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Mich. organization to match donations for agencies serving LGBT community

DETROIT — A Michigan-based philanthropic organization has launched a matching gift program for a fund that supports projects at nonprofit agencies serving the area's LGBT community. The program marks The HOPE Fund's 20th anniversary and runs through the end of the year.
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Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Diverse & Resilient explore merger

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and Milwaukee-based Diverse & Resilient are considering joining forces in their efforts to serve the city’s LGBTQ community.

The boards of both nonprofits are completing a due diligence process to examine a possible merger of their organizations.

Diverse & Resilient, which was founded in 1995, works to address health disparities among LGBTQ people in Wisconsin, both through advocacy and direct-service work. The organization serves about 2,000 people annually and has 11 employees.

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, which was founded in 1998, provides various programs and services to the LGBTQ community, including support groups, trainings, a library, youth programs and HIV prevention and testing. The most recent publicly available tax filing from the organization shows that as of 2016, it had 17 employees.

Having collaborated over the years, the organizations first considered co-locating in a shared space two years ago, when each was facing expiring leases in its current space. The community center is located at 1110 N. Market St., near the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus. Diverse & Resilient is located at 2439 N. Holton St., near Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

While they ultimately didn’t co-locate, conversations about a possible merger ramped up in January, following the departure of former community center executive director Karen Gotzler.

“We work closely together now as it is and, in looking at the funding landscape, we felt it was an opportunity and wise thing to look at whether this made sense to merge the organizations,” said Gerald Coon, president and chief executive officer of Diverse & Resilient.

Both organizations rely on government grants to fund their work. Government sources make up about 80 percent of Diverse & Resilient’s revenue, Coon said. He estimated that number is closer to 60 percent for the LGBT Community Center. Representatives from the community center couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

In 2016 tax filings, Diverse & Resilient reported revenues of $1.4 million. That year, the LGBT Community Center reported $770,000 in revenue.

Coon said there would be a change in name and branding if the organizations ultimately decide to merge, but specific changes aren’t being discussed at this point.

The community center’s board of directors held a listening session for members this week to gather feedback on the possible merger. Coon, who attended as a member, said those who attended seemed receptive to the idea.

The boards plan to vote on the possible merger in late July.

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LGBT Center seeks New Yorkers’ remembrances of the Stonewall Riots

LGBT Center seeks New Yorkers’ remembrances of the Stonewall Riots | LGBT Community Centers |
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has launched a new project—Stonewall Forever—to uncover the numerous untold stories of people who lived through the Stonewall Riots, in 1969.

The center is calling on people to submit a host of materials—unpublished writings like letters and diaries, films, photographs, personal effects, Pride memorabilia, oral histories, and protest materials—all in the hopes of illuminating the chaotic period surrounding the riots in 1969, and the subsequent years of LGBTQ rights activism.

Those who lived through that period or might know someone who did have been encouraged to contact The Center through a form on their website. Starting next year, this project will live in the form of an exhibit at The Center, and as a continually expanding archive online at Google Arts & Culture.

Following the designation of the Stonewall Inn as a national monument in 2016, Google decided to contribute $1 million to The Center, which has now helped create Stonewall Forever. This year Google gave another $500,000 towards the project, according to the New York Times, which first reported on Stonewall Forever’s unveiling.

“This work is never done,” the Center’s executive director, Glennda Testone, told the Times. “We are still fighting for our rights and fighting for our community. And so remembering what we’ve done in the past, how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go is critically important right now.”
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Grand Rapids Pride Center Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Pride Festival

Grand Rapids Pride Center Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Pride Festival | LGBT Community Centers |

Rob Sparks attended his first Pride Festival in 2016 in Grand Rapids, shortly after relocating to the city for a job with MIX 95.7.

“It was crazy. It was a very cool experience,” he said. “I think that year there were 8,000 to 10,000 people there.”

He said the experience made a big impact.


Sparks said his move to Grand Rapids allowed him to be out in a way that he’d never been able to be previously.

“This was the first job I had where they allowed me to be out and proud,” he said. “I was able to be my true self.”

He also said the community was more accepting than other places he’d lived. “This community was more embracing and more accepting.”

Bonnie McKee performs at Grand Rapids Pride Festival 2017
That freedom allowed Sparks to get involved with the Grand Rapids Pride Center. He became a co-chair for the 29th Grand Rapids Pride Festival and this year he joined the Grand Rapids Pride Center board and became the Pride Festival chair.

Over its 30 years, the Grand Rapids Pride Center and the Pride Festival have offered a refuge to countless members of the LGBTQ community. As LGBTQ visibility and acceptance grew across the country, moving from a call for tolerance to a call for acceptance, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival has continually reflected that change.

The festival has moved from the fringes of Grand Rapids (previously being held at John Ball Park and then Riverside Park) to the center of downtown at the Calder Plaza. It has also grown to include international entertainment. This year the festival brings David Hernandez, Betty Who and En Vogue to the stage along with an array of local talent. And, the festival continues to grow in size.


Grand Rapids has come a long way.

The Pride Center’s anniversary has prompted reflection from the organization’s current leaders, including looking back to the beginning.

“One of the things with getting ready to the 30th festival was looking at the history, starting in 1988,” Sparks said, noting a newspaper headline from the opening of the Pride Center: “Homosexuals Open a Community Center.”

Today, the Pride Center offers nine support groups and a network of resources, it’s involved in a number of initiatives with partner organizations including current projects like Safe and Supported, a project to help prevent LGBTQ youth homelessness, and Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free immigration legal services to LGBTQ individuals, and it provides resources for local businesses including diversity training.

The Pride Center also no longer stands alone as a beacon of support. Thanks to its efforts, several corridors of Grand Rapids are lined with Pride and Trans visibility flags hung in shop windows in a show of support and as a sign of being welcome to the LGBTQ community. There are also additional nonprofits, including HQ, dedicated to helping at-risk members of the LGBTQ community.

Sparks said these changes have grown both organically and as part of the Pride Center’s strategic initiatives to grow support across the community.

He noted one of the most unique things about Grand Rapids Pride Festival is that it serves as a fundraiser for the Pride Center. The festival’s $8 entry fee, along with sponsorship dollars and money raised from beer and food sales help support the Pride Center throughout the year.


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LGBT Resource Center hires assistant director, program coordinator

LGBT Resource Center hires assistant director, program coordinator | LGBT Community Centers |
Syracuse University’s LGBT Resource Center has hired Jorge Castillo as assistant director and Jo Wang as program coordinator, it announced Tuesday. They begin their positions in July.

