Pink Triangle Services was initially shortened to PTS, but thanks to a rebrand, it’s now Kind Space.
In this edited interview, Carling Miller, Kind’s executive director, discusses the rebrand and the organization’s commitment to offering programs to LGBT community members in a safe, fun space.
Daily Xtra: PTS’s rebrand began when the organization won $100,000 worth of marketing services in the Brand Zero competition. Why was the new name Kind Space chosen?
Carling Miller: Kind has been, and will always be, a space created for and by those whose sexualities, genders or relationships do not conform to cisgender/heterosexual normative narratives. Kind places emphasis on intersectionality and focuses on honouring the humanity of the people in our communities, being active in solidarity and being accomplices who demand justice for the most marginalized of our communities.
The pink triangle is tied to a unique and horrific experience of gay men during the Holocaust and it made perfect sense to reclaim it and use it as the name for the organization. However, our communities have evolved, as well as our concept and knowledge of sexuality and gender. As the communities evolve, so too must the organizations rooted within those communities. The branding allows the flexibility to keep the evolution going as needed.
On Twitter and Facebook the organization’s name is spelled Kind with an uppercase “K” and no asterisk. On event posters there’s a lowercase “k” and an asterisk. Which is correct? And what does the asterisk signify?
The correct spelling is an uppercase “K” when written and it is just “Kind” in speech as well. The asterisk is a part of the logo and the placement in the logo is intentional. The asterisk, as a footnote, indicates more to the story — all the things that make you, you. It signifies that the whole of you is important to us and that you shouldn’t feel like you need to leave any pieces of you, any of your intersections, at the door.
A lot of people still refer to the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity as Jer’s Vision. How long do you think it will be until everyone stops saying PTS?
I think for the people who are newer to the organization, or have been involved in the organization over the last couple of years, the transition will be easier. For the folks who haven’t been around recently, I think it will take a little more time. You can’t really put a clock on how quickly someone will become comfortable or supportive of something. Pink Triangle Services was our name and it’s an important part of our history and that has great meaning to many people. So if sometimes someone needs a gentle reminder, that’s OK.
Apart from the new name, what is different about the organization?
The new brand allowed us an opportunity to strip the organization down to its very essence. We’re kind-hearted people who want to support the well-being and liberation of all kinds of people in our communities. From that framework, we can examine all the different parts of the organization and update and change what is needed. We’ve incorporated better systems to make sure people feel supported, empowered and knowledgeable.
You recently spoke out about the importance of trans youth being able to buy products like binders after Venus Envy was fined for selling a binder to a minor. How can people advocate for safe access to products like that in Ottawa?
Thankfully, the fine against Venus Envy was dropped and they were able to find a way to be able to continue supporting youth looking for binders, gaffs, and other items that support social transition. Its also amazing that they’ve set up a way for folks to be able to pay it forward to those who couldn’t afford them otherwise. Beyond that though, Venus Envy shouldn’t be the only physical place in Ottawa where items like that can be purchased.
What does the year ahead look like for Kind’s programs and events?
Programming at Kind remains consistent, but also evolving, and endeavours to respond to what people are looking for, what people tell us is missing and should be included. We’re hearing people want to have more say on how their donations are used. There are lots of ideas in the early stages of development, but not always the capacity to take it much further at the moment. If folks are interested in what those ideas might be and how they can help I encourage them to call, email or come in and have a chat.
What is it like being the sole full-time staff member at Kind?
It’s kinda lonely during the early afternoon hours when there aren’t a lot of people around but I’m thankful that there are folks that pass through. I know the flow will increase as folks become more aware that Kind is a space where you can just come and relax, study, play games, organize or nap throughout the day as well as attend group activities in the evenings. I definitely hope to be able to bring more staff in the not-so-distant future and we’re strategizing to be able to make that happen. The board and volunteers have been amazing and definitely take a lot of the weight off my shoulders in terms of workload. We can only grow so much with just one staff member. To really be able to scale up our programming again we’re going to need extra, full-time support.
How is Kind doing with its funding?
Fundraising is always a challenge and we strongly believe the return on investment from money directed to the non-profit sector is huge, and should be increased. That said, we continue to have strong core funding and other support from the City of Ottawa, which provides an essential financial base. We are working hard to strengthen our balance sheet and continually increase the impact of our programs to attract both previous funders and ones who may be looking to partner with us for the first time. We’ve also been focusing on tapping into smaller-scale and more creative funding sources. As I mentioned earlier, we’re also looking at options to give donors more say over how their dollars are spent.
Anything you’d like to add?
The Vintage Video Game Tournament is happening again this year on Oct 25. Folks are encouraged to donate or raise as much as they can to help Kind. Everyone is welcome to come by and watch or register and participate, check out the space, meet some people and have an awesome afternoon.