NEW MISSION STATEMENT, ADOPTED MAY 20, 2019
Spectrum engages, empowers, and advocates for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people.
OUR VISION: A Marin community where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people are welcomed, affirmed, supported and advocated for by all community members. A community where it takes no special act of courage to live openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person.
Spectrum began in 1982 as the Ministry of Light, founded by Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns, and sponsored by three local Presbyterian churches. The original purpose was to provide nonjudgmental support to lesbian and gay people, and address homophobia.
Founded by Rev. Janie Spahr, Ministry of Light’s work led to the establishment of the Marin chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). During this same time, the AIDS crisis was just beginning to become apparent among gay men in Marin County.
In 1984, the Ministry of Light launched the Marin AIDS Support Network. Staff provided counseling, HIV counseling, and education to health care professionals and the general public about the disease, and established a 24-hour hotline.
Marin AIDS Support Network became a separate entity in 1985; subsequently, it became Marin AIDS Project.
In 1992, the name of the organization was changed to Spectrum and moved toward taking on social services and social change roles on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Though Spectrum is no longer affiliated with a particular religious institution, we recognize the organization’s interfaith heritage and honor the effort of the Presbyterian Church to reach out to the LGBT community as early as it did.
The original programs of Spectrum included support groups for LGBT parents, an annual Family Camp for LGBT families, community education through a volunteer speakers bureau, individual counseling, and a weekly youth support group called Rainbow’s End.
In 1993, with major funding from Marin Community Foundation, Spectrum launched one of the first outreach and support services for lesbian and gay older adults in the country. In a very short time period, Senior Spectrum attracted hundreds of older adults, many of whom had no idea that each other existed.
Today, Spectrum remains the only organization in Marin County dedicated to providing advocacy and support on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Though times have changed and there is greater acceptance and visibility of LGBT people, there is still work to be done.