Ottawa's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Residents are Keeping a

Wednesday, July 28 2010

JANUARY 24, 2005

January 24, 2005: This week, many residents of Ottawa are keeping a "queer eye on the city budget". They are telling Ottawa city councillors what they need to do to keep building this city. Specifically, they are recommending to City Councillors that they:

Anne Wright, GLBT community representative on the City’s Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee (EDAC), said: "Congratulations to the City for reviving its commitment to its 20/20 Vision. Ottawa is a caring and inclusive city and it can help its distinct communities thrive. A sense of community can transcend any one neighbourhood. We know that diversity fuels attractiveness and economic advantage. Many of Ottawa’s diverse communities, like the gay and lesbian community and recently developed immigrant communities, need help getting established. EDAC is recommending that the City re-instate the one-time community grants to help seed growth within its diverse communities." (Anne Wright will be presenting to City council at 11:30 AM on Monday January 24)

"Ottawa GLBT residents contribute in many ways to the vibrancy and quality of life of Ottawa -- and we’d like to do more. We are calling on City Council to work with us to build our community. We need those one-time community grants to help seed new initiatives. We also need more affordable and stable accommodation for our mainly volunteer-based organizations, and help in developing partnerships with federal and provincial governments towards the establishment of a centre that would be developed by GLBT residents and open to all city residents and visitors. We are not asking simply for money, but for an investment in the quality of life in Ottawa. says William Staubi, chair of the GLBT Community Centre Committee. (William Staubi will be presenting to Council on Monday January 24 at 4:45)

The president of Pink Triangle Services (PTS), Keith Duncanson, let City Council know about how demand for the "gateway services" of PTS has grown over the past two years. PTS has been instrumental in helping many organizations work more effectively with their GLBT clients and constituents. Duncanson says "PTS is a gateway agency that helps people not only find the right services at the right time, it also helps people find ways to contribute to their community. This way everyone benefits. Many human service agencies are stepping up to the challenge of making their services more accessible to members of our community. PTS is relied upon to help them open their doors wider. We’ve helped the City of Ottawa and other health organizations better work towards wellness with youth and gay men. We’ve advised Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre in developing a parenting group for GLBT parents and their children. Our Dr. Kelly McGinnis library maintains the largest collection of GLBT resources in the country -- and the Ottawa Public Library relies on us for that. But PTS is straining under the pressure of rent increases and greater demand from partners while it continues to co-ordinate its many volunteer-led programs. We need more sustaining funding from the City to keep up with the need, and contribute in the way we know we can". (Keith Duncanson will be presenting to City Council at 5:40 on Monday January 24.)

Ron Chaplin, past president of the Ottawa Carleton Council on AIDS, said "Pink Triangle Services is playing a lead role in promoting HIV prevention programs with gay men in active collaboration with community partners including Ottawa Public Health. We congratulate the City for its outstanding partnership in fighting HIV/AIDS. Its partnership with community groups like Pink Triangle Services has given Ottawa more leverage for its public investment. But, with 100 gay men becoming HIV positive every year in this town, there’s much more work to do. PTS needs more resources to help us fight HIV in Ottawa." (time to be determined)

Kim Meechan, co-owner of Out Stuff, says "I started a lesbian coffee club in Barrhaven in August 2004. Since that time over 55 women have attended the weekly event. It is held at a public coffee house every Sunday evening. On average there are between 8 and 15 women every week (last Sunday saw 23 women attending!). The feedback from this group is that there are no meeting places for lesbians other than bars and that this coffee club provides a safe and informal space in which women can meet, chat and exchange information. How wonderful it would be for a permanent safe location for members of the GLBT community to gather, share resources and promote health/wellness." Ottawa’s ground-breaking GLBT Wellness Survey, conducted in 2001, showed that isolation was a significant issue among Ottawa’s lesbians and GLBT youth.

Holly Wagg, Project Director of the Ten Oaks Project says, "LGBTQ families and their children are only beginning to hit the radar of the community. They need a safe place in which to be themselves." Camp Ten Oaks, a not-for-profit sleep-away summer camp offered on a sliding scale to children and youth of LGBTQ families and LGBTQ youth, meets this gap in services. The first camp program of its kind in Canada, the Ten Oaks Project conducted a needs assessment survey which indicated that 81.6% of LGBTQ parents or guardians, LGBTQ youth and allies would either send their children or themselves attend a camp program designed specifically for the LGBTQ community. "We are an organization that has emerged in response to an identifiable need in the LGBTQ community. The Ten Oaks Project is an example of one project that could benefit from the Community Grants. The one-time grant is the type of financial support needed to get a summer camp program off the ground." (Holly Wagg will be presenting to City Council at 11:25am on Tuesday January 25)

Media Inquiries: Anne Wright, 226-2232, 794-2232, annewright@sympatico.ca

 

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