This decision comes a month after assistant director candidates presented their plans for the center at the SU campus. Castillo, Carl Kalmick and Kaelae Shaner were the three final assistant director candidates.

A committee made up of two graduate students, two undergraduate students and three staff members evaluated potential candidates, khristian kemp-delisser told The Daily Orange in May. kemp-delisser is the center’s director.

As assistant director, Castillo will implement internal and external programs and trainings, collaborate with other groups on campus to promote inclusivity and support students with marginalized identities, according to an email sent by the LGBT Resource Center on Tuesday.

Castillo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut who focuses on queer sexualities and globalization in Caribbean literature and film, per the email. He was previously the assistant director for West Virginia University’s LGBTQ+ Center and oversaw the school’s LGBTQ studies minor. He has also taught, researched and mentored within LGBTQ studies and Latin American studies programs at UConn and St. Lawrence University.

When he spoke on campus in May, Castillo outlined plans to reinforce SU’s academic networks, foster LGBT mentorship and create career advancement opportunities in the community.

Jo Wang previously served as the center’s graduate assistant while they were a master’s student in the School of Education’s higher education program. They studied interdisciplinary studies, diversity education, business and Asian American studies at Cornell University before earning their master’s at SU, per the email.

As program coordinator, Wang will advise student organizations and discussion groups, facilitate trainings and workshops and plan events like Trans Day of Liberation and the HoliGay party.
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First Person: Strengthening North County's Gay Community | KPBS

First Person: Strengthening North County's Gay Community | KPBS | LGBT Community Centers |
Max Disposti remembers speaking with North County politicians and school board members a decade ago, hoping to get support for initiatives to increase the gay community’s visibility in the area. Instead he heard things like, there aren’t any LGBT students in the district.

Those responses, and what felt like social pressure to effectively go back in the closet, inspired Disposti and others to form the North County LGBT Coalition in 2008. The group thrived eventually created a physical location, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, to serve as an anchor for the region’s gay community. The center celebrated the 10th anniversary of the coalition this month.

Disposti said he sometimes speaks with those same elected officials from a decade ago, asking if they remember denying there was a significant LGBT population in North County. Those were other times, they say now, according to Disposti.

“I say, it was just 10 years ago,” Disposti said.

As part of our First person series, Disposti shares his struggle to build support for the Resource Center.
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Google pledges funds to NYC LGBT Center for Stonewall commemoration

Google pledges funds to NYC LGBT Center for Stonewall commemoration | LGBT Community Centers |
Google has committed a million dollars to help commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion, according to Gay City News NYC.

The tech corporation announced the donation on June 18th, right at the start of Manhattan’s Pride Week.

The money will go to the LGBT Community Center, sources say. The Center plans to “develop oral histories and other narratives related to the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 that can be preserved and disseminated in digital formats.”

The gift of Google’s boodle gives the Center the chance to work with the National Park Foundation. The goal is to make the Stonewall Monument tourist-accessible and generally relateable.

President Obama designated the Christopher Park area a national monument in an executive proclamation.

The Google donation takes the form of a two-year grant. According to a press release from the business’ charitable side, the money will give the recipients aid to “to seek out and document robust, diverse narratives of the Stonewall Uprising and transform the reach of the national park beyond a physical place. The result will be a digital experience that broadly shares the story of LGBTQ civil rights, firmly establishing LGBTQ history in the fabric of American history.”

NPF-related fundraising is projected to be completed in June of 2019, half a century after Stonewall. World Pride plans to commemorate the occasion in New York City.
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Chef Susan Feniger Takes Pride in the LA LGBT Center

Chef Susan Feniger Takes Pride in the LA LGBT Center | LGBT Community Centers |

Next spring the Los Angeles LGBT Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus and a multimillion-dollar major expansion, and nobody could be giddier about it than chef and board member Susan Feniger. 

The center, which has seven facilities across West Hollywood, has provided LGBT individuals and their families with health and social services, housing, and cultural and educational programs since 1969. The new campus will be across the street from the Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood.

Feniger tells L.A. Weekly she was introduced to the center when the brother of Liz Lachman, her partner and now wife, was battling AIDS. “The center was very helpful at the time with information, giving us direction and input on how he could get housing and areas of support. That was about 18 years ago."

Feniger was invited to take a tour of the facilities and was overwhelmed at the work that was being done to help the LGBT community. When she was asked to join the board, she jumped at the chance.  

“I’ve always been drawn to helping youth and seniors. Even when I was in high school, I tutored underprivileged kids and became a mentor,” says the co-owner of the Border Grill empire. “So I felt this was very close to my heart and it’s where I wanted to put my energy."

Many of the kids who come into the center are off the streets. According to Feniger, on any given night in L.A. there are about 6,000 young people on the street and 40 percent of them are LGBT. Within three days they’re tricking for food or drugs to survive. And there are very few beds for any young people in the city, she says.

The new intergenerational campus on Santa Monica Boulevard and McCadden Place will include 99 units of affordable housing for seniors, 100 beds for homeless youth, new senior and youth centers, 25 units of supportive housing for young people, a commercial kitchen to feed and train homeless youth and seniors, and ground-floor retail space, including a cafe, with plenty of parking.

The center currently serves about 80,000 meals a year and welcomes more than 42,000 visitors a month. The existing McDonald Wright Building on Schrader Avenue will be converted into a medical facility.

“We’re spoiled being in L.A.,” Feniger says, referring to the general acceptance of homosexuality. “Many people come here thinking there will be hope here. There are heartbreaking stories of 13-year-olds coming out to their parents in other parts of the country and being kicked out the front door with suitcase in hand and told never to come back. It still happens. With no tools of how to live in the world.”

The Highland Youth Center provides classes for kids on how to get their GED, and counseling for those who want to go on to college. It has a job placement program for kids and older people. There are 11 full-time physicians, therapists and a pharmacy.

With more than 600 employees, the center in Los Angeles is the largest LGBT center in the world. 

“We just opened a trans program and clinic,” Feniger says. “There is great work being done to help. If you’re a young LGBT and your family isn’t accepting, we help you find friends and support.”

Feniger says her own coming out was easier.

“Many people in my age group grew up thinking they were the only ones. I grew up Jewish in Toledo, Ohio. I grew up straight, I had no idea,” she remembers. “I was a tomboy, never thought about it. I had boyfriends. I never really was aware of anything, whereas my wife knew from the time she was 5 years old.

