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San Diego LGBT Community Center To Host Transgender Legal Clinic

San Diego LGBT Community Center To Host Transgender Legal Clinic | LGBT Community Centers |

"Law students from the University of San Diego are starting a free legal clinic Tuesday to help transgender people change their names and gender markers on official documents.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center will be hosting the clinic at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, and the first Tuesday of every following month. Robert Gleason, president and CEO of Evans Hotels and the clinic's supervising attorney, said the need for transgender legal aid is growing as the community gains visibility and as more people come out as transgender.

"Up until now, that assistance has been provided by community nonprofits and community members, medical providers and therapists, and they're simply just overwhelmed with requests," Gleason said. "So this was an opportunity for the legal community to come together and to provide legal assistance."

A. T. Furuya, the center's transgender youth services navigator, won recognition from a judge last year as being nonbinary — neither male nor female. Furuya, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns "they," "them" and "their," received a new birth certificate last month with nonbinary as the gender descriptor.

"It's not just a phase, and it's not just something that people are kind of making up," Furuya said. "My identity is real."

The process of legally changing one's name and gender on official documents is expected to get easier as California implements the Gender Recognition Act, which was authored by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. The law will soon allow nonbinary people to choose "NB" as a gender option on their driver's licenses.

The law also removes a requirement that an individual obtain a doctor's note stating the person has undergone medical treatment before legally changing their gender. Individuals will instead be allowed to self-attest to their own gender identity.

Government recognition of a person's gender identity can carry symbolic power, Furuya said, but it can also extend legal protections against discrimination and violence, which trans and gender non-conforming people experience at higher rates than the general population.

"If I were to report something — say it's abuse, say it's any kind of violation against my personhood — and I talk about my gender identity ... if (the police) don't understand something as simple as what my identity is, I might not be taken seriously," Furuya said.

The legal clinic asks people to schedule appointments by calling (732) 567-8394 or emailing

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Pride Center of Vermont Responds to Targeted Vandalism

Pride Center of Vermont Responds to Targeted Vandalism | LGBT Community Centers |

February 5, 2019 – Between the evening hours of Monday, February 4, and the morning of Tuesday, February 5, a poster with the words “Better Dead Than Red” was plastered onto the main entrance door of Pride Center of Vermont. The flyer also displays a logo depicting an arrow shooting through a red hammer and sickle.

The poster advertises Patriot Front, an alt-right propaganda website and white supremacist, anti-Semitic group founded by an 18-year-old Texan, Thomas Rousseau, in the aftermath of the 2017 riots in Charlottesville. The group’s tagline is “Reclaim America.”

According to the Patriot Front website, this act was part of a coordinated effort across more than ten states including Vermont. The website states that their recent efforts are “a call to action for all those faithful to the nation and demonstrates the untapped potential of a national collective mobilized in defense of its liberty.”

The timing of the incident is especially stirring, following unrelated concerns made to the safety and well-being of Center staff and users last week which led the organization to closing Monday, February 4, to make improvements to its safety procedures and measures.

“As an anti-oppression organization, we care about the safety of our LGBTQ+ communities and take all actions that impact our safety very seriously,” said Mike Bensel, Executive Director of Pride Center of Vermont.

Burlington Police Department are aware of the incident and are instructing anyone who sees the posters or stickers to call their local law enforcement. The culprit or culprits are still unknown, and police are instructing those with a lead to report it. Pride Center of Vermont also reported the incident to Vermont Attorney General, T.J. Donovan’s recently-launched Bias Incident Reporting System.

This recent event comes nearly a year after Patriot Front organized a demonstration in front of Burlington’s City Hall. In response to that action, Mayor Miro Weinberger wrote: “White supremacist groups like Patriot Front have no place in Burlington. [Inclusivity and equality for all] are the values that make Burlington and our country great, and the values we will continue to uphold to ensure that intolerance never takes root here.”

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Polestar: Michigan’s Newest LGBTQ Community Center Opens Its Doors –

Polestar: Michigan’s Newest LGBTQ Community Center Opens Its Doors – | LGBT Community Centers |
When John Young came out in his late 50s, he never imagined that just four years later he would have been instrumental in launching Traverse City’s first LGBTQ community center.

“I really came out. I did not hold back. And, frankly, I didn’t know what to do,” said Young, now vice-chair of Polestar, a new LGBTQ community center serving Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim counties in northern lower Michigan.

Young said at the time he knew so few gay people that he thought he’d have to relocate, but met friends in a support group who were as forward-thinking as him.

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South Bay LGBTQ youth get their own space | The Star News

South Bay LGBTQ youth get their own space | The Star News | LGBT Community Centers |
South Bay LGBTQ youth will no longer have to make a trek to The San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest to find a safe space for themselves.

The new South Bay Youth Center is set to open in Chula Vista, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the center’s location in the Castle Park neighborhood from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The ceremony will include cake, refreshments and brief remarks from five speakers, including Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.

Rick Cervantes, director of communications and marketing for the San Diego LGBT Community Center, said the center is dedicated to helping local LGBT youths.

“The center is deeply committed to addressing the needs of our youth and making sure the next generation has the proper resources,” Cervantes said. “We are there to support them to be healthy and to thrive.”
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Pride Center, synagogue hit by 'white nationalist hate group' posters

Pride Center, synagogue hit by 'white nationalist hate group' posters | LGBT Community Centers |

Posters linked to the Patriot Front, a group described by the Burlington Police as a "white nationalist hate group," were hung at the Pride Center of Vermont and the Ohavi Zedek synagogue earlier this week.

In a news release, Burlington Deputy Police Chief Jon Murad described the posters as "bias-motivated vandalism." 

The posters also appeared outside a third organization that wished to remain unnamed, Murad said.

The stickers bore statements like "America First" and "Better Dead than Red." A "Better Dead Than Red" poster was also plastered to the newspaper box outside the Burlington Free Press offices. 

The Patriot Front is a "far right splinter group" founded by a Texas man, Thomas Rosseau, in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Rousseau aimed to bring white nationalists together under an activist banner, according to the center. 

The group's website claimed the posters were hung as part of a coordinated action across Minnesota, New York, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and Massachusetts. 

The Patriot Front shared photos of the Burlington fliers on its Gab social media account. 

"#Patriot Front activists placed posters around Burlington, Vermont," the account posted on Wednesday. 

In December, the same Patriot Front account also shared pictures of anti-immigration stickers posted in Winooski that read, "Keep America American," and urging people to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.

Winooski Police Chief Rick Hebert said Wednesday that his department had no records of any reports about Patriot Front fliers. 

A small group of Patriot Front demonstrators held a rally in City Hall Park in February 2018. The group was also linked to white supremacist posters hung on local college campuses.

"Public safety is a shared responsibility, and we seek our neighbors’ assistance in identifying any additional instances of vandalism associated with this hate group, and in providing information about who may have committed the vandalism," Murad said.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact Detective Chenette of the Burlington Police at 658-2704.

