LGBT Centers are critically important hubs for our community

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LGBT Centers are critically important hubs for our community

October 19th is LGBT Center Awareness Day, a day to highlight the impact of LGBT community centers around the world. This day of action is meant to bring awareness to the public about the work that is done in these centers for tens of thousands of LGBT individuals each week.

LGBT centers provide social services, mental health counseling, cultural programs, recreational activities, libraries, educational programs, support groups, youth support, elder support, computer access, and care and treatment.

Often homeless LGBT youth do not have access to services and resources like these beyond LGBT community centers, so they provide a vital function for an underserved population. According to the True Colors Fund, these centers “also act as a place of education to help foster acceptance and prevent young people from experiencing homelessness in the first place.”

Nearly 40% of runaway youth identify as LGBT. The day has passed, but the need still exists, so here are ways that you can make LGBT center awareness occur every day.

How did the Sacramento LGBT Community Center get started?

Just nine years after the Stonewall Riots, the Center originally incorporated in 1978 as a special assistance program. The Lambda Community Fund, known today as the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, is Sacramento’s oldest non-profit, tax-deductible charity specifically serving the needs of the LGBT community.

On July 13, 1984, the Rev. Jerry Falwell appeared on television and denied referring to Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) as vile and satanic and its members “brute beasts” on his Old Time Gospel Hour. Falwell offered $5,000 to anyone who could prove that he had.

The Rev. Jerry Sloan of MCC in Sacramento called Falwell’s toll-free number, purchased a copy of the tape as proof, and demanded the $5,000 payment. When Falwell refused, Sloan sued with legal pioneer Rosemary Metrailer, and won. With cash in hand, the Lambda Community Fund was reorganized.

In 1986, the Lambda Community Center was opened by Sloan and the late Timothy Warford, with the help and guarantees of Terry Sidie, Marghe Covino, Court of the Great Northwest Imperial Empire (CGNIE) Emperor Randy Hartman and others to serve the broader cross-section of the LGBT community.

So how big of an impact do LGBT Centers really have?

•LGBT centers serve more than 40,550 individuals in a typical week and refer over 6,000 individuals to other
agencies for services and assistance.
• In a typical week, LGBT community centers are open to the public for an average of 41 hours.
• LGBT community centers provide important physical and mental health programs to thousands of
LGBT people each year. Centers tailor their programming to their populations: 83% offer programming
tailored to LGBT youth, 88% offer transgender-specific programming.
• Most centers serve as information sources for patrons, providing referrals to local LGBT businesses or
maintaining an in-house library.
• About 74% of centers provide patrons with some type of computer services or programs.
• Nearly all LGBT community centers are independent organizations. The remaining are affiliates or
programs of other organizations, such as statewide advocacy organizations, local community health
groups, churches, or national organizations.
• Most centers serve as information sources for patrons, providing referrals to local LGBT businesses or
maintaining an in-house library.

Are you interested in getting involved with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center?

Check out our services and programs here

Become a volunteer

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By |Blogs, LGBT History|