"Liz grew up in Detroit. She told her mom when she was 12 and her mom told her she’d grow out of it. She even tried to have a boyfriend to see if something would shift for her. I didn’t have that struggle, because it wasn’t until after I dropped out of college and was living with my high school boyfriend Josh Schweitzer that it hit me. We got married as a Father’s Day present for my dad. I couldn’t think of anything else to give him."

They were married by a justice of the peace during a break at work. After they divorced, Feniger introduced him to her new friend and business partner, Mary Sue Milliken. They’ve been married ever since and have two sons. It was the beginning of two long-lasting unions, as Milliken and Feniger continue to build out the Border Grill brand.

Feniger’s second wedding ceremony was a bit of a repeat performance. Lachman’s 95-year-old grandmother would call them on a regular basis asking when there would be a wedding. So they got married for her, Feniger says. 

“Two years ago — we’ve been together for 23 — we went with her to the children’s courthouse in East L.A. and got married on the judge’s lunch break. There were stuffed animals all around and I was dressed in my chef’s clothes. We had lunch at a local diner and I went back to work. The owner sent us out two Champagnes in jelly jars."

Her own family was less accepting and didn’t speak to her or invite her and Lachman for holiday celebrations for years.

But Feniger’s community and its support give her an enormous amount of strength, and she says she's proud to give back.

It was the center’s CEO, Lorri Jean, who recommended  the lesbian chef for the board position over a decade ago.

“Susan has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for our work by helping to produce Simply DiVine, and she gives generously from her own pockets,” Jean says. “She is incredibly passionate about the center's work and is helping us to develop a new program that will provide careers for LGBT youth experiencing homelessness and possibly part-time jobs for low-income seniors. She’s been a part of our international leadership development program, traveling with us to China to help strengthen the movement there.

"Best of all, Susan is one of the nicest, kindest people on the planet."

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Receives $500k from Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Fund to Accelerate Economic Opportunity

Receives $500k from Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Fund to Accelerate Economic Opportunity | LGBT Community Centers |
The Los Angeles LGBT Center has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Citi Foundation as part of the 2018 Community Progress Makers Fund. The Fund is a $20 million, two-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to support high-impact community organizations that are driving economic opportunities in our communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, businesses, and municipal agencies. The Center joins a group of 40 change agents who are playing a key role in coordinating the efforts of multiple partners toward common goals and working in new ways to address urban challenges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.

This is the second consecutive time in which the Center has been recognized as a Community Progress Maker, bringing Citi Foundation’s total investment to $1 million.

Through the generous fund, the Center can provide core support programs and services to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and low-income seniors seeking to attain financial stability. The fund will also enable the Center to develop intergenerational programming for the two vulnerable populations receiving services at the Center’s new Anita May Rosenstein Campus, which is scheduled to open in early 2019.

“LGBT people continue to face threats to their long-term health, economic stability, and well-being. A staggering 40% of youth surviving on the streets of Hollywood identify as LGBTQ, and nearly a quarter of the LGBT seniors in Los Angeles live on less than $1,000 a month,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “With help from the Community Progress Makers Fund, we will continue to address barriers to affordable housing and steady employment as we work to build a world where every member of the LGBT community can thrive.”

In 2016-2017, the inaugural cohort of Community Progress Makers helped more than 14,700 low-income people secure financial assets; build over 10,500 affordable housing units; strengthened more than 1,100 small businesses; and connected 1,800 young people to jobs in their communities.

“We launched this program in 2015 as our version of ‘venture philanthropy’—a chance to invest in the vision and mission of these organizations who are helping positively transform their communities,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We’re pleased with the results from our inaugural Community Progress Makers and are looking forward to implementing the lessons we’ve learned with this next, impressive group of community leaders as they scale, innovate and drive impact.”
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Nicole Brownstein resigns as President of the Pride Center of New Jersey

Nicole Brownstein resigns as President of the Pride Center of New Jersey | LGBT Community Centers |
Vic Schimmenti elected as new President

The Pride Center of New Jersey announced the election of Vic Schimmenti to the office of President on May 8, 2018. Schimmenti has been a member of The LGBT Center since 2010. He joined the Board of Trustees in 2014 as the Treasurer. He has made significant contributions while on the Board and while a member of PCNJ for many years.

Board members said he demonstrated a passion and commitment to the Pride Center in Highland Park, NJ.  Vic Schimmenti  said he will work for greater success in serving the LGBT community in the Central New Jersey area. Schimmenti will continue to co-lead the Men’s Coming Out Support Group helping newcomers find comfort, allies and support in their coming out journey.

The election of Schimmenti immediately followed the voluntary resignation of the previous President, Nicole Brownstein. She served as the PCNJ President since January, 2017.

Brownstein was instrumental in establishing and developing the Transgender Support groups at PCNJ and established a working relationship and co-sponsoring role with Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Health for a Transgender Family Support Group.  The PCNJ Board thanked Brownstein for her leadership and dedication during her shortened term.

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Sacramento LGBT Center to Provide Transitional Housing

Sacramento LGBT Center to Provide Transitional Housing | LGBT Community Centers |

The Sacramento LGBT Community Center provides a number of services and, for the first time, a transitional housing program for homeless youth. Their housing program is currently waitlisted but the center does have drop-in hours every day from noon to 6 p.m.  (Video story - click for full story)

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UW-Madison renames ‘LGBT Center’ to avoid ‘binaries’

UW-Madison renames ‘LGBT Center’ to avoid ‘binaries’ | LGBT Community Centers |

he University of Madison-Wisconsin is changing the name of its LGBT Center amid concerns that the former name reinforces “binaries” and “labels.” 

Starting in the fall, the school’s LGBT Center will become the “Gender and Sexuality Campus Center” after careful consideration and input from the student body over the past year, according to a recent press release. 

"Changing the name to Gender & Sexuality Campus Center tells students across all identities they can be heard. There is a space here that doesn’t require labels or binaries."    Tweet This

“The purpose of the name change is to better align with the center’s mission,” the press release says, adding that the new name will better serve students who don’t necessarily identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. 

Students “use an array of other language for their own identities and experiences,” the press release explains, adding that the name change was made after dozens of students weighed in. 

Simone Williams—a student staffer who uses they/them pronouns—praised the name change in a statement to the school. 

“Changing the name to Gender & Sexuality Campus Center tells students across all identities they can be heard,” Williams asserted. “There is a space here that doesn’t require labels or binaries. As culture shifts we must shift, I’m glad the staff in the Center know that.”

