Where can you go when your family rejects you because of your gender or sexual identity? Members of the Louisville, Kentucky area can report to the Louisville Pride Foundation’s new location in the top two floors of the Asian cultural center. There, they will find warmth – particularly the kind they may need the most: that offered by caring community members.
Members of this demographic continue to struggle with discrimination and injustice. However, they now have a new place to access social services and relax in the presence of others who understand. The Louisville Pride Foundation’s new nonprofit community center will become a hub for LGBTQ resources.
What the Louisville Community Center Aims to Do
The new community center has three goals. Its first is to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ community members and their allies. The second is to provide space for meetings and fundraising for their group and others. Their final goal is to help members of the LGBTQ community and other minority communities have better access to health resources like therapy.
The latter is crucial. Many health resources are not as available or fundamentally helpful to LGBTQ individuals, especially if there are any other factors at hand like a language barrier or disability. For example, there’s a relative shortage of Spanish-speaking interpreters to work with individuals who need health services. It’s challenging for people to get the care they need if they don’t speak the language.
Another plus of this community center is providing a healthy place for members of the LGBTQ community to meet and socialize. Otherwise, they may have nowhere else to go other than bars. However, members of this demographic face increased risks of mental disorders, including addiction. Having an alcohol-free safe space for mixing and mingling is a lifeline for many.
Substance abuse isn’t the only risk this population faces. FBI statistics show an increase in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community in recent years. In particular, transgender women of color face the worst dangers.
The center is the first such community center for LGBTQ individuals since CommTEN in the 1980s. It provides residents with a point of reference when they need help.
Creating Safe Spaces in a Sometimes Unwelcoming World
The community center couldn’t come at a better time. Recently, a flood of divisive legislation aimed at transgender youth has swept the nation, making members of this community feel even more nervous about their rights.
Sports have long provided a haven, but many locations have proposed legislation prohibiting transgender youth from playing on the team that conforms with their gender identity. These individuals need the support of teammates the most. Without this network, they may fall into depression or spiral into addiction. The community center will provide a safe and welcoming space for such youth to play.
Access to community resources is likewise more challenging for members of the LGBTQ community. For example, marriage equality has come a long way. However, those who rely on disability benefits to survive may remain unable to marry the person of their choice out of fear of losing the coverage they need.
Even those with private insurance often face battles getting the care they need. Currently, 37 states allow insurance companies to discriminate based on sexual or gender identity.
The struggle doesn’t get easier as these individuals reach their sunset years. Many long-term care facilities discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community – refusing to let them room with their partners, for example.
Those who remain in the workforce still face considerable hurdles. Twenty-nine states allow some form of employment discrimination based on gender and sexual identity. They also face ongoing discrimination in housing – and today’s tough market doesn’t make it any easier.
The community center can help connect those losing their homes or falling behind to resources that may keep a roof over their heads.
Louisville Nonprofit Community Center a Hub for LGBTQ Resources
The Louisville Community Center promises to become a necessary hub for LGBTQ individuals. By providing a home base for finding help, citizens now know where to look when they need assistance.
They also have a safe and welcoming space. The Louisville center and others like it can create a more inclusive world by providing a place to work together.