Kelowna Rainbow Women started in July of 2019 and has grown to over 335 members since then. The group was borne of the idea that the women of Kelowna, residents and/or visitors, need a sense of community and the opportunity of a full calendar of events happening within the city that include more than just pub nights.
So, who is a Kelowna Rainbow Woman? Anyone who identifies as a woman within the LGBTQ2+ community some (genderqueer, two-spirited) or all of the time. Kelowna Rainbow Women (KRW) is an all-inclusive, zero-phobic, chill and relaxed group.
KRW is NOT a group strictly for cis-females who identify as lesbians.
Kelowna Rainbow Women is a young endeavor, and we are continuing to grow while we support each other in an online community where we share personal stories, news events, and other things that matter to us.
Ivy Thomas has always felt a
connection to God and was actively involved in her worshiping congregation. However,
when she was in her early 40s, married with two children in their early teens,
and considering what she might do with the rest of her life, she felt a strong
call to ministry.
It took another three years of
what she called “Holy 2 x 4s” before she dared take the leap of faith
to go back to school and pursue her Master of Divinity.
The challenges Ivy faced were not
so much within the profession, as in the journey to get there. Her decision to
follow her call led to the ending of her marriage and a difficult time of
adjustment for her family. It also took her
into a time of personal discernment, as she searched to understand who she was
as an independent person, no longer attached to her husband.
Shortly after her marriage ended she
fell in love with another woman, a fellow student in Seminary. Both of their long-term
relationships were ending or had recently ended and they found with each other,
a deeply spiritual connection that has continued to grow over the last 19
However, the denomination Ivy grew
up in was not accepting of LGBTQ2+ people and so she had to make a decision,
and it was an easy one. She turned to the United Church of Canada, which has,
since 1988, ordained LGBTQ2+ people. It
was a natural fit not only because of her orientation but because of the social
justice perspective to the gospel that is lived out in the denomination.
As an out lesbian clergy, Ivy has
been warmly and respectfully welcomed by every member of her congregation. They
are a welcoming community on a continual learning curve. They are willing to
ask questions, hear explanations, and explore ongoing and expanding ways to be
Ivy says, “It’s difficult to
choose one favourite thing about ministry. There’s the opportunity to help
people develop an awareness of the movement of the Spirit in their lives, and encourage
them to open up to and welcome the fullness of the experience, finding
meaningful and creative ways to remind people how much they are loved and how
important it is to share that love through our everyday living.
“But perhaps the most
important thing for me is inviting people to understand God in a way that is
meaningful to them. This often means letting
go of the traditional perception of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful,
vengeful, white-bearded guy in the sky, and learning to read the Bible in a way
that makes sense for us, today.”
Some advice from Ivy about deciding to enter Ministry:
Discernment, both personal and
communal, is essential. Pray, think it through, and talk with others, including
those in the field, about your sense of call.
Listen carefully to what people are saying, or perhaps not saying to you.
Never forget that there are many
forms of ministry, some are clergy roles, some are not. It’s hard to say which are the most
important! Ministry is about teamwork.
Know too that the church is an
organization filled with real people who are as far from perfect as you are.
There are challenges to deal with and much patience required, but underneath it
all, as in the rest of our lives, is a group of amazing, beautiful people
trying to do the best they can with what they have at the moment.
The church Ivy currently serves
is St. Paul’s United, a congregation within the United Church of Canada. They
are currently leasing space from the Kelowna Seventh Day Adventist Church at
1130 Springfield Road in Kelowna.
St. Paul’s is a joy-filled congregation that believes in the respect and honouring of all people. No matter who you are, where your life has taken you in the past or where it may lead you in the future.
Doreen Lambert operates a Graphic Design/Art business, Mind Full Designs, in Kelowna where she creates business stationery, logos, banners, ads book covers, or anything else you might need for a business or event.
Possessing a wide range of abilities, Doreen combines problem-solving,
innovative art, and design principles which she obtained through her Military
Service, personal art, and her program in Graphic and Digital Design at The
Centre for Arts and Technology.
Her knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, vinyl installation
techniques, and customer service allows her to play an integral role in the
implementation of design initiatives.
Doreen went back to school after her Military service with the
goal of starting her own business. She chose Graphic Design because she has always
liked creating and was amazed to discover her passion could be expressed in the
computer graphics field.
Plus, she likes helping people with their business projects,
so it is the best of both worlds.
Doreen commented, “Each assignment is different and
each client needs my help, so I try my best to make their ideas come to life.”