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Pride Center San Antonio Hires Community Empowerment Coordinator | The Daily

Pride Center San Antonio Hires Community Empowerment Coordinator | The Daily | LGBT Community Centers |

Pride Center San Antonio has hired it’s first-ever employee, a community empowerment coordinator who will help organize programming, services and outreach to the city’s LGBTQ community.

The Center’s new hire, Lex Loro, has over six years experience of supporting LGBTQ and disabled youth through sexual health education, social justice advocacy, and training assistance.

As a former fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Loro gained valuable experience in public policy and government affairs while working on the dissemination of the findings from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Loro will be “responsible for supporting Pride Center objectives by coordinating community involvement and service-learning events and projects; acting as a liaison between staff, volunteers, board members, and the larger community.” The position is part-time with a 15-hour work week and a $15 per hour salary that is being funded by a one-year grant.

“I’m thrilled to join The Center in its efforts to ensure that every LGBTQ+ person, and their families, friends, and allies, in San Antonio, and beyond feel safe, supported, healthy, and empowered,” Loro, said in an announcement.

The Center moved into its new headquarters on the 300 block of Ogden Street last spring. The new empowerment community coordinator adds a crucial staff position at time when the organization is positioned to create new programs and increase its volunteer staff.

“Today is a significant milestone for The Center as we transition from an all-volunteer organization to hiring our first ever paid staff member,” said Robert Salcido, executive director of Pride Center San Antonio. “We are excited to enter 2019, in a strong position to further our progress in the long-term effort to empower San Antonio’s LGBTQ+ community. Our staff, interns, board of directors, and volunteers are energized and committed to providing the safe space our community needs and deserves.”

The Center also announced four new board members: Marketing Consultant Yadira Gonzales; Lisa Martinez of the Millenium Group; Vanessa Powers of Marriott International; and Jamie Zapata of Coldwell Banker Realtors.

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Bay Area Reporter :: Online Extra: LGBTQ Update: LA center offers LGBT lesson plans for teachers

Bay Area Reporter :: Online Extra: LGBTQ Update: LA center offers LGBT lesson plans for teachers | LGBT Community Centers |
The Los Angeles LGBT Center recently published LGBT history lesson plans online that are available to teachers nationwide.

The lesson plans give teachers access to materials that comply with the 2011 FAIR Education Act that mandates all California K-12 schools to integrate contributions of LGBT Americans into social studies and history textbooks and materials. Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law July 2012; last month New Jersey lawmakers adopted similar legislation to make the Garden State the second in the country to require public schools to teach LGBT history.

There are 10 lesson plans currently offered for free online at They include a wide range of topics, events, and individuals considered important to LGBT history such as the first openly gay elected official in California, Harvey Milk; the Black Cat Tavern Riots in LA; the HIV/AIDS epidemic; the LGBT civil rights movement; and activists Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.

"We are witnessing a pivotal moment in California's education system — the reality of LGBT people and the struggles and accomplishments of the LGBT movement will not be ignored in our classrooms any longer," Lorri L. Jean, the center's chief executive officer, said in a news release. "By teaching the next generations about the historical contributions of the LGBT community, we are helping to build a safer world for LGBT people and a better world for all."

The lessons include step-by-step implementation directions for educators and links to pictures and videos that accompany the plans. The center also gives teachers the opportunity to schedule in-person, customized training sessions on such topics as LGBT cultural competency, gender diversity at schools, and LGBT youth advocacy training.

Two other organizations collaborated with the center on the creation of the plans: the UCLA History-Geography Project and the ONE Archives Foundation. In 2018 the organizations hosted a weeklong symposium that invited teachers from the Los Angeles area to help design the lessons using, in part, the resources at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, which is the world's largest repository of LGBT materials.

"The inclusion of LGBTQ history and culture within K-12 classrooms brings critical validation and affirmation to the experiences and identities of LGBTQ youth," Erik Adamian, education and outreach manager at the ONE Archives Foundation, said in the release. "The lesson plans are not only a testament to the rich and vibrant history of our community; they are tools for resistance and resilience for youth in the face of erasure that queer narratives often face."

An LGBT teacher who attended the symposium, Hala Dillsi, from Grover Cleveland High School, said in the release, "As a teacher, I am inspired by the resources, lessons, and work to bring LGBTQ+ history to students in a meaningful and engaging way. As a gay person of color, I am proud to learn and relearn LGBTQ+ history in an empowering way where I can see myself in the narratives. I'm grateful for this program and the work we are doing."

The center currently works with 18 education agency partners across the nation that participate in its OUT for Safe Schools program. It was created to encourage school staff and employees to publicly identify as supportive LGBT allies on campus to enable students to feel they are in a safe space outside of their classroom.

Public bathrooms require gender-neutral signage
The International Code Council has approved an amendment that will make public restrooms more accessible to the transgender community. The proposals of the amendment were recommended by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the American Institute of Architects.

The first proposal, approved last week, requires all single-stall restrooms to have signage that indicates they are open to all genders. The second will allow multi-stall restrooms to have gender-neutral, private stalls and a shared sink area.

"Separating single-use restrooms by gender has never made sense for transgender people or anyone else," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the NCTE, in a news release. "These new rules not only preserve the privacy and dignity of all — they make our public spaces more accessible, safe, and equitable."

AIA CEO Robert Ivy talked about the responsibility architects have to creating safe, accessible spaces for all people.

"The American Institute of Architects is proud to have taken a proactive public stance to ensure bathroom accessibility for all. As architects, we are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of citizens in the built environment," Ivy wrote in an email to the Bay Area Reporter. "With pragmatic solutions, we can better serve and accommodate a variety of community needs. The code proposals are but one step in the right direction to enable access for all."

The International Code Council is a 64,000-member group that develops international building codes and standards. According to its website, its international codes are used by most U.S. communities and many global markets.

"These updates are intended to improve restroom accessibility for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals," stated a news release from NCTE. "Transgender people frequently face harassment in bathrooms separated by gender, with one in 10 respondents in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey being denied use of a public restroom because of their gender identity or expression."

The new amendments will be published in the 2021 edition of the International Building Code and are expected to be adopted by state and local governments on a rolling basis thereafter, according to NCTE. Several years ago both San Francisco and the state of California adopted laws requiring businesses and government-run buildings to mark all single-stall toilets as for use by anyone.

The International Code Council did not respond to a request for comment from the B.A.R. before this column was posted.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues elect first trans board chair
An East Coast-based LGBT grant-funding organization has named its first transgender board chair.

Rickke Manazala, a trans man, was recently elected chair of the board of directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, a network of 75 LGBT foundations that is based in New York City.

Manazala serves as vice president of strategy and programs at Borealis Philanthropy, which partners with philanthropic organizations helping grant makers expand their impact.

