Who We Are
Ottawa Senior Pride Network (OSPN) is a volunteer-run network of LGBT seniors (50+) and allies, which was formed in 2008. Centretown Community Health Centre has been an active partner since our inception and we have received some United Way funding to help in our work as well as some community funding through the annual ‘Swirl & Twirl’ LGBT wine and food tasting event.
Our group includes a number of LGBT seniors who have a history of decades of activism and community development work. Membership continues to grow steadily; by the end of 2018, OSPN had over 850 members. In order for our members to stay connected with each other, and with the network, we maintain an email distribution system and a Facebook group
We envision a world in which LGBT seniors are honoured and included in their communities and have access to appropriate services and facilities as they come to need them.
Through a network of LGBT community members and allies we work to create:
- A strong, connected, visible senior queer community, and
- LGBT culturally-appropriate and safe senior services and
- We are committed to human rights, safety, social justice, and social inclusion
- We build on the strengths and resiliency of LGBT seniors and treat them as active agents in their own well-being
- We recognize the diversity of the LGBT aging community, including those with disabilities, with lower incomes, who are marginalized, and who are less connected to social supports
- We build respectful working relationships by working across our differences, inviting open dialogue, and using substantive conflict as an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding
- We believe that all LGBT seniors have a right to culturally-proficient services in community agencies, long-term care organizations, home-care agencies, and palliative care services
- We value welcoming and discrimination-free environments for everyone
- We acknowledge and respect the varying degrees of self-acceptance of LGBT seniors
OSPN is a volunteer-led organization that has been built on the interests and input of the community. OSPN’s philosophy is that new ideas are always welcome and the ones where there is energy from the community will come to fruition, provided someone, or a group of people, are willing to initiate action. We encourage people to use the Facebook page or our Community Gatherings as a way to put ideas forward and determine interest. Someone else may pick up on an idea and assist, or run with it. Any new initiative needs to have a link with the Coordinating Committee.
If you’re interested in learning more about OSPN and/or in joining any of our initiatives, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: There has been much discussion about our use of the word ‘queer’ in our promotional and training materials. From our perspective ‘queer’ is a positive word that equates with ‘LGBT’. As we did decades ago with the words ‘gay’, ‘dyke’ and even ‘lesbian’, we have taken the word ‘queer’ and reclaimed it. We believe this is an empowering act.