Our History

The Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (ORAD) was founded in late 2001 by three co-founders: TJ Rose, Frank Folino and Adrian Paul Desmarais. ORAD started hosting social events such as monthly coffee socials at Timothy’s on Church Street and other social events to bring our Deaf Queer community together to socialize and network with others.

In 2004, the first set of bylaws and mission statement were introduced and adopted by the ORAD membership. As a result, the first Board of Directors were elected: Lisa Faria, President; Richard Guzman, Vice President; Kari English, Secretary; Adrian Paul Desmarais, Treasurer; and Frank Folino, By-Laws Coordinator.

Since 2004, the Board of Directors and volunteers have been busy hosting social events and providing educational workshops that are geared towards providing a safe space for the Deaf and Queer community and increasing Deaf Queer visibility within the larger community. Our membership has expanded to include Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing members and the numbers continue to rise. Without our membership, we would not be where we are today.

In 2007, ORAD became affiliated with the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD), an organization whose purpose is to to establish and maintain a society of Deaf GLBT to encourage and promote the educational, economical, and social welfare; to foster fellowship; to defend our rights; and advance our interests as Deaf GLBT citizens concerning social justice.

For more information about the history of ORAD, please contact info@orad.ca.