The name change reflects UW-Madison’s responsibility “to uplift and support the voices of the students on its campus [who are] often silenced, in the most inclusive and effective way possible,” Williams added.

UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith Mcglone told Campus Reform that the name change is also in keeping with trends at other schools across the United States, such as Duke University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The name change will not impact the programming the center offers, Mcglone added. 

According to its website, the center facilitates trainings for students on issues such as “Beyond The Binary: Gender 101,” "LGBTQ-affirming healthcare," and “Life at the Intersections.” It also hosts various events and community meetings for students throughout the year. 

“The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center provides education, outreach, advocacy, and resources for UW-Madison student communities and their allies to improve campus climate and their daily experiences,” Mcglone told Campus Reform. 

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Rainbow Center Hires First African-American ED

Rainbow Center Hires First African-American ED | LGBT Community Centers |
When Kevin McAllister was growing up in Concord as a young gay man, he didn't have a place to go for support and felt very alone. Now 36, McAllister will be the new executive director of the Rainbow Community Center in Concord and make sure youth like him know there is a place they can go for help.

"I didn't have a place like the Rainbow center when I was coming out," McAllister, who will be the center's first African-American executive director, said. "I want to make sure young people don't experience being alone when they come out and are connected to a center like Rainbow that's affirming, open, caring, and wonderful."

McAllister's first day on the job will be June 11. He will replace Philip Arca, the current interim executive director who took over when longtime executive director Ben-David Barr, Ph.D., retired last December after 15 years due to health reasons.

The first order of business for McAllister will be understanding the community and its needs. RCC has served the LGBT community of all ages in Contra Costa County since 1996. It offers counseling services, HIV testing and PrEP, mental health services, addiction recovery, and has a food pantry. Last summer RCC opened a thrift store in El Cerrito, its first presence in the western portion of the county.

McAllister hopes to deepen RCC's services and expand them to the West County by increasing awareness, diversifying funding, and building partnerships. His salary at RCC will be $93,000, and the center has an annual budget of $1.2 million.

"I want to make sure folks across the county have access to the wonderful services at the Rainbow center," he said. "I'm really looking forward to increasing the visibility of RCC and making connections with individuals, city and local officials, and community partners."

For the past 20 years, McAllister has worked with youth and families, advocating and providing services to victims of sexual assault, elder and child abuse, and domestic abuse. He's finishing up his job as executive director of the California Coalition for Youth, which he's been with for about a year and a half. At the statewide coalition that provides critical support to California's homeless youth, McAllister made great strides, particularly in fundraising.

Under McAllister's leadership, the coalition secured $10 million to support housing and shelter services, access to food, counseling, and numerous other outreach services in counties with the highest number of youth experiencing homelessness in the state, according to a news release from RCC.

As LGBT youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness, something McAllister highlighted, he will focus on expanding youth services at RCC.

"I am coming in with that knowledge and that approach and I will look at what the needs are and how the center can provide additional services not only to young LGBT, but to all LGBT," he said.

McAllister was also the director of operations at Beyond Emancipation, helping youth in the foster care system achieve success in housing, education, and employment.

His motivation to hit the ground running is something Ken Carlson, president of the board of directors at RCC and a Pleasant Hill City Councilman, is excited about. Carlson said with Barr's retirement comes an opportunity for change and that McAllister's roots in Concord, ability to connect with people, and fundraising skills will be an asset to RCC.

"I can't put into words how excited I am to have him," Carlson said. "He's very active with stakeholders, funding, and exposure. With his energy and enthusiasm, he's going to go at it, and we are excited to bring that with us."

Arca, a straight ally, also commented about McAllister joining the team.

"He shares our passion for honoring all of our unique identities and preferences, while concurrently supporting our most vulnerable community members and strengthening our networks with allies," Arca wrote in an email to the B.A.R. "He will bring a unique combination of high level thinking, on the ground implementation skills, and a sincere, empathetic, passionate energy to our team and work."

Carlson announced McAllister's new role at Concord's Pride celebration June 2. The rainbow flag was raised in front of City Hall at Civic Center Plaza, where it will remain all month, a first for Concord.

As for McAllister, he said he is stepping into his dream job and can't wait to get started.
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Fashion Designers, Companies Support The Center –

Fashion Designers, Companies Support The Center – | LGBT Community Centers |

Since 2013, the Fashion Centered dinner has brought leaders in the fashion and creative industries together inside The Center, New York’s West Village-based LGBT community center. Championing the event, which is invite-only, is a group of cochairs including Mark Lee, Dorothy Berwin, Marigay McKee, Siddhartha Shukla, Peter Speliopoulos and Kering’s Laurent Claquin. This year’s dinner took place on Sunday.

“We all got together and really wanted to do something to connect the fashion community to the LGBT community. Cochairs like Laurent felt strongly that we needed to bring people into The Center, literally, and really help them understand what we did to serve the community,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of The Center.

The Center’s programs include providing resources and support for young LGBT people, immigrants and their families, as well as career services, arts programming and health resources. Claquin became involved with The Center when he arrived in New York six years ago, driven by a desire to pay it forward.

“The situation is still critical, unfortunately. When we live in big cities it looks like the LGBT community is very well accepted — it’s actually not the case,” said Claquin. “The Center is welcoming 6,000 people every week, because a lot of them are getting kicked out of their house. Unfortunately, the fight against homophobia is still really relevant today.”

He points to the fashion industry’s LGBT inclusiveness as an opportunity for brands to be agents for change. “Because people look up to us — it’s a very influential industry — we have to drive the conversation and be pioneering, more than ever: the debate around gender equality, about gender fluidity and about sexuality,” he added. “We have a duty to support, but also to have an impact internally and externally.”

This year, fashion brands and companies on board for the dinner included Gucci, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, Tory Burch and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The Center recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, and one benefit of the Fashion Centered dinner is that it allows guests to actually see the facility’s space from the inside.

“What’s been really inspiring to see is not only how people come into the space and are really open to learning what the situation is like for the LGBT community today, but then these people and influencers and brands that are really iconic go back to their companies and think about, ‘OK, how can we do more to support our queer employees, how can we do more to support the LGBT community broadly?'” added Testone.

One such brand is L’Oréal. After attending a dinner, executive Xavier Vey went back and looked at what the company was doing inside the company to support its LGBT employees; the company now has an active internal group, and L’Oréal has also returned to The Center to host a panel for young people about what it’s like to work in the beauty industry. Other firms such as Alexander Wang, Coach, Milk Makeup and Barneys New York have also hosted panels and other initiatives; Barneys partnered with The Center in 2014 for its spring campaign, and Milk has cast promos for its special edition Pride products from The Center’s staff and clients.

