Who We Are
Salaam Canada is a volunteer-run national organization dedicated to creating space for people who identify as both Muslim* and LGBTQ+. We acknowledge the diverse experiences of our community and support LGBTQ+ people who identify with Islam ritually, culturally, spiritually, or religiously. Salaam Canada advocates for social justice and addresses the intersecting issues around homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia/racism.
What We Offer
We offer discussion, support, and social spaces for LGBTQ+ Muslims across Turtle Island. We have regional groups in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Vancouver--all of whom organize events and do social justice advocacy work locally. We also offer training services to organizations who want to build their capacity to better serve LGBTQ+ Muslims.
In Toronto, Salaam began meeting in the early 1990s as a social/support group for lesbian and gay Muslims and as one of the first organizations of its kind in North America. For the first two years, Salaam held regular meetings, celebrations, and get-togethers, drawing people from not only across Ontario and other parts of Canada, but also the United States. Unfortunately, following some violent and negative responses and threats, Salaam went on hiatus.
In 2000, the new millennium saw a different socio-political climate and the organization was reborn as Salaam: Queer Muslim Community. This time, in addition to regular monthly support group meetings in Toronto, Salaam started to provide refugee and newcomer support, host an annual Peace Iftar, and hold forums on human rights and social justice issues within LGBTQ+ and Muslim communities.
In 2003, Salaam co-hosted the Salaam/Al-Fatiha International LGBTTIQQ Muslim Conference in Toronto with over 150 national and international participants. In 2011, it also hosted the National Salaam Canada Conference in Vancouver in conjunction with the OUTGames Human Rights Conference.
In 2019, we adopted the name Salaam Canada and held two bicoastal convenings with a total of 50 LGBTQ+ Muslim peer leaders in attendance. The first was held in Toronto and the second in Vancouver, inviting participants from several provinces. Each two-day convening included regional visioning, peer support skills training, and collaborative resource development. These gatherings were particularly powerful opportunities for LGBTQ+ Muslims across the country to meet in-person, share life stories, and brainstorm responsive ways to support our communities in a way that we hope will have a lasting impact.
In 2020, our communities were faced with multiple pandemics, including the COVID-19 public health crisis and those of racial and economic injustices. Our communities mobilized once again to create virtual discussion and social spaces for LGBTQ+ Muslims to (re)connect, grieve, and support each other.