"Our new board leadership is ideally suited to lead us into the next chapter of Funders for LGBTQ Issues' urgent work," said Ben Francisco Maulbeck, president of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. "Rickke's deep experience in social justice will help us shape a new strategic plan that centers racial equity, deepens the work of our Grantmakers United for Trans Communities Initiative, and expands our intersectional LGBTQ training programs."

Manazala previously served as the executive director of FIERCE, a grassroots organization for LGBTQ youth of color in New York City, and was a Ford Foundation New Voices Fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
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Barcelona's LGBT centre is vandalised one week after opening - ·

Barcelona's LGBT centre is vandalised one week after opening -  · | LGBT Community Centers |

Residents of Barcelona have shown their support for the queer community after the city’s LGBT+ centre was vandalised just over one week after opening.

The Centre LGBTI Barcelona opened in Calle Borrell, Barcelona, on January 19, with Eugeni Rodríguez, president of LGBT+ rights group Observatori Contra l’Homofòbia, describing it as a “historic day” for Barcelona’s LGBT+ community.

However, it was reported on Sunday (January 27) that the centre had been vandalised earlier that morning.

Barcelona’s LGBT+ centre is graffitied with “f*ck LGBT” and fascist symbols
Observatori Contra l’Homofòbia condemned the attack on Twitter.

“This morning we found painted #LGTBIfòbiques and broken glass in center #BarcelonaLGTBI,” it posted on January 27.

“We condemn the attack and we make it very clear that we will continue working and defending the space and our rights and freedoms.”

“Today this city has sent a clear and blunt message: hate is not welcome. There will be no impunity.”
—Ada Colau Ballano, mayor of Barcelona

The organisation said the centre was graffitied with phrases such as “f**k LGBT” and fascist symbols.

On Monday night, hundreds LGBT+ campaigners and allies gathered in front of the centre in solidarity with the city’s queer community.

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Italian Gay Center Targeted, Robbed

Italian Gay Center Targeted, Robbed | LGBT Community Centers |
A CCTV camera caught bulglars stealing goods and donations from an LGBT+ center in Rome, according to Pink News.

Italy's LGBT+ association assists LGBT people by providing services such as a hotline for victims of homophobic attacks. The association needs donations to keep the center running, but a group of people broke into the association's headquarters during the night between the 24th and the 25th and stole the equivalent of $11,400 in goods and donations.

The Gay Center's Facebook page created a post that denounced the bulglars and said that stealing donations which are used to temporarily shelter LGBT people and test for HIV and other STIs, is an act of cowardice. 

Fabrizio Marrazzo, the spokesperson for the Gay Center, said that there was emotional damage as well as financial damage. He noted that it was difficult for him to watch as the bulglars violating the rooms that the center uses every day to help people. He said, “The CCTV footage shows the thieves comfortably walking around and calmly pillaging whatever was available.” He believes that whoever was responsible for this crime must have planned it, as they seemed to know where they were going.

The thieves damaged property and stole several laptops and cellphones. To recover from the losses, Marrazzo launched a crowdfunding campaign to gain back the money that was lost and during the first few hours of the campaign being announced, people donated about €600, or approximately $683.

The Gay Center has been previously targeted by the far right group "Forza Nuova" (New Force) after a civil union bull was approved by Italian lawmakers. 

It's upsetting that donations were stolen because they do provide vital services, but Marrazzo is not going to stop assisting the LGBT+ association because he will not let bulglars destroy the center.
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Triple Trailblazer: LGBT Detroit Makes History for a Third Time –

Triple Trailblazer: LGBT Detroit Makes History for a Third Time – | LGBT Community Centers |
LGBT Detroit is located at 20025 Greenfield Road in Detroit. Find out more information about the organization online at The organization’s Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb will be presenting workshop on preserving the memory of Detroit’s gay spaces at LGBT Detroit on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Mackinaw West room on the 5th floor of the Marriott in Detroit’s Renaissance Center. Find out more on

From the outside, LGBT Detroit might look like many similar nonprofit organizations, but if one digs a little deeper they’ll find that its been making history both in the city’s LGBTQ and African-American communities since it was founded over 20 years ago. It got its roots in 1994 as the Kick Publishing Company, achieving the title of the third black American LGBT media company created in the U.S. A year later, it kicked off its Hotter Than July celebration, making it the world’s second oldest black pride. Now in 2019, LGBT Detroit is making history for a third time with its recently acquired expansion; after purchasing the building next door to its current Greenfield Road location, it’s become the “largest property of a black-owned LGBT center in North America,” said Curtis Lipscomb, LGBT Detroit’s executive director.

“So, we are now a campus,” Lipscomb said. “We’re looking at a combined 6,000 square foot unit of space where expanded programming occurs [next door] while admin stays here, because we were doing all three types of work — admin, event, programming — here, in our older space.”

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Tyrone Carr appointed as interim director of LGBT Center

Tyrone Carr appointed as interim director of LGBT Center | LGBT Community Centers |
Tyrone Carr was named interim director of Ohio University’s LGBT Center on Wednesday.

Carr has worked at the university since 1991 and has advanced the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts throughout his past 28 years. 

“I am very excited by this opportunity to serve OHIO’s LGBT community in an interim capacity,” said Carr of his recent appointment. “I have dedicated my life’s work to promoting a positive culture that celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. In this new capacity, and as a longtime ally of the LGBT community, I will continue to advance programming that ensures every member of our community is treated with equality and respect.”

Carr most recently acted in a dual-role at OU as executive director of the Interlink Alliance, reporting directly to President Duane Nellis, and special assistant for Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban. 

He has experience with roles in student affairs, enrollment management, human resources and as a student advocate. Carr began his career in higher education as an administrator at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania and has been recognized throughout his career for his ability to build strong partnerships with constituents and stakeholders, according to the news release.

“In selecting an interim director, it was essential that a very deliberative decision be made to appoint someone who can provide a strong support system for students in our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities,” Secuban said in the news release. “Having worked with Ty closely in his role as Special Assistant, I am confident in his leadership talents and his commitment to this very important community.”

The university is planning to have a national search for a new director for the LGBT Center after delfin bautista was put on administrative leave on Jan. 10. Carr will continue providing services to students, faculty and staff who rely on the center until a new director is appointed.

The Division of Student Affairs will also provide support through various services, such as Counseling and Psychological Services, student staffing resources, safe zone training services across campus and assistance with referrals for non-related health related emergencies. In addition, several university faculty have offered to engage with the LGBT community “to provide ancillary services where needed,” according to the release.

“I am very excited by this opportunity to serve OHIO’s LGBT community in an interim capacity,” Carr said in the release. “I have dedicated my life’s work to promoting a positive culture that celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. In this new capacity, and as a longtime ally of the LGBT community, I will continue to advance programming that ensures every member of our community is treated with equality and respect.”
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Shenandoah LGBTQ Center set to open in historic building

Shenandoah LGBTQ Center set to open in historic building | LGBT Community Centers |
The Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, which began operating in temporary office space in Staunton, Va., in August 2018, is scheduled to open its new offices and meeting space on Jan. 26 in Staunton’s historic Masonic Building.