“None of that would have happened without this dinner, without the conscious effort on the part of the hosts to really bring people into The Center who wouldn’t have otherwise stepped foot in the door or know what we do,” said Testone. “And once they do, they realize both the goodwill possibility of connecting, but also the business possibilities and the creative possibilities. The LGBT community has self-expression at its core, and I think that’s true of the fashion community as well…it is a pretty magical collaboration when we come together and work together to do beautiful things,” she continued. “I think people have really appreciated the partnership, and it’s really allowed some young people to dream, ‘Well, maybe I could do this someday, maybe I could be a designer, maybe I could work in fashion at Kering — or who knows.'”

In its six years, the dinner has raised $1.5 million for The Center; the team is working toward its goal of raising half a million dollars. “All kinds of support, big or small, everyone, every drop is important — every word, every conversation,” Claquin added.

Given the current political climate, Testone noted that The Center has a particular focus this year to support LGBT immigrants, connecting them to resources for housing, employment and legal representation, as well as providing social support. “A lot of LGBT people come to this country because they would face tremendous persecution or even death for being who they are in their home countries,” she said. “So they come here really needing to be able to make this work in America, and wanting to be who they truly are. And so we do everything we can to support them.”

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Delores Jacobs Bids Farewell To San Diego LGBT Community Center | KPBS

Delores Jacobs Bids Farewell To San Diego LGBT Community Center | KPBS | LGBT Community Centers |

As the San Diego City Council earlier this month proclaimed June 22, 2018 "Dr. Delores Jacobs Day," Councilwoman Georgette Gomez gave the longtime local LGBT activist a personal thank you.

"Dr. Delores Jacobs has been a great leader in the LGBTQ community, and I have the great pleasure to call her my mentor," Gomez said. "She inspired me and encouraged my community involvement. And I can actually honestly say this, that I wouldn't be here as a council member without her support and her encouragement. So thank you."

Jacobs, who has served as the CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center since 2001, will be formally stepping down from her position at the end of this month. In her 17-year tenure, Jacobs founded a youth leadership academy, expanded transgender-focused counseling and support groups and started programming at a North Park affordable housing project for LGBT seniors.

While Jacobs had a hand in all those things, she declines to take all the credit.

"The idea that any one person runs any organization is a little misleading," Jacobs said in an interview. "Without the talent, the creativity and commitment of this staff, and the board and the volunteers, The Center wouldn't move forward. And we're lucky enough to have all three."

Her time at The Center was not without challenges and setbacks: In 2008 Jacobs led an aggressive but unsuccessful campaign against Proposition 8, which revoked the right of same-sex couples to get married. Shortly thereafter came the Great Recession.

"It was a double whammy," Jacobs recalled. "We lost an election one day, and the next day learned the economy was bottoming out."

The economic downturn translated to declining revenues for The Center. Between 2008 and 2011, The Center's budget shrunk by a quarter, forcing staff layoffs.

But the budget and staffing have more than recovered — The Center successfully completed a $2 million fundraising campaign late last year, and this spring it paid off the mortgage on its main building in Hillcrest.

Delores Jacobs poses with staff and volunteers for the LGBT Community Center at a San Diego Pride parade.

The political setbacks did not last either: Proposition 8 was ultimately overturned by the courts, and in 2015 the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Jacobs attributes those victories to more LGBT people becoming politically active.

"Took a while to get organized and change more minds and hearts, and change the courts' minds about basic fairness and basic freedoms, but we did," Jacobs said.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Jacobs said many in the LGBT community have not seen the same level of progress. She said The Center is seeing an increase in the demand for its services: Last year it served more than 25,000 people through more than 73,000 services visits.

"There are challenges for the trans community, who continues to be oppressed, there are challenges for people of color who are also LGBT, there are challenges in the prison system, there are challenges in health care with disparities that continue," she said. "So the fight's not over."

Last March The Center's board announced it had selected Jacobs' replacement: Cara Dessert, the current chief development and community engagement officer. Dessert started as a community organizer at The Center in 2007 before going to law school and later working in the office of then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

"My heart was always calling me back home to The Center," Dessert said.

Dessert will be The Center's first Latina CEO, and said she would continue The Center's focus on social justice issues that intersect with LGBT rights.

"We're on the border, and so that means that when we talk about our LGBT community, that community includes immigrants and refugees, and it includes LGBT people in mixed-status families," Dessert said. "And so as we advocate for all of our families, that means advocating for our immigrant community as well."

Asked about her fondest memories of The Center, Jacobs recalled the 2006 opening of the Sunburst Youth Housing Project, which houses formerly homeless LGBT and HIV-positive youth.

"The first time we gave a key to a youth, he couldn't stop crying," Jacobs said. "And when he finally stopped sobbing, he was talking about never having had a space where he was safe. A space where he didn't have to worry who was going to beat him, or who was going to yell 'faggot' at him, or who was going to steal his stuff. Those moments are everything."

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The Center Celebrates Pride Week With Garden Party At Hudson River Park's Pier 84 | Out And About | Within The City

The Center Celebrates Pride Week With Garden Party At Hudson River Park's Pier 84 | Out And About | Within The City | LGBT Community Centers |

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, commonly called The Center, celebrated Pride 2018 with a Garden Party at Hudson River Park's Pier 84. An astounding collection of restaurant partners and chefs came together to provide guests delicious bites all evening. Proceeds from the Garden Party supports The Center's life-changing and life-saving programs and services - with donations from the evening helping to keep the doors open 365 days a year.

"For 35 years, Garden Party has been The Center's vibrant kick-off to Pride week, honoring our amazing Center volunteers and supporters," remarked Executive Director Glennda Testone. "We are a community that has long stood together to protect the freedom to be who we are, to love one another and to celebrate that love—and our lives—proudly."

Vendors for the evening included North Square Restaurant, Underwest Donuts, Boqueria, The Standard Grill, Rice & Gold, Quality Eats, Ample Hills Creamery, Ice & Vice, Javelina TexMex, Dinosaur BBQ, Sweet Chili, Café Patoro, Eataly, Breads Bakery, Enlightened Ice Cream, The Wayfarer, Island Oyster, and Hill Country Barbecue Market.

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Photo of the Day: Beijing LGBT Center

Photo of the Day: Beijing LGBT Center | LGBT Community Centers |
Founded in 2008, Beijing LGBT Center is “the only LGBT organization in China with professional counselor team and services in individual consulting, group consulting, peer support, and workshops and activities on psychology”. They began providing psychological health services in 2010 and two years later embarked upon a project to build a nationwide LGBT-friendly counselor network. They continue to promote their services across the country.

