepted as truth, the Rainbow Affinity group is dedicated to raising awareness and providing factual information. These efforts have proven to be a great success for Canvas Health. Each month, approximately 10-15% of Canvas’ employees attend the Lunch and Learn. Feedback has revealed the sessions to be helpful, relevant, and valuable.
Representatives of Canvas Health will be at Loring Park June 24 and 25 for the 2023 Minneapolis Pride Festival! Please stop by our booth, check out our services and grab a little Pride swag!
Author: Jaxx Wolfe, LADC
Substance Use Treatment Program Supervisor
Co-leader, CH Rainbow Affinity Group