Christopher Wood, the LGBTQ Center’s founder, and Emily Sproul, the Center’s executive director, gave the Washington Blade a tour of the soon-to-be-opened offices and meeting space in December.

The two noted that the Center’s new home is in the heart of downtown Staunton, which serves as a hub for Virginia’s expansive Shenandoah Valley.  

“The Shenandoah LGBTQ Center was announced on July 13, 2018 in response to the severe lack of resources available in the Shenandoah Valley and Greater Appalachian region for LGBTQ individuals and their families,” the Center states on its website.

Wood said new owners of the Masonic Building, which first opened in 1895 as a Masonic temple, are supportive of the Center’s mission and offered favorable terms on the Center’s lease.

Last weekend, Wood said he and others involved with the Center traveled to the Ikea store in Northern Virginia to buy office furniture and other items for the new space.

“So the space is being redone this coming weekend,” he said. “There’s a work day actually on Saturday,” he noted, when volunteers will help put the finishing touches on the new space.

Although LGBT people often face challenges in rural parts of the Shenandoah Valley, Wood said the new center is fortunate that city officials in Staunton, including the mayor, police chief, and city manager as well as the local business community, have been welcoming and supportive.

Wood and his husband own and operate a retail store in downtown Staunton not far from the LGBTQ Center’s new offices. He also serves as executive director of LGBT Tech, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for the LGBT community on technology issues.

He said an important role of the LGBTQ Center will be to provide access to technology for those who visit the Center, especially LGBT youth, such as computer terminals and advice on devices such as smart phones.
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LGBT Life Center to provide primary care for those in LGBT community

LGBT Life Center to provide primary care for those in LGBT community | LGBT Community Centers |

ORFOLK, Va. (WSET) -- The LGBT Life Center in Norfolk is now offering primary health care for people in the LGBT community.

The center has offered a place for people to get testing done for years, but a new partnership with the CAN Community Health is allowing them to now offer treatment options, thanks to the doctors and nurses of CAN.

"They do the medical and the clinical component, we do the linkage to care, retention and care, follow up to care, ensure that people continue to access services," Stacie Walls-Beegle, the CEO of the LGBT Life Center said.

The new clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted infections reported WAVY.

"When we tested somebody and they tested positive, it would mean they needed to go to the Health Department, or they needed to go to an infectious disease doctor, or they needed to go someplace else," Walls-Beegle said. "We wanted to create a system where you test positive, we can treat you right now."

The center will also be offering an on-site pharmacy.

"All those different things that happen in somebody's life who is, who are LGBT, it's not easy to talk about all of that if you're not in an environment where it's a safe space and its welcoming," said Walls-Beegle. "Stigma can be an awful barrier to being able to access services that are critical to your health and wellness and so we're hoping to decrease some of those barriers."

The center will treat everyone, regardless of their insurance status. The pharmacy will not open for a few months, but the center operates a mail-order pharmacy and will continue to do so until the new pharmacy is up and running.

The LGBT Life Center and CAN also plan to open a clinic in Hampton in the spring.

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OU President Comments As Protesters Decry Removal Of LGBT Center Director

OU President Comments As Protesters Decry Removal Of LGBT Center Director | LGBT Community Centers |

ATHENS — Ohio University’s president reiterated the school’s commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community Friday as a group of people protested the removal of the LGBT Center’s director.

Dr. Duane Nellis, during a meeting with reporters at Cutler Hall, repeated earlier statements by the university that the decision to remove delfin bautista (who uses they/them pronouns and doesn’t capitalize their name) was not made lightly.

“I certainly want to thank [bautista] for the service they have provided to Ohio University,” Nellis said. “We will be transition toward a national search [for a new director].”

A group of protesters gathered outside of Cutler Hall during the meeting hoping to get answers to why bautista was removed in the manner they were. Some in the crowd who work with the LGBT Center, who did not wish to be identified, wondered what the move means for the future of LGBT Center resources.

Nellis did not know the specifics of why Gigi Secuban, VP of Diversity and Inclusion, made the decision to remove bautista. But he did offer the university’s continued support and resources for diversity.

“I don’t think this decision in any way, in my opinion, lessens our strong commitment to the LGBT community and to our overall efforts in diversity and inclusion.”

He highlighted steps the university has taken to show a commitment to diversity that including the hiring of Secuban in May 2018 and allocating more funds for Diversity and Inclusion programs, which includes funds for additional staff at the LGBT Center.

As reported by WOUB News, bautista learned they no longer would be working at OU Thursday afternoon. They remain on paid administrative leave until the end of their contract which ends on June 30, 2019.  This leaves the LGBT Center without a director, assistant director, and office administrator ahead of a new semester beginning on Monday.

“I’ve asked [Secuban] that question as to how we plan to work on an interim basis because we need to make sure that we have robust support for the LGBT community,” Nellis said. “They’re an important part of our university family and we want to be there for them.”

A university representative said an interim director is in place for the first few days. The plan for interim leadership beyond that is still being worked out.

A group of people who participated in the protest came inside Cutler Hall to speak with Nellis about midway through his meeting with reporters and could be heard chanting outside the room after being asked to leave by a receptionist.

Campus police were called on the protesters and officers threatened to arrest the protesters if they did not leave the building. The group returned outside and there were no arrests.

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LGBTQ Resource Center changes name to Pride Alliance Center to promote inclusion –

LGBTQ Resource Center changes name to Pride Alliance Center to promote inclusion – | LGBT Community Centers |
The UI LGBTQ Resource Center has renamed itself the Pride Alliance Center in order to be more inclusive of diverse sexual and gender identities, as well as to clarify the purpose of the center.

Alex Bare, the outreach director of Spectrum UI, a LGBTQ student organization on campus, said the LGBTQ abbreviation is not fully inclusive of all sexualities and gender identities.

“There is constantly a need to edit and amend the abbreviation that is used to describe a very diverse community,” Bare said. “Because there is an ever-evolving concept of identity, and we don’t know how long we’re going to be using LGBTQ, perhaps it’s better if we use an all-encompassing term like pride.”

Pride Alliance Center Director Emma Welch said the center would also frequently receive calls confusing the Pride Alliance Center with the UI LGBTQ clinic.
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Utah LGBTQ family and youth resource center Encircle opens new location in Salt Lake |

Utah LGBTQ family and youth resource center Encircle opens new location in Salt Lake | | LGBT Community Centers |
With one location already in Provo, the nonprofit Encircle House LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center officially opens its services to the public in Salt Lake Thursday.

The opening comes the same day the Provo location opened three years ago, in a historic renovated home built in 1891, which also happens to be the same age of the Provo location's home.

