Our Commitments

At OUTSaskatoon our role is to serve, listen to, and respond to Two Spirit, Trans, and Queer communities within Saskatoon and area. As a community centre and as community members ourselves, we are continuously listening and learning in order to adapt, evolve, and push our services to consistently meet the needs of 2SLGBTQ community members.

Addressing racism and creating safer spaces for QTBIPOC community members


OUTSaskatoon is committed to addressing racism in a bold way through working with our community to speak out against injustice, envisioning new ways of supporting, caring for, and healing our community outside of institutionalized policing, and implementing bolder education and support services that champion Saskatoon's QTBIPOC community. As the uprising resulting from the deaths of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others have brought further attention to systemic racism and police brutality in America and throughout the world, OUTSaskatoon is taking a public stance to uphold the message of Black Lives Matter and take actions to end systemic racism for Black, Indigenous, and racialized peoples.

Further, we acknowledge our own history as an organization that had little engagement with Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour when we were incorporated as Gay and Lesbian Health Services (GLHS) in November, 1991. We held our first Two Spirit group on September 9th, 1994 (“Celebrating a History of Diversity,” 2005, 43), but it was many years before we built meaningful and reciprocal relationships with Two Spirit people and communities in order to support our current cultural work. As we learn together, we continue to unpack our colonial and settler histories and in recent years we have put these learnings into action through hosting and meaningfully investing in a broad range of cultural activities including Powwow’s, feasts, round dances, Ramadan celebrations and more. We will continue to work diligently as an organization to fully understand intersectionality and its role in ensuring that our programs and services truly reflect the 2SLGBTQ community, and most importantly we recommit to doing this work in an even more intentional and radical way.

Actionable Goals
  1. Actionable work on the ground
    • Clear and visible support for Black Lives Matter, Every Child Matters, and similar grassroots campaigns that champion QTBIPOC lives and rights
    • Build community-led education and programming
    • Policy and practices that will change immediately:
      1. Creating policy that supports staff to attend protests and marches
      2. Policy that we do not call the police on people accessing our services who are experiencing a crisis. We will use our de-escalation skills first, followed by mobile crisis as a backup. If police are called, they are accompanied by a staff member.
  2. Education
    • Immediate staff education along with ongoing professional development
      1. Actionable and accountable education on the following topics:
        1. Lateral violence
        2. Hidden biases
        3. Anti-racism theory and practices
        4. PART Training (de-escalation training)
        5. Microaggressions
        6. Reconciliation and decolonization
      2. Additional educational commitments:
        1. Onboarding for all new staff will include anti-racism training
        2. Staff will work through Me and White Supremacy as a group
        3. Monthly anti-racism activities, discussions, or training
      3. Education for our Social and Support Groups on the following topics:
        1. Microaggressions, hidden bias, lateral violence, and anti-racist practices, reconciliation and decolonization
      4. Education for community on the following topics
        1. De-escalation, human rights, and community care
        2. Lateral violence and microaggressions
        3. Reconciliation and decolonization
        4. Your rights within the justice system
        5. Workshop series in partnership with Saskatoon Anti-Racism Network
  3. Community Meetings and Collaborations
    • Meet with Saskatoon Police Services Chief of Police Troy Cooper 
    • Facilitate a series of community gatherings online or in-person to share, support, and strategize on anti-racism work
    • Call on community members to join our QTBIPOC working group
  4. Long term planning
    • Share our newly developed strategic plan on our website, identifying our anti-racist and intersectional work. 
    • Revisiting our strategic plan annually in order to amplify and expand this work and share update on public platforms
Our Progress

Since making our commitment statement public last summer we have:

  1. Actionable work on the ground
    • We have prioritized making our voice clear on our unequivocal support for numerous grassroots movements to support QTBIPOC lives
    • We have collaborated with community partners and community members to increase the amount of programming and education on QTBIPOC histories, current issues, and practices to eliminate system oppressions
  2. Policy and practices:
    • We have written a policy that supports staff to use work time to attend protests and encourage staff to partner in planning community events
    • We have written a policy and procedure that mandates staff-wide de-escalation training. The policy and procedure also outlines that staff intervention, followed by mobile crisis, and then police as a last resort is the proper procedure for when supporting someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis or whose actions are violent within our space.
  3. Immediate staff education along with ongoing professional development
    • Our staff has completed:
      1. Saskatchewan Intercultural Associations Anti-Racism Crash Course and we have their following 4 anti-racism module workshops booked for the fall of 2021
      2. PART Training (de-escalation training)
      3. A training with Annie Batiste on reconciliation and the history of treaties
      4. Naloxone training
      5. Our staff completed a book club on Me & White Supremacy by Layla Saad
      6. Our staff are currently working through discussing the 15 traits of White Supremacy and how they show up within the workplace
    • Initiatives for new hires
      1. All new staff hired within the last 6 months will complete SIA’s Anti-Racism Crash Course and then the following 4 module workshops
      2. All new staff have completed de-escalation, peer support, harm reduction, and trauma-informed training
    • Education for community:
      1. In August of 2020 we held a four part virtual series in partnership with the Saskatoon Anti-Racism Network on the combined impacts of homophobia, transphobia, and racism on QTBIPOC Queer and Trans people 
  4. Community Meetings:
    • During the summer of 2020 we held two virtual community conversations for QTBIPOC community members to provide feedback on our programming, services, along with their thoughts on policing and how we should navigate service provision and interactions with policing organizations moving forward
    • In the fall of 2020 we began monthly meetings with Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper. Staff from across our four teams attended and at each of the four meetings Chief Troy Cooper brought different SPS members from across leadership, policy, and front line teams. These meetings went on hiatus as the third wave of Covid-19 hit and we are intending to resume them this fall. 
  5. Strategic Planning 
    • In February and May of 2021 we held two strategic planning sessions with one of our goals being to ensure that our strategic plan included addressing racism, white supremacy, and intersectionality within all sections of our strategic plan
    • We have updated our staff annual review matrices and now staff have to self assess annually on their contributions to reconciliation and anti-racist practices within their work and professional development