Kind and Planned Parenthood Ottawa (PPO) are under one roof in their joint, new downtown centre.
Formerly Pink Triangle Services (PTS), Kind rebranded in 2015 and continues to offer peer-run groups and support services for the LGBT community and its allies. On April 1, 2016, Kind and PPO moved to 222 Somerset St W in downtown Ottawa.
Daily Xtra sat down with Carling Miller, Kind’s executive director, and Catherine Macnab, PPO’s executive director to talk about their new centre in this edited interview.
Daily Xtra: Why did PPO and Kind decide to open a new, joint centre?
Catherine Macnab: There’s lots of reasons. One is that we’ve been working together in the community for decades, kind of in parallel and sometimes our paths crossed over. It’s been a bit of a dream to pull together sexual and reproductive health with the work of Kind. Obviously, living together costs less, so that’s definitely one of the benefits. For Planned Parenthood, we see there’s such a huge advantage and opportunity for us to be working alongside Kind. It helps us reach into a different community. It’s going to build our capacity a lot to serve the queer and trans community in a way we haven’t previously. It’s always been on the periphery of what we do, but this is our intentional decision to really join forces with Kind.
Carling Miller: In terms of benefit for us, it really gives us an opportunity to see up close and personal how [PPO’s] education works because they’ve been doing it for so long and they’ve been doing it for so well and that’s something that we’re trying to build back up as an agency. It also allows us to have different conversations around educating both internally and externally to the community.
What are some of the conversations that might have been missing in the past?
Miller: Reproduction. It’s not a conversation that’s widely had in Ottawa. In Toronto, The 519 has a lot of programs targeted towards parents and families and people who are looking to start families, but that’s not something that happens here. There’s a whole bunch of legal stuff in terms of queer people either adopting children or one partner giving birth. A lot of resources are Toronto-based and not accessible for many people in Ottawa.
Macnab: Last year Planned Parenthood ran a pilot weekend workshop on family planning for queer and trans families and individuals. We had capacity in the organization at that point in terms of staff, but we don’t now. The 519 came and worked with us on delivering that. The presenters were the key people from 519. So, together [PPO and Kind] have incredible credibility to do that work, bringing reproductive health together with the work of Kind.