There were numerous prominent local figures in attendance at the grand opening on Friday, including Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Sen. Jim Dabakis.

Musical performances by the band VINCINT, Parson James and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus also took place at the grand opening reception.

”All of Salt Lake showed up, truthfully. It was just the community embracing Encircle in the best way,” Jacob Dunford, Encircle's chief operating officer, told

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours were given to the more than 500 in attendance to showcase Encircle's many programs and services.
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Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of WNY –

Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of WNY – | LGBT Community Centers |
Just a few blocks from the infamous gay bar, the Underground Niteclub, Buffalo’s Stonewall, tucked between Trinity Church and Chris’ NY Sandwich on Delaware Avenue stands Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of WNY, a quaint safe haven for the local queer community, operated by supporting staff with open arms and minds. Their center in the city is a comforting getaway, adorned with LGBT art and literature, with a beautiful Drop-In Center where teens can escape and come together after school and during the summer, and participation is free of charge!
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Bayard Rustin Center Opens Its Doors, Seeks Social Justice for All | Town Topics

Bayard Rustin Center Opens Its Doors, Seeks Social Justice for All | Town Topics | LGBT Community Centers |
In the spirit of the legendary civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, whose homosexuality caused him to face intense discrimination during his lifetime, the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRC), settling into its new home on Wiggins Street behind the HiTOPS building, is reaching out to provide support to all who seek its services.

Remodeled as a community space for gatherings, the BRC will be hosting a panel presentation tonight, January 30, at 6:30-8:30 p.m on LGBTQI Cultural Competencies, including information about language and definition of terms associated with the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, questioning, intersex) community — just one of many events planned for the new center.

“I wanted our kids and families to have open space to have rainbow dances, screenings, lectures, workshops, and symposiums,” said BRC Founder and Chief Activist Robt Seda-Schreiber. “I want it to be a community activist center and a safe space for all.”

Sponsored by the BRC, the Princeton Public Library, PFLAG Princeton, and HiTOPS, tonight’s session, moderated by Seda-Schreiber, will include discussion of definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity and how the two interact; a primer on pronouns; the LGBTQI experience, hetero-normativity, gender binary, and privilege; changing our systems, policies, and procedures to be inclusive and non-binary; and how to be a good ally to the LGBTQI community.

Panelists will include HiTOPS Program Manager Alex Aikens, PFLAG/TNET Princeton member Michele Mazakas, and others.

“This is about how we name ourselves and each other,” said Seda-Schreiber. “It’s about who we are and making sure we see no one else as the other. We do this by listening and asking questions.”

“We need a place where all can come and move forward together,” states the BRC website, “galvanizing each other to be and to do our best, to be our most loving and most understanding selves, both individually and collectively.”

It continues, “We need an environment wherein kids (and adults) will learn and

indeed be inspired to be our future leaders, imbued with a strong sense of community spirituality, and compassion. To that end, the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice will provide a safe haven and an educational enclave for all our students as well as our entire community.”

An art teacher at Melvin H. Kreps Middle School in HIghtstown for 23 years, Seda-Schreiber was an activist long before he conceived of the BRC. “I always was a huge supporter of social justice in my classroom and in my community,” he noted. “I started the first GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance] in a middle school in New Jersey. I was always listening for that voice, that kid who didn’t have a friend. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless, a friend for the friendless. I wanted to be there for that kid, that teacher, that community member, whoever was in need.”

About two years ago, Seda-Schreiber had what he described as “an epiphany moment.” As he was receiving an award from the National Education Association as Social Justice Activist of the Year, “I realized that I can do more,” he said. “There’s a larger platform I can serve. I love my classroom. I love my kids, but there’s something else I can do where I can exponentially help more people.”

Just two years short of receiving a full pension, Seda-Screiber decided to leave the classroom to begin work on creating a social justice center. “It was the moment,” he said. “Our country is in a difficult state right now. It’s a great opportunity for us all to come together, to realize that when one of us steps forward, we all step forward.” 

Seda-Schreiber pointed out that Bayard Rustin is one of his great heroes. Rustin planned the 1963 civil rights march on Washington and brought the idea of non-violence to the movement from his studies in India, but was “excised from the history, edited out of the stories, because he was gay. He wouldn’t dismiss or hide who he was,” Seda-Schreiber said.

He went on to emphasize the BRC’s purpose “to make sure no name is ever lost, no person is ever forgotten, whether they be in an office building, the leader of a movement, or a student in a classroom.”

Seda-Schreiber, who lives in Princeton Junction with his wife, a public defender and head of the Mental Health Advocacy Division, worked without salary for the first year of planning for the BRC.

Last September he found a home for the BRC, ideally located behind HiTOPS, and, after three months of renovations, replacing some walls of what used to be a HiTOPS clinic with open spaces for coming together, the BRC is up and running.

“Their mission of advocacy and inclusiveness for people who are often marginalized is something welcomed here,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker. “In the current climate where there is so much pointing fingers at the other, the work that Robt is doing is invaluable. We’re all in this together. I thank him.”

Zwicker noted that Seda-Schreiber has been eloquent in his advocacy for legislation supporting LGBTQ rights.

BRC board member the Rev. Robert Moore also expressed his support for the Center and for its being named for Rustin. “A lot of people, including immigrants and members of the LGBT community, are fearful because of who they are. It’s a strength for BRC to now have a physical location.” 

Moore noted progress in social justice, but cited a recent ban on transgender members of the armed forces, and observed, “We’re seeing things go in reverse under the Trump administration. It is incumbent on us to be supportive of marginalized groups as they go through this difficult period.”

The BRC, organizer of the Families Belong Together rally that brought more than 800 demonstrators to Hinds Plaza last summer, has a full complement of events planned in the coming weeks, many in collaboration with other local organizations, including tonight’s panel discussion; a screening and discussion of Free CeCe! a documentary about the controversial imprisonment of trans woman and LGBTQ activist CeCe McDonald, on February 19 at the Princeton Public Library; a drag queen story hour for children and families at Labyrinth Books on February 23 followed by an after party at the BRC with a full drag show; a March 2 coming out party grand opening extravaganza at the BRC; a March 14 New Jersey LGBT organizations meet and greet; and others. 

“There’s a lot of work to do,” said Seda-Schreiber. “We want to be of service — caring, observing, listening, talking to people in town, finding these community members, and figuring out where we can help. If we can’t get them to come here, we’ll go there.”
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Brooklyn Pride Center Offers Youth Internships

Brooklyn Pride Center Offers Youth Internships | LGBT Community Centers |
Brooklyn’s queer community center is accepting applications for a paid-internship program this spring.

The Brooklyn Community Pride Center’s internship training and placement program is tailor-made to help aspiring young LGBTQ professionals overcome unique challenges they face in kick-starting careers, an executive at the Bedford-Stuyvesant–based Center said.