Some advice from Doreen about starting your own business:
Find your passion and do research. In the end, just go for it and have faith that hard work will get you to your goal. Also, talk to everyone! Doreen has found clients standing in line at the grocery store!
I thought my hockey career was over when I (formally) came out as Transgender in 2018. I hadn’t played in years. Who would I now play for? I had played for a men’s team, while on feminizing hormones and nobody could tell I was secretly in transition starting in 2015. That’s what happens when you play with guys you have grown up with all your life.
So, when we
decided to leave Alberta in late 2018 and head back home to BC, I knew I had to
create a supportive community and sooner than later if possible.
some homework, I posted on a few hockey sites under my female alias. I had not
done the name change but knew it would be after the 3-month waiting period upon
arrival in BC. I didn’t immediately want to scare away any potential teams by
posting as Grant. As a result, I received a couple of emails in response.
always been open about being transgender. I do this with the esthetician, hair
salon, laser hair removal, spot, makeup artist, doctor, dentist, etc. I have
been criticized for this but, at the same time, people are allowed to make a
living and not deal with people they may not like.
hockey. I wrote an email explaining my situation on hormones, not fully
transitioned yet, that I have played in the past etc. I didn’t mention, I am
overweight but, I am not perfect.
I got some replies back saying this would be totally fine. I wanted to ask
again, and I think I did, but I wanted to make sure that it was a team
decision. Even if one individual did not feel comfortable, then I would get
that and respect it. They have that right, and really, they do have more of a
right to be there than me. Maybe I can be a little pragmatic but that’s
how I feel.
rather be respectful in this manner because I know it’s a delicate issue.
back and forth, I got an email and phone call offering me one last opportunity.
In the midst of a move, I wasn’t really thinking about hockey, but I took the
opportunity. Now I was scared!
that first meeting of the team was terrifying, filled with anxiety, but it went
pretty well I think. Then a week later my first actual game. What dressing room
do I use? The response was, “the same one as the rest of the team”.
Okay, a little scary. I tried to position myself in a corner, somewhere away
from everybody out of respect. I tried to get dressed and keep a low profile.
It was wonderful but at the same time, hard.
Every game I
am still full of anxiety, walking into that dressing room. I start thinking about
comments that pop up during the game. And of course, I am active on social
media and so I see how there are groups that specifically do not want
transgender people on women’s sports teams.
Not only, do
I have my own thoughts and anxiety, now I let others creep in and it’s
incredibly hard. I have thought about quitting because maybe I am that fraud
and imposter and invading a space?
team is amazing and the players have been awesome. They’ve been so supportive
and caring, but it is different than a men’s team, that’s for sure. The
dressing room talk is a lot more subtle, the game is different, and the
environment is still unfamiliar.
It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it in the end.
Amanda Krushel is a financial advisor who cofounded Krushel Wealth Management of Raymond James Ltd. with her father Dale Krushel in June 2019. Her mission is to develop, implement and monitor bespoke investment portfolios and appropriate plans for clients based on their goals and risk tolerance.
She is dedicated to assisting clients in meeting their
Amanda never imagined herself as a business owner, but it slowly
materialized over time, and she loves the flexibility afforded and support she receives
from Raymond James Ltd.
As a child, Amanda envisioned herself becoming a doctor
because that was the most tangible understanding she had of helping people. As she
grew up, Amanda realized that budgeting, saving for big purchases, or having
the ability to retire was a huge component to one’s financial wellbeing and
that these topics were not taught in school.
It was because of this that Amanda realized her purpose was
to educate and advise individuals in the wealth management profession.
Amanda commented, “I enjoy getting to know clients on a personal level and working with them through some kind of transition. Whether that’s implementing savings goals, getting ready for retirement or looking at intergenerational wealth transfers, it’s so gratifying to successfully hit a milestone!”
Her education began with completing a Bachelor of Business Administration program specializing in finance at Okanagan College in 2012. She obtained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 2015, the Responsible Investment Specialist (RIS) designation in 2017 and the Chartered Investment Management (CIM®) designation in 2019.
Some advice from Amanda about becoming a business owner.
Be kind, be fearless, and be confident.
Krushel Wealth Management is a premiere LGBT2Q+ wealth
planning organization serving the B.C. Interior. They work with individuals,
families, and corporations to provide advice in the following areas:
investment, tax, estate and financial planning.
They are located at: Suite 500 – 1726 Dolphin Avenue, Kelowna, BC