Faces of Change: Kai Dean Brings LGBTQ Friendly Auto Services to Ottawa
Capital Current continues its occasional series featuring some of the people who make a difference in our community:
For LGBTQ people, getting a tire rotation or an oil change on a vehicle can be more difficult than just going for a run. Being harassed or mentioned with the wrong pronoun can make a trip to the mechanic difficult.
This is where Kai Dean comes in. The owner of the auto repair business, The traveling ratchet, brings LGBTQ-friendly auto services to Ottawa.
The Merrickville Mechanic offers mobile services through which LGBTQ customers can have confidence that their pronouns will be respected and that they will not face discrimination.
âThere is a serious lack of safe spaces for the queer community – places where we are treated with respect and accepted as we are,â Dean said.
Dean uses them and identifies them as non-binary, which means that their gender doesn’t specifically fall under the idea of ââmale or female.
âAfter years of hearing friends in the queer community talk about their struggles to get to garages, I came up with the idea for The Roaming Ratchet over the summer and asked several friends about their it was a service they could benefit from, âthey said.
Dean said after a “definite yes” from friends, they started to build their business.
But The Roaming Ratchet isn’t just for people who don’t identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Dean says the company provides safe service to anyone stressed by potential discrimination in a traditional garage.
âMany women have contacted me as well because while they may not be gay, they also struggle with garages – where unfortunately the industry has been dominated primarily by toxic masculinity,â said Dean. . âAsking someone to take the time to learn your name, your pronouns, speak to you with respect, and explain the job to you is something I offer to all of my clients, whether they are gay or allied. “
ââ Having someone who takes the time to learn your name, your pronouns, speak to you with respect and explain the job to you is something I offer to all of my clients, whether they are gay or allied. “
Kai Dean, owner of The Roaming Ratchet
The Roaming Ratchet began when Dean opened a Facebook page in September so that users could book mobile services.
After a plethora of media online, it now has over 2,000 likes and has even gained media attention. Dean was featured in a CBC article in early October.
Dean says they are humbled by the support. What’s important to Dean, however, are the discussions their company opens.
âThe absolute best feeling personally was after my interview on CBC, hearing young non-binary children and their parents thanking me for being visible and showing them that there is a place for all of us in society,â said they declared.
executive director of Pride in the capital Osmel Maynes says he’s happy to hear about Dean’s work.
“[LGBTQ people] let’s live in a society where we also want to be recognized – and to be recognized because we’re here, you know – we’re normal people living in a community.
A future full of respect
Maynes says he envisions a future where community members don’t have to worry about being disrespected.
âIf I tell you my name, my name is not Gary. My name is not Roy. It’s Osmel. So if I tell you my gender identity or the pronouns I want to use are he / him or they pronouns, then it should be the same, âhe said.
To support more LGBTQ-friendly businesses like The Roaming Ratchet, Maynes suggests visiting Capital Pride’s The Rainbow Pages Business Directory, which to date lists 17 companies that support LGBTQ, ranging from French decoration suppliers to law firms.