Nearly a dozen formerly homeless, LGBTQ youths — who were all forced to live on the street because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — received opportunities through the so-called Pride Path program since it launched last year with funds from a city-based trust, according to the center official.

“There are many barriers to entering the workforce for queer young adults, including poverty and homeless,” said Floyd Rumohr, the Pride Center’s chief executive officer. “When your basic needs aren’t being fulfilled, it’s very difficult to compete for and sustain a job.”

Center leaders are currently looking to recruit 20 eager young people 18 to 24 years old for the program’s upcoming semester, which kicks off with two weeks of job-training classes on February 18. Following their training, participants will begin eight-week internships at one of 15 participating companies, according to the Center’s programs director Jako Borren.

The budding professionals will earn $15-per hour during the training program and internships, which offer experience in fields including retail, media, arts and entertainment, health, and real estate. College degrees are not required to apply, Rumohr had said in a previous interview.

The program also covers participants’ commuting expenses and, after it concludes, Center leaders will help the future leaders of tomorrow land real jobs, Borren said.

Would-be interns can apply for the Pride Path program by visiting the Brooklyn Community Pride Center’s
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Shenandoah LGBTQ Center finds home at Staunton's Masonic building

Shenandoah LGBTQ Center finds home at Staunton's Masonic building | LGBT Community Centers |

STAUNTON - Emily Sproul didn't know what to do when her 12-year-old child came out as gender fluid. Sproul wanted to give her child all the support she could, but she was looking for resources herself on how to deal with it and provide a safe environment for them.

She is a single mother raising her four children — ages 14, 12, 10 and 7. The eldest came out as queer in the 6th grade and she felt prepared to handle that. Having another child come out as gender fluid, she didn't know what to do.

"Not that I was upset by it, but I thought, how are we supposed to get through this if neither of us know how to navigate this?" she said. 

Sproul explained that gender fluid means a person identifies male or female depending on the day or mood, floating in between the two genders. It's a non-binary identity where the person is referred as them or they. Someone who is gender fluid can spend their whole lives that way or later discover they are transgender and may transition. 

Back in May she was looking for support groups for both her children, but could only find groups in Charlottesville that only operated during the school year. She wasn't keen on driving to Charlottesville for her children to meet up with other children who they don't go to school with or interact with on a daily basis. Plus, she would have had to wait until September for the sessions to start up again.

"Charlottesville is such a different community than the Valley," she said. "I really wanted context. I wanted to be in a group that was facing the same school environments and community environments that we were."

That's when LGBT Tech came in. The Staunton nonprofit organization works with the LGBT community and technology. The nonprofit focuses on advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and communities and how that relates to technology.

It's something created by Chris Wood, the executive director for LGBT Tech. Both of Sproul's children volunteered during the summer at the organization, which spurred more discussions. Once Wood and Sproul met, the ball started rolling on creating Staunton's first Pride Festival and then the Shenandoah LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) Center.

Wood saw a major need in the area for the LGBTQ community. He was disheartened to hear the stories of people not being accepted in a place where it seems so accepting. 

"By creating a space for those LGBT feel welcome and encouraged and hopeful, it allows them to feel supported in a way that they can then go ahead and be that person to change hearts and minds in the best way they know possible," Wood said in a Dec. 2018 interview with The News Leader.

The center previously was based at LGBT Tech's headquarters inside the Staunton Innovation Hub at 32 N. Augusta Ave. Then LGBT Tech downsized its presence at the Hub and the center bounced around — occupying borrowed space at the Hub and at Redwood's lab (co-owned by Wood and his husband Mark Wilkinson) in the west end for a few months.

They had already started support groups and other resources, but no real set space  to gather. 

"It made it trickier for our clients to find us and feel safe," Sproul said.

They signed the lease for the old banquet room on the fifth floor of the Masonic Building Jan. 1.

"We're hoping that being in this space will get that continuity and get people coming back on a regular basis. We have to build the trust in the community," she said. 

The center is applying for its nonprofit status and has created a steering committee with seven area volunteers. It's relying on funding from a few grants — a $2,000 Gannett Foundation grant and a $500 Walmart Community grant.

Sproul said the center is also working on getting more of the community involved, especially with volunteers to teach life-skills class — topics such as cooking, finance and self-care.

Cole Troxell will be volunteering at the center to help with cooking classes and self-care instruction. Troxell, who grew up in Fort Defiance, came out as trans when he was 23 and lived closeted as trans until he was 25. At the age of 30, he started transitioning. 

"We don’t realize how many resources we lack in this area," he said. "Growing up here was a struggle. I never found language for who I was until I went to college."

Returning home, Troxell said he encountered an overwhelming love from the community and his friends and family. He hopes the center will act as that safe haven he has been able to experience.

"I don’t want any more youth growing up here without a fair shot at: one, feeling comfortable in their identity or skin; two, being able to explore that in safe space; and three, feeling like they can’t exist in this world," Troxell said. "We are under the gun with this current administration and I’ll be damned if I let youth and adults alike suffer more than we already are. This center will save lives."

For more information on the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center visit its Facebook page at Shenandoah LBGTQ Center or at its location at 13 W. Beverley St. on the fifth floor. 

The center will be hosting an open house Feb. 16. from 5 to 8 p.m.

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Los Angeles LGBT Center Publishes LGBT History Lesson Plans for California Teachers Under FAIR Education Act

Los Angeles LGBT Center Publishes LGBT History Lesson Plans for California Teachers Under FAIR Education Act | LGBT Community Centers |
In complying with the 2011 FAIR Education Act, which requires all California K-12 schools to integrate age appropriate, factual information about the roles and positive contributions of LGBT Americans and people with disabilities into their social studies and history classes, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has published the first batch of lesson plans for teachers online at The development of these Out for Safe Schools® lesson plans was made possible in part through the generous support of Toyota.

The lesson plans, many of which include vintage photos and archived media reports, showcase a wide spectrum of topics, events, and individuals considered to be vital in LGBT history, such as civil rights activists Audre Lorde, Harvey Milk, and Bayard Rustin; the Black Cat Tavern Riots; the AIDS crisis; and the concept of “coming out.”

“We are witnessing a pivotal moment in California’s education system—the reality of LGBT people and the struggles and accomplishments of the LGBT movement will not be ignored in our classrooms any longer,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “By teaching the next generations about the historical contributions of the LGBT community, we are helping to build a safer world for LGBT people and a better world for all.”

These lesson plans are the results of a collaboration among the Center, UCLA History-Geography Project, and the ONE Archives Foundation. In 2018 the three organizations hosted a week long symposium for a cohort of teachers from the Los Angeles area dedicated to designing LGBT lessons for U.S. History teachers by tapping into the tremendous resources at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries—the world’s largest repository of LGBTQ materials—and learning from esteemed scholars like Dr. Craig Loftin and Dr. Patrick Covert-Ortiz.