The picture above comes from an LGBT awareness event held on Qixi, often referred to as “Chinese Valentine’s Day”.

The Center’s website hasn’t been updated in a little while, but you can find regular information from them via their WeChat account (bjlgbtcenter).
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Dr. Delores Jacobs Day proclaimed June 22, just before her retirement from The Center

Dr. Delores Jacobs Day proclaimed June 22, just before her retirement from The Center | LGBT Community Centers |
Today, the San Diego City Council issued a proclamation declaring Friday, June 22, 2018, to be Dr. Delores Jacobs Day in the City of San Diego. Jacobs, who has been at the helm of The San Diego LGBT Community Center as its Chief Executive Officer for the past 17 years, will end her service to The Center on June 30.

While receiving the proclamation, which was presented by Councilmembers Chris Ward and Georgette Gomez, Jacobs was surrounded by her wife Dr. Heather Berberet, several board members and staff of The Center, and other community supporters. During their remarks, both Ward and Gomez praised Jacobs’ for her visionary leadership, mentorship, and growth of The Center throughout her tenure.

Jacobs, a psychologist by trade, first came to The Center in 1998 to serve as the director of the organization’s Behavioral Health Services program. She was selected as CEO in 2001. The Center has grown from an organization with a $2-million annual budget to over $6-million under the leadership of Jacobs, along with the addition of numerous programs to support youth, seniors, those with living with HIV, and the trans community.

A free community celebration to honor Jacobs will be held on Friday, June 22 from 6-9 pm at The Center. Everyone is welcome to attend. More details are HERE.

The full text of the city council proclamation is below:

"WHEREAS, Dr. Delores A. Jacobs is the longest-serving chief executive officer of The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center. She first joined The Center in 1998, and served as the director of The Center’s Behavioral Health Services before being selected as its chief executive officer in 2001; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs is a nationally-recognized skilled and powerful leader, responsible for managing one of the oldest, largest and most dynamic LGBT community centers in the country; and

WHEREAS, under Dr. Jacobs’ direction, The Center has grown from a $2 million-dollar budget into a $6 million-dollar organization with 50 staff members and more than 1,000 volunteers, making it possible for The Center to serve over 25,000 people through 60,000 service visits last year; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs’ exemplary vision, leadership, and commitment has increased and enhanced The Center’s scope of services, its community collaborations and its influence within the greater San Diego community. The Center has expanded its programming to include: the Hillcrest Youth Center and the development of the 23-unit Sunburst Youth Housing program for formerly homeless LGBT youth; establishing the nation’s first Latin@ Services Department at an LGBT community center; re-assuming the management of AIDS Walk San Diego; launching The Center’s Project TRANS, designed to serve transgender community members and their families, and welcoming the civic engagement project, Engage San Diego, to the Center’s programs; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs led the organization through the renovation of The Center’s main building and a name change from the Gay and Lesbian Center to The San Diego LGBT Community Center; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs launched The Center’s non-partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and education campaign, “Equality Voters.” establishing a leading role in the fight for marriage equality at the local and state levels, including efforts to defeat California’s discriminatory Proposition 8; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs led The Center and the local community through the devastating loss of Prop 8 to eventually celebrate the return of marriage equality in the state, while during that same time, the nation faced a disastrous economic crisis, where Dr. Jacobs provided critical stability for The Center, delivering calm, thoughtful, strategic and transparent leadership that allowed the organization to weather that crisis and come out of it even stronger; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobs is best known and respected for her commitment to creating innovative collaborations between a variety of sectors, including health care, private, public, corporate and nonprofit. She is looked to as a strong advocate and committed partner for issues that intersect with HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality, including health care, safe schools, immigration reform, access to reproductive health care and more; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT PROCLAIMED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO, that this Council,  for and on behalf of the people of San Diego, does hereby declare June 22, 2018 to be “Dr. Delores Jacobs Day” in the City of San Diego."
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County Pride Center Receives $200K

County Pride Center Receives $200K | LGBT Community Centers |

Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) presented the Rockland County Pride Center with a check for $200,000 in state funding on Friday.

“What better way to kick off Pride Weekend and celebrate the LGBTQ community then with presenting the Pride Center with this critical funding. We have come a long way, but statistics continue to show LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to encounter bullying, harassment and assault. This is why it is important to fight discrimination wherever it exists and support the Rockland County Pride Center’s work,” said Senator David Carlucci.

The Rockland County Pride Center in Nyack is currently under construction, and the organization’s Executive Director said the capital would go a long way.

“I want to thank Sen. Carlucci for this funding. We could not be more thrilled, and we really appreciate it. The support of our elected officials is important when we are working to change the culture of Rockland County, and all the places we live, said Rockland County Pride Center, Executive Director, Brooke Malloy. This money is going to allow us to continue the incredible construction we already started, with the new roof and new windows. This will also enable us to get our storefront and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system installed.”

“This is an amazing day in our community. This grant will allow the Pride Center here in Nyack to show they are Rockland’s home for equality and justice for all with no exceptions. We really want to thank Sen. Carlucci for this grant that will really help continue the construction on the building and make us even more proud of what we stand for here in Nyack,” said Nyack Mayor Don Hammond.

The Rockland County Pride Center’s continued mission is to support and celebrate the LGBTQ community and challenge stereotypes and practices that adversely impact Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people.

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Terry DeCarlo Resigns From The LGBT+ Center Orlando - Local News - Pulse Shooting

Terry DeCarlo Resigns From The LGBT+ Center Orlando - Local News - Pulse Shooting | LGBT Community Centers |
Terry DeCarlo has resigned from the LGBT+ Center Orlando. The Center was a hub for the community in the aftermath of the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and more than 50 injured.

DeCarlo was the executive director of the center until last year when he stepped aside to become the communications director.

“We’ve done amazing things, from completely overhauling the building to give the community a whole new home here in Orlando, to leading the community through one of their darkest times in American history,” said DeCarlo.

DeCarlo said the Center became a hub beyond Orlando’s LGBTQ community after the June 2016 shooting, and he’s proud of what the Center has accomplished.

“It’s just taken its toll. So it was time to move on for health reasons, for relationship reasons, just to get our lives back on track.”

