Caring for the LGBT2SQ Community: A Spotlight on MAC Viva Glam

MAC’s Viva Glam Fund has contributed to the wellbeing of numerous LOFT LGBT2SQ clients for decades

June is Pride Month in North America – an opportunity to celebrate the often stigmatized and underserved LGBT2SQ community. At LOFT, we strive to recognize their challenges and provide them with our support.

In 1990, a Métis youth named Billy McEwan was diagnosed with AIDS and had difficulty finding suitable and affordable housing. His story came to the attention of LOFT’s Board of Directors, initiating a process that led to the establishment of a supportive residence for men and women living with HIV/AIDS in addition to mental health and/or addiction challenges and homelessness.

In homage to Billy McEwan’s courage and spirit, the residence was named McEwan House. This program (now known as McEwan Housing & Support Services) remains one of the only programs in Canada helping clients with these co-occurring challenges. In 2021, the program celebrates 30 years of impact.

LOFT has been an ally of the LGBT2SQ community for decades. Realizing that the transgender community faced similar challenges related to housing and accessible health care, we launched the BLOOM Transitional Gender Program in 2017. This innovative program is designed for those who identify as transgender and face mental health and housing challenges.

LOFT’s programs for the LGBT2SQ community, including clients living with HIV/AIDS or undergoing gender transition, have been receiving support from MAC Cosmetics since 1996. Our programs have benefitted from over $580,000 in funds, supporting hundreds of individuals on their journey towards recovery and independence.

Established in 1994, the MAC Aids Fund (now known as MAC Viva Glam) supports equal rights for women and people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, as well as all members of the LGBT2SQ community. It donates funds to organizations like LOFT, serving the most vulnerable among us.

MAC’s support of LOFT has been invaluable. Their artists and employees have volunteered their time on World AIDS Day, raising awareness and giving back by painting and decorating client homes. As a pioneer funder of both our McEwan and Bloom programs, MAC has allowed LOFT to take bold action in order to address the unmet needs of the LGBT2SQ community.

“The purchasing power of a M·A·C VIVA GLAM lipstick delivers real impact,” says Taposhi Gandhi, VP and Brand Manager of M·A·C Cosmetics Canada. “100 percent of the selling price is donated to local organizations supporting women and girls, the LGBTQIA+ community and people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and the program has raised over $500,000,000 globally since its inception in 1994.”

MAC Volunteers in 2016

A key factor in the LGBT2SQ experience is the importance of acceptance of one’s gender and sexual identity, as well as belonging to a community. We have clients from diverse backgrounds and experiences, such as people who have struggled with extreme poverty, people of colour, and those who have moved to Canada because their gender identity was a threat to their lives. Thanks to MAC’s long-term commitment, LOFT clients have a safe and stable place to be themselves, while receiving support for their physical and mental health needs and building an inclusive community with other residents.