The research conducted by the teachers at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries was then incorporated into the LGBT history lesson plans. The cohort of dedicated history educators included: Israel Calderon, Baldwin Park High School; Miguel Covarrubias, Los Angeles Unified School District; Hala Dillsi, Grover Cleveland High School; Elana Goldbaum, The Archer School for Girls; Sasha Guzman, Social Justice Humanitas Academy; Eunice Ho, Hollenbeck Middle School; Chris Lewis, Mountain View High School; Peta Lindsay, Woodrow Wilson High School; and Marika Manos, Long Beach Unified School District.

“In the beauty, diversity, and unimaginable strength of the LGBT movement, there are many lessons for our struggles today,” said Peta Lindsay, a lesson plan contributor from Woodrow Wilson High School. “I am proud to have been able to work with the ONE Archives and the Los Angeles LGBT Center in bringing these crucial historical lessons to our young people.”

“The inclusion of LGBTQ history and culture within K-12 classrooms brings critical validation and affirmation to the experiences and identities of LGBTQ youth,” said Erik Adamian, education and outreach manager at the ONE Archives Foundation. “The lesson plans are not only a testament to the rich and vibrant history of our community; they are tools for resistance and resilience for youth in the face of erasure that queer narratives often face.”

“Being a member of the curriculum cohort has been a transformative experience for me, both professionally and personally,” said Hala Dillsi from Grover Cleveland High School. “As a teacher, I am inspired by the resources, lessons, and work to bring LGBTQ+ history to students in a meaningful and engaging way. As a gay person of color, I am proud to learn and relearn LGBTQ+ history in an empowering way where I can see myself in the narratives. I'm grateful for this program and the work we are doing.”

In addition to California schools, the online lesson plans will be rolled out to school districts nationwide participating in OUT for Safe Schools®, the Center’s national program created to encourage school staff (including administrators, teachers, bus drivers, etc.) to publicly identify as supportive LGBT allies on campus. The program currently works with 18 education agency partners, including Chicago Public Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District, Massachusetts State Department of Education, Oakland Unified School District, and New York Department of Education (the nation’s largest school district).

For more information about OUT for Safe Schools®, visit
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Norfolk’s LGBT Life Center Opens Its Third Clinic to Serve the Hampton Roads LGBTQ Community | Gay Richmond News, Entertainment, Nightlife & LGBT Community Guide

Norfolk’s LGBT Life Center Opens Its Third Clinic to Serve the Hampton Roads LGBTQ Community | Gay Richmond News, Entertainment, Nightlife & LGBT Community Guide | LGBT Community Centers |
The Norfolk-based LGBT Life Center isn’t just a clinic. It’s a lifeline for members of the Hampton Roads LGBTQ community who may have nowhere else to turn. And now, it’s about to become even easier to access.

CEO Stacie Walls-Beegle said that the organization, which is nearing its thirtieth anniversary, is expecting to fully open its third Norfolk location on Monticello Avenue by March or April. The location was previously occupied by the center’s HIV testing and outreach program. The space is being renovated to have a clinical space, which will have three exam rooms, a testing room, and an onsite pharmacy. While the clinic is open, the pharmacy is still being worked on.

“You’ll be able to come into the clinic, get tested, get your medications right there on site, and do kind of a one stop shop experience for your health care,” said Walls-Beegle. “We know that people are much more adherent to care if we can provide them with the convenience of pharmacy on site, and then also if there’s a welcoming, affirming atmosphere, people are more inclined to continue to be engaged in care.”
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LGBT Center of Greater Reading partners with Safe Berks for support group

The LBGT Center of Greater Reading has partnered with Safe Berks to offer a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning adult victims of domestic and/or sexual violence.

"We are proud to partner with Safe Berks in providing a support group for LGBTQ+ victims of domestic and/or sexual violence," Michelle Dech, executive director of the center, said in a news release.

The center provides advocacy and referral services for members of the LGBTQ community in Berks County.

Safe Berks provides shelter and other support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The support group held its first meeting on Wednesday, and will meet every other Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the center, 1501 N. 13th St. For more information call 610-864-5800.
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New director of LGBTQ Student Center joins UM

For more than 25 years, Gisela Vega has been a leader and advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. She now brings her extensive personal and professional experience, along with a continued pursuit of equality, to the University of Miami as the new director of the LGBTQ Student Center.

Vega, by way of Chicago, Illinois, received her start in housing and residential life as the resident director at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she encountered many different students from diverse backgrounds. As she gained professional experience and honed her skills and passion, Vega eventually joined Florida International University and in 2012 was named associate director of LGBTQA Student Initiatives within Multicultural Programs and Services and was on the faculty for the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Vega was instrumental in developing educational and social programs at FIU, and after 22 years of service at the public institution, she is excited to bring her management approach to UM.

“This was a community that I had worked with for many years for both personal and professional reasons,” said Vega, who earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in instructional leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a doctorate in higher education from FIU. “When I was in college, we didn’t really have LGBT or gender and sexuality centers, which made it even more difficult. So, I can relate to the experience of a student who feels marginalized or alone on a college campus.”

Officially one week into her role at UM, Vega feels right at home in her new office, located on the second floor of the Whitten University Center of the Coral Gables campus. She has plans to continue to grow and enhance existing programs as well as implement year-round service components and student leadership development into the LGBTQ Student Center programming.

“I’d like to see us develop more LGBTQ leaders here at the University who can go into the community one day,” Vega said.

The LGBTQ Student Center currently offers a variety of programs and services to students, faculty, and staff that aim to build community and offer opportunities for empowerment, visibility, inclusion, intergroup engagement, and education. IBIS (I Believe In Solidarity) Ally Network’s training program is one of the many initiatives that attracted Vega to the UM LGBTQ community. She said there are people who want to help and want to be support systems for this community, but sometimes may not know how. So, she sees it as her responsibility to help those who want to learn.

In addition, Vega said she understands the importance of having a resource center on campus that provides a space where students can go for advice or simply to be heard.

“Part of the reason I do this work is because I’m passionate about our students in terms of them not feeling alone,” said Vega. “I think one of the things that’s unique about this population is that many of our students have many intersecting identities.  In my personal experience, I knew how important it was for me to find the right networks, the right organizations and groups and spaces and people to be involved with.”

Vega feels the UM community is extremely progressive and is working hard to ensure support for all marginalized groups across campus. She is proud to now work for a university that provides inclusive restrooms and that offers an option for students wishing to designate their preferred name or gender on their records.

Most of all, Vega looks forward to collaborating with students, faculty, staff, and the greater University community.

“My vision,” said Vega, “is to create one of the preeminent centers in the nation, one that is looked to for best practices where students, faculty, staff, and community feel that they are always welcomed. This office and these doors are open to anyone who is interested in learning about social justice issues and be educated around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.”
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San Joaquin Pride Center honoring four at annual event

STOCKTON — Nicholas Hatten receives a great reminder every year that he stands “on the shoulders of giants.”