The Center will open a second location in Kissimmee this summer.
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LGBT Resource center offers replacement “Safe Space” stickers following recent unauthorized removals –

LGBT Resource center offers replacement “Safe Space” stickers following recent unauthorized removals – | LGBT Community Centers |

Designated “Safe Spaces” on campus exist for students and faculty as locations of understanding and acceptance. However, the LGBT Resource Center has recently received notice of Safe Space stickers around campus being removed or torn, and this reportedly isn’t the first time such incidents have occurred.

LGBT Resource Center Director Kaitlin Legg defines a Safe Space as a location or person who welcomes individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities. She believes that aggression toward Safe Spaces simply stems from misunderstanding.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about Safe Space,” Legg said. “What it really means is that everyone is welcome to share their opinions and to respect each other and that people won’t be turned away or discriminated against because of their identity.”

According to Legg, those who display Safe Space stickers wish to identify themselves as a resource to students and faculty. Many academic departments have had their staff undergo training so that they can become aware of strategies for promoting acceptance at UNF.

Safe Spaces on campus are able to receive replacement stickers from the LGBT Resource Center if theirs have been removed or destroyed.

“If a student, faculty or staff member sees that their sticker was torn down, missing, or they just want another one, they can either send us an email or just stop by to grab one,” Legg affirmed. “For people who want a sticker but never had one before, they just have to go through safe space training.”

More information regarding Safe Space training can be found on the LGBT Resource Center website. Legg says there will be many opportunities for training during the upcoming fall semester. Faculty and staff can participate during the summer.

The LGBT Resource Center is located in room 1111 of the Student Union East Building. They can be reached by phone at (904) 620-4720 or by email at

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Utah Pride Center opens new facility in Salt Lake City

Utah Pride Center opens new facility in Salt Lake City | LGBT Community Centers |
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - A new facility in Salt Lake City is now the much anticipated home of the Utah Pride Center. 

Located at 1380 S. Main, the new facility will be the place the LGBTQ community can finally call their own. A place the Utah Pride Center says they can now grow their programs and facilitate the growing LGBTQ community with meeting spaces and areas for groups to gather. 

The Utah Pride Center offers mental health services and support groups for both youth and adults and helps to educate and bring awareness to others about succeeding within the community, regardless of sexual orientation. 

“Utah Pride unites, empowers and celebrates Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnerships, services and events which advance our collective health, wellness and success.” said in a statement on their website. 

The opening of the center comes just a few days before Pride Week is celebrated in Utah. 

As described on the Utah Pride Center website, the Festival empowers the LGBTQ community of Salt Lake, as well as the state of Utah as a whole, to come together, celebrate and educate. The Festival is now attended by more than 35,000 people and continues to grow each year.

The Festival activities include marches & rallies, interfaith services, a 5K charity run, and of course, the beloved Pride Parade.

A broad spectrum of people can be found at all these events, including members of the LGBTQ community, their family members and straight allies who wish to show their support.

For more information on the new center, Pride week and other LGBTQ activities and events, you can visit the Utah Pride Center's website. 
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Home at last | Dayton City Paper

Home at last | Dayton City Paper | LGBT Community Centers |

T he Greater Dayton Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center has thrived as a virtual center for over 40 years, promoting equality and LGBT enhancement programs through support groups, mailing lists, and local nonprofit organizations. Since January 2017, when the LGBT Center acquired its new 6,000 square foot brick-and-mortar space at 4 North Jefferson […]


Dayton LGBT Center now brick and mortar

Smile, you’re NOT on camera. The new LGBT Center helps ensure the privacy of members and visitors.

By Tammy Newsom

The Greater Dayton Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center has thrived as a virtual center for over 40 years, promoting equality and LGBT enhancement programs through support groups, mailing lists, and local nonprofit organizations. Since January 2017, when the LGBT Center acquired its new 6,000 square foot brick-and-mortar space at 4 North Jefferson Street in Dayton, it officially opened for use by the general public just as soon as the lease was signed.

Group members have voluntarily remodeled the entire space, having first taken out a whole wall, repainted rooms, and then replaced old broken-out windows. “It was a bit drafty when we opened (in January),” says four-year Dayton LGBT board President Randy Phillips. “But we’ve done all the work ourselves.”

With the new meeting house readily available, it wasn’t long before the LGBT Center was able to offer enrichments to its existing traditional programming, such as the quarterly dinners, and give its members a permanent home with a designated dining area and kitchen.  “A lot of our (LGBT) community can feel that camaraderie and share a meal and conversation,” says Phillips. As a result, many local groups from the general population have turned to the Greater Dayton LGBT Center for its contiguous support.

“People are drawn to us from as far south as West Chester, as far north as Sidney and as far west as Indianapolis and Richmond,” Phillips explains. “The LBGT Center is great to have as a safe space no matter what walk of life or religious background.” There are currently 80 or 90 outlets, including churches in the Dayton area that supply counselors listed in the annual resource guide for LGBT persons, published in June. “They rely on us to provide that information.”

Since the center has opened, weekly and monthly meetings have also been held simultaneously, such as the LGBT AA meeting, as well as the transgender support group. On Wednesdays the LGBT center’s book club meets, and there are free yoga classes on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Not only do the pre-existing services now have a full-time space, but the Dayton LGBT center has implemented a board room, a small conference room, and a game room complete with over 600 donated video games, as well as public computers available for research or developing resumes. The newest facet of this jewel is the new Leon Bay Memorial Library. The library, an homage to one of the founding members of the Dayton LGBT center and long-time employee of the Dayton Metro Library, opened in 2017. The library houses over 1000 books on LGBT subjects or written by LGBT authors like Armistead Maupin. More importantly, it serves as a resource on LGBT history, which is not taught in schools. “LGBT rights history was only taught at university programs, then as a part of women’s studies,” Phillips explains. “Now we want to be able to plan and educate the general population on the history of the LBGT people and the struggle we’ve had to get to where we’re at today.”

The LGBT Civil rights movement began arbitrarily at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Prior to that, many gay bars were often routinely raided and closed down. “Patrons were often dragged out of the bar and beaten,” Phillips says. “It was illegal to be gay at that time and many of the laws reflected that.” One night, patrons had decided they weren’t going to take anymore. On June 28, 1969 a riot, also known as the Stonewall uprising, broke out that night and lasted for three days.

Even today, with the 2013 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, battles for equality are still being waged. Employers may still terminate employees for marrying same-sex partners. And as another example, a gender marker on a birth certificate cannot be updated in the state of Ohio, one of the last three states refusing to alter birth certificates for gender reassignment. Social security and the Ohio BMV will allow this, which leaves a potential problem for employers’ identity verification.

