Rainbow Awards

Congratulations to the 2016 Rainbow Award Recipient Heather Sutherland! Health Enhancement Award






2015 RAINBOW awards





2015 Rainbow Awards Linda Olsen in white (Society Award) AND Patti Parkyn in pink (Lifetime Achievement) presented by Joan Schwartzenberger and Acting Mayor Marianne Alto.


Health Enhancement – Education – Society – Lifetime Achievement

History and Purpose

VLSCS offers the Rainbow Ribbon Awards as a way of recognizing those persons or organizations who enhance lesbian health and well-being in the Greater Victoria area. The Rainbow Ribbon Awards are intended to be an annual recognition of significant social activists, health care professionals, educators and businesses whose activities promote or enhance the acceptance of lesbians in the broader community and create welcoming and safe spaces for lesbians to gather.

We all know someone who is a role model or trail blazer–now is your chance to name that person or group which has significantly added to your health and/or well-being as a lesbian.

2007 Recipients – Click Here for Names and Stories 

2008 Recipients – Click Here for Names and Stories 

2010 Recipients – Click Here for Names and Stories

Nominations for each year close on April 30th. Click buttons below to nominate online or Print the pdf file.

Nominate Now! Health EnhancementEducationSocietyLifetime Achievement



Education and Training Award To recognize individuals whose knowledge and experience help integrate lesbians into the broader community.

a. there is evidence that an individual has educated or trained social service providers, community agencies or educational institutions or b. who has successfully implemented a project, or completed research, or offered education workshops/sessions about lesbian issues to the general public c. any woman can be nominated who trains, educates or integrates the issue of GBLT  awareness into the school system.

Nomination Form for Education Award
Society Award To organizations (Business/Non-Profit Society or Service Organization) or persons who promote a sense of lesbian community in the Greater Victoria areaa. the candidate will have created opportunities for lesbians to gather where they feel welcome and safe b. it is visibly apparent within their constitution and mandate that they support lesbian individuals and that they use lesbian-positive language in their literature or publicity c. evidence is available that their business or operation provide services that promote lesbian community.
Nomination Form for Society Award

Health Enhancement Award To a person whose work enhances lesbian health.

a. who demonstrated experience in gerontology/geriatrics b. volunteer or professional work in dealing with lesbian health in a holistic way i.e addressing psychosocial, physical, emotional and mental health issues c. educating, promoting, supporting or creating health care programs.

Nomination Form for Health Enhancement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award To a social activist, defined as an individual whose involvement in social issues over a lifetime has demonstrated energetic work, participation, and involvement which has influenced constructive social change or outcomes.

Cite areas of measurable change or social influence.

Nomination Form for Lifetime Achievement Award

PDF File – View and or Print this page and the nomination documents.

2007 Inaugural Rainbow Ribbon Awards

The inaugural Rainbow Ribbon Awards were presented by Patti Parkyn at the 20th Annual Gala, October 20th, 2007. Three Lifetime Achievement Awards and a Society Award were presented. Cheryl McGarrigle accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award for Jan Brookstone. Debby Yaffe accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mary Elizabeth Duff accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award. Kim Dixon accepts the Society Award for James Bay New Horizons.



JBNH: James Bay New Horizons Seniors Centre has been in operation for 32 years. It began in the James Bay United Church where a group of woman developed an idea to apply for a grant to the New Horizons of Canada to fund seed money for a new centre. Today, there are approximately 750 members of all ages, 150 volunteers and 6 paid staff. Kim Dixon, Executive Director for 13yrs has been instrumental in advocating for inclusion and has literally paved the way for the VLSCS to build a welcoming space for our community. It is through Kim’s support and vision that VLSCS members feel at home there. There are even JBNH members who have attended some of our VLSCS events. VLSCS is humbled to partner with such a community-spirited organization. Congratulations and thank you. Debby Yaffe: In 1986, as a staff member of SWAG (Status of Woman Action Group) she worked with Jan Brookstone to developed the first G.A.L.’S Night Out. (Gala Appreciation for Lesbians) Debby’s leadership and dedication to success is what helped the Gala to grow, even in adverse times. She is a visionary and a creator. She confidently brought her ideas from thought to reality in such a way that they have lasting impact on us, even today. This is evident through her creation of the VLSCS archives currently in place at The University of Victoria. She began the Lesbian News which later changed it’s name to the Lavender Rhinosaurus. Congratulations and Thank you. Janice Brookstone: Janice was a SWAG board member, and newly out of the closet, at a time when lesbians, and their issues, should not be mentioned as government funding would be jeopardized. The first GALS Gala came out of her frustration and disbelief. She suggested that instead of hushing up we should be loud — we needed to honour our Lesbian foresisters for their gigantic contributions towards equality and justice for all women. Mary Elizabeth Duff: Elizabeth was the go forward person who transitioned the GALA to VLSCS.

2008 Rainbow Ribbon Awards


VLSCS hosted the 21st annual Gala Dinner and Dance on October 18, 2008 at the Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites in downtown Victoria. It was an enchanting evening full of delicious food, a string duet and rock’n DJ music. Two Rainbow Awards were presented. A Lifetime Achievement award to NiQ Deanne for her ongoing contributions to building the les-bian community through entertainment and social action. She has been an active Board member of the Victoria Pride Society for many years and most recently initiated the “Buddy” program bringing women together to enjoy a variety of activities. Way to Go NiQ! A Society Award was presented to Vancity Credit Union for their support of gay and lesbian events in the Greater Victoria area. Danella Parks, Community Investment Manager at the Douglas Branch accepted the award on behalf of Vancity. As part of their Community Leadership Strategy Vancity works to foster a culture of inclusivity and support for diversity. They offer grants and sponsorships to organizations who host activities that support the GLBTQ com-munity. Many thanks to Vancity who was a financial sponsor of the VLSCS Visioning Women: Living and Aging Well con-ference in June. For more information on the VLSCS Rainbow Awards and to nominate someone or an organization for a 2009 award, please see the website. www.vlscs.ca

2010 Rainbow Ribbon Awards

On February 6th, 2010, our Rainbow Award Recipients were honored. On the left, Patti Parkyn presents the Society Award to Frances Thorsen of Chronicles of Crime, On the right, Patti Parkyn presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeanne Rioux.

2015 Rainbow Ribbon Awards

 On June 19th at the Norway House in Victoria Linda Olsen  and Patti Parkyn received Rainbow awards for their support and contributions to wards VLSCS. Presentations were given by Joan Schwartzenberger, Chair of VLSCS and Marianne Alto, Acting Mayor of Victoria.



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