Hatten, San Joaquin Pride Center executive director, said the center is not the only group advocating or contributing to the LGBT+ community. There are people who have or are doing wonderful work and the annual Pride Honors event is an opportunity to recognize and elevate those individuals’ voices and efforts, he added.

Pride Honors, which started six years ago, is a positive and encouraging event, Hatten said. And in this political climate, when there’s so much division, it’s nice to have this celebration.

“It’s just an inspiring ceremony and a really beautiful way to say thanks to those people,” he said. “This is food for the soul.”

The Pride Honors Brunch is at 11 a.m. Jan. 6 at the San Joaquin Pride Center, 115 N. Sutter Street. The honorees are:

Legacy Award: Cathleen Galgiani

Education Champion Award: Lisa Cooper-Wilkins

Community Award: Dr. Elyas Parsa

Special Recognition Honoree: Dennis Merrill

Hatten is in awe of state Sen. Galgiani, D-Stockton, and her continued rise in politics after coming out as a lesbian, he said. She had a unique journey of coming out late in life and doing so in a very public way that is not often heard.

In 2011, Galgiani told The Record that it was not until adulthood that she knew she was gay and that by her coming out she hoped to send a positive message to young people.

“Cathleen helped create the very first LGBT+ political club,” according to the Pride Center. “As a legislative aide, Galgiani advocated for LGBT+ issues that often resulted in political blowback from the public during a time when San Joaquin County was still divided over gay rights.

“Cathleen’s personal story is a wonderful reminder that each of our coming out stories is unique and that her later-in-life discovery and coming out experience in the public eye can be a loving and welcoming experience.”

Cooper-Wilkins, assistant superintendent and vice president for student services at San Joaquin Delta College, is being recognized for her willingness to partner and work with the Pride Center and LGBT+ students to improve the school’s environment.

Several years ago Hatten began hearing about issues at the campus, he said. When the Pride Center approached Cooper-Wilkins, she immediately agreed to meet and was open to working with the center and LGBT+ students to improve Delta College.

“She took our recommendations and ran with them,” Hatten said. “There are still agencies that don’t even respond when we reach out, let alone ask us to partner.”

Cooper-Wilkins said she is overwhelmed and humbled by the recognition, and added that she works with many people at Delta College who are making the campus welcoming and inclusive to all students.

The honor is a testament to all the efforts the college has made, she said.

There were learning experience during the partnership between Delta College and the Pride Center that highlighted how important collaboration is and Cooper-Wilkins said Hatten and the center were instrumental in showing those on campus how they’re doing and how they can improve.

She said she hopes Delta College can continue to cultivate that partnership and support LGBT+ students.

Also being honored is Dr. Elyas Parsa of San Joaquin General Hospital’s Gender Health Clinic, which opened in 2016, for advocating for local transgender services and the creation of the clinic, according to the Pride Center.

Parsa is an ally who saw the importance of serving transgender individuals, Hatten said. The Pride Center was asking for the county to add more resources for the transgender community when they learned the Gender Health Clinic was opening.

“This clinic fills the gap of services that our community needs,” he said. “The clinic is learning and improving day-to-day and that’s a testament to Dr. Parsa and we’re honoring the whole clinic, too.”

The Pride Center also is honoring Dennis Merrill, who Hatten called one of the center’s strongest supporters.

“He’s one of those quiet giants that does a lot without saying a lot and doesn’t get the recognition they deserve because they’re not seeking the limelight,” Hatten said. “Those individuals are the backbone (of the center) and finally we convinced him that it was time to honor him.”
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New executive director 'inspired' to lead Gay and Lesbian Community Center - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

New executive director 'inspired' to lead Gay and Lesbian Community Center - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper | LGBT Community Centers |

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada this week announced the appointment of John Waldron as its new executive director.

Waldron, the former manager of learning and development at Boyd Gaming, will enter his new role Jan. 22. The appointment comes as part of an “extensive search,” said Joe Oddo Jr., who assumed his role as the president of the center’s board of directors in December.

“It’s more important than ever that we’re actively involved in the community and building strong relationships,” Waldron said. “Even though we’ve made remarkable strides over the years, the current administration is weighing down on us and trying to reverse much of the progress that we’ve made. That’s the role [of the executive director] — to build strong relationships within the community and to really be an advocate for all of the programs that we have going on.”

In the six years that the center has operated out of the Robert L. Forbuss building on Maryland Parkway, it has had five executive directors. Waldron says one of the most frequent questions he received during the hiring process was, “Are you committed?”

“I made the commitment to them that I wasn’t going to be just the next person in the round of revolving executive directors,” Waldron, 54, said. “That I was inspired by what they do.”

“I’ve been out for 30 years now and very comfortable with who I was, but I was never out front in the community,” he continued. “To have this opportunity now at this stage in my life and in my career — to dive into a mission that is so personal to me — means everything to me.”

Waldron is an adjunct professor at the College of Southern Nevada and runs his own leadership development and consulting business. Prior to his role at Boyd Gaming, he was the director of organizational development at Opportunity Village. “I’m very excited to be part of the organization,” he said of the center.

Waldron said the center is “building momentum and reaching out to our corporate partners,” to build relationships and solidify funds for the year. He also plans to use his background in leadership to help develop emerging LGBTQ leaders in Las Vegas.

Oddo said that volunteer hours “skyrocketed” last year. The center also launched a bi-monthly free trans name-change workshop and introduced the Center Advocacy Network, a program that provides people with victim advocacy training so they can help survivors of domestic violence move through crises.

But the nonprofit has also faced a handful of challenges in recent years. In June 2017, it cut operating hours and staff salaries to offset funding issues. Four months later, Bronze Cafe vacated the restaurant space located in the front of the building. Last July, the Little Rainbow Cafe opened and then quietly shuttered.

Former executive director André Wade, who took over in March 2017, resigned last August, and in September, the organization terminated its employment with Blue Montana, the center’s former transgender program manager.

Oddo said that the center was in the “final stages” of filling the transgender program director position. He also emphasized the need for community support and recurring monthly donors.

“The amount we’re asking people to donate is not an exorbitant amount of money,” he said, requesting that supporters of the center make a monthly contribution of $5 to $20, or the equivalent of a Netflix subscription. “If you all signed up for $10 a month, that funds two months of our youth program,” Oddo said.

The executive director announcement is the most significant in a number of new leadership appointments, which were also announced last week.

Brian Hosier, project manager of Penn National, will serve as the board’s vice president; Scott Ramer, general manager of Findlay Honda Henderson, is the board’s new treasurer; and Garrett Pattiani, co-founder and publisher of QLife Media, is the board’s new secretary. Donya Monroe, who served as the interim executive director and was previously treasurer, will return to the board as a member.

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