Excerpt taken from Andrew C’s GLOSSI History
GLOSSI, an acronym for Gays and Lesbians of Salt Spring Island, had its inception in the early nineties as a group of local men and women that gathered occasionally for informal social get-togethers, such as pot-lucks, dining out and movie nights. Over time the small circle of friends who participated in these ad hoc events grew in number, and occasionally dances were organized. News of these events was spread by word of mouth, which meant that only those people who had connections within the circle would know about them.
After a few years, a handful of the GLOSSI regulars decided to hold monthly meetings as a way of establishing some continuity to the group, making it easier for new people to connect with the community, and provide a platform for the scope of GLOSSI to broaden beyond social events to include outreach and support initiatives and political activism.
As the aspirations of the group developed, there came a point in 1999 when it was decided that formalizing the organization would be helpful in pursuing some of these goals, creating a sense of legitimacy when fund raising and dealing with banks, etc. and also to ensure that the affairs of the group would be administrated responsibly. To accomplish this, a committee was formed to undertake the incorporation of GLOSSI as a legal entity under the Societies Act of BC, and thus the GLOSSI Gays and Lesbians of Salt Spring Island Society was born.
In those early days there was a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations for the new Society. The first Annual General Meeting was held soon after incorporation and the new Board of Directors, along with numerous other volunteers, got busy establishing the various administrative and communications tools that would help the Society to achieve its various goals. These included such things as setting up a bank account, post office box, phone line, website, and e-mail account, establishing accounting records, and initiating the Society’s newsletter which soon became known as the Pink Sheep News. In addition to these foundational initiatives, there were several sub-committees that were busy working on various events, activities and projects ranging from dances, bowling get-togethers, picnics and pot lucks to fundraise for the members of the local HIV support group, and researching and producing a booklet on local Gay & Lesbian health issues which was distributed to all health care providers in the Southern Gulf Islands, and establishing connections with local schools and anti-violence campaigns targeted at island youth.
Along with the frenzy of activity happening within the organization, we also became known throughout the broader community through advertising, press releases, letters to the editor, and feature articles in the local weekly newspapers, and in Vancouver’s Xtra West GLBT bi-weekly. GLOSSI was also involved with the Our Island, Our World Film Festival; “Stump Stomp” fundraising dance; and organized Salt Springs first Aids Walk and entertainment festival in Centennial Park. Within a short time, GLOSSI became the recognized face of the local GLBT population on Salt Spring Island.
Addition by Caffyn
After the initial enthusiasm died down, it fell to some dedicated women to keep the organization alive through some dry and difficult years. We continued to regularly publish the Pink Sheep News, do some community activism around youth issues, and host occasional social events.