Often the issue of implementing gender-neutral bathrooms in businesses and institutions surfaces for various reasons. “There are many people, including children or handicapped adults, male or female, that sometimes need assistance in the restroom,” says Phillips. “Where we can, we’d like to get more companies to build or designate restrooms as non-gender. This affords people the dignity they deserve.”

The Dayton LGBT Center offers gender neutral bathrooms in its facility, purposed for those both transitioned in gender and for handicapped access.

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The LGBT+ Center of Orlando is close to opening a second location in Kissimmee this August | News

The LGBT+ Center of Orlando is close to opening a second location in Kissimmee this August | News | LGBT Community Centers |

George Wallace is still trying to find the perfect spot for Kissimmee's first LGBTQ center.

The executive director of the LGBT+ Center of Orlando wants a place that's welcoming and friendly – where it's just as comfortable to use the computer lab as it is to get tested for HIV.

"I think that there's certainly a gap in resources in Kissimmee, and we're going to be able to bridge those gaps and provide services – from a cyber center to senior services to legal services and also mental health. This is an adventure for us," Wallace says. "We're really excited."

The Center, which opened 40 years ago, is tentatively scheduled to open the Kissimmee location at the end of August, though the organization is still about $3,000 short of their $75,000 fundraising goal, Wallace says. In April, the Center announced it had won a $26,148 matching grant from the Contigo Fund, an initiative of the Our Fund Foundation started in the aftermath of the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse.

About half of the 49 victims, who were mainly of Puerto Rican descent, called Osceola County home, says Marco Antonio Quiroga, program director of the Contigo Fund.

After the mass shooting, families and community members dealing with trauma had a hard time finding LGBTQ services in Spanish. In two years, the Contigo Fund has helped with the expansion of other LGBTQ groups around Central Florida, including the Zebra Coalition, Miracle of Love and QLatinx. The new Center in Kissimmee will have a special focus for the Latinx community.

"One of the things we emphasized in the proposal for the Center in Kissimmee is it has to be rooted in a cultural understanding of who it's serving," Quiroga says. "Kissimmee has an extraordinarily large Puerto Rican and immigrant population – it's an incredibly diverse community. Bilingual and culturally competent services are a necessity. They build an affirmative space where people can have an advocate in place that can kind of navigate them in whatever type of hardship they can be experiencing."

Last month, the Center was also awarded a $25,000 grant from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based global nonprofit. Wallace says part of the reason the Center decided to open a second location in Kissimmee was because of demand – sometimes as many as 30 percent of people coming to the Center in Orlando for free HIV and hepatitis C screenings are from Kissimmee. After Hurricane Maria, LGBTQ Puerto Ricans who evacuated to Central Florida also reached out to the Center for help with housing.

"We know there's definitely a need for service, because we see it," Wallace adds.

Although the Center is close to reaching its fundraising goal, Wallace says those funds are solely for opening the doors and staffing the Kissimmee location. The organization is trying to raise an additional $25,000 for unanticipated expenses, like repairs.

"I think people should know that even though we're close to reaching our goal, they can still donate," he says. For more information about donating to the opening of the new Center in Kissimmee, visit

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Crist Visits LGBTQ Center, ArtOut at Library –

Crist Visits LGBTQ Center, ArtOut at Library – | LGBT Community Centers |
The award-winning Gulfport Public Library’s LGBTQ Resource Center and 2018 ArtOut show was the focus for U.S. Representative Charlie Crist’s visit to the city on Monday, June 4.
“We invited him to come down for the LGBTQ flag raising” that was held on the evening of Thursday, May 31 to locally kick off June as national Gay Pride Month, but “he wasn’t available so he sent a representative,” said Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson. Then, “we invited him to visit on Monday so he could see the resource center and the art show.”

The resource center was recently recognized with the 2018 Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence from the American Library Association that honors it for an initiative that is “responsive to the needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,” according to the organization’s website.

“It’s like winning an Oscar for a library,” said Library Director David Mather in February when the award was announced.

Crist was instrumental in the library’s application for the annual award.

In a recommendation letter dated January 10, 2018, Crist wrote that the resource center “has a strong presence in Pinellas County, and is especially influential for our region’s LGBTQ youth. Its strong relationships with community partners allow Gulfport Public Library to provide a sense of awareness and advocacy for the Gulfport LGBTQ community.”

On Monday, Mather gave Crist a tour of the LGBTQ collection and art display, then he met with members of the community who support the resources, said Henderson.

“The center has quickly become a very strong and productive resource since its establishment in 2014,” said Daniel Hodge, resource center chairperson in the group’s winter 2018 newsletter.

For more information about the permanent resource center collection or the annual art exhibit that is on display throughout the month of June, visit
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AIDS/LifeCycle Raises a Record-Breaking $16.6 Million for HIV Programs

AIDS/LifeCycle Raises a Record-Breaking $16.6 Million for HIV Programs | LGBT Community Centers |

This Sunday, more than 2,200 cyclists and hundreds of staff set out from the Cow Palace in San Francisco on a 545-mile, seven-day ride to Los Angeles. But they’d already put in so much important work even before the first pedal stroke. AIDS/LifeCycle, which helps fund HIV/AIDS programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, raised $16.6 million, according to a release from the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The world’s single largest HIV fundraiser, Lifecycle continued to move the needle forward, raising more money than ever in a year in which Donald Trump fired the entire AIDS council. The event has raised more than $251 million for people with HIV or AIDS since it launched in 2002.

“In the seven days it takes the riders to reach Los Angeles, more than 700 people in the United States will contract HIV. One in seven people living with HIV nationwide is not aware of their status,” according to the release.

“Our tireless riders and roadies have once again risen to the occasion, raising millions of dollars to make a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Thanks to their hard work and the generosity of their donors, we will continue to be able to provide free or low-cost HIV testing and medical services — caring for those most in need and reducing the incidence of HIV infection.”

The money raised goes to help provide free HIV and AIDS medical care, testing, and prevention services and to raise awareness to end the stigma surrounding HIV, according to the AIDS

“The enduring commitment of the AIDS/LifeCycle community demonstrates the tenacity we need to end the HIV epidemic for all communities,” said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner. “Because of awareness and funds raised by AIDS/LifeCycle participants, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is able to provide 25,000 clients with services that prevent new infections and promote the health of those living with HIV, all free of charge.”

AIDS/LifeCycle participants will hit the new downtown Los Angeles finish line and celebratory festival June 9, during the city's Pride weekend. 

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