The Community That Works Together, Thrives Together

A few short weeks after I was appointed the CEO of The Center, I was visited by Gary Vrooman of the Lambda Business Association. Gary, a veteran in the LGBTQ community, spoke fondly of the many years that he had been involved in LGBTQ affairs. He was a pioneer of the movement in Southern California.

He came to me with a suggestion. “It is time,” he said, “that we all come together in a larger way to serve the LGBTQ community in Southern Nevada. It is time that we bring all LGBTQ organizations together.” He spoke firsthand of other communities in Southern California promoting a wider and broader collaboration. The gay and lesbian community centers in those areas were the catalyst of that collaboration. They were the hub of that collaboration.

I have never let go of Gary’s vision for a better community here in Southern Nevada. In my perception, the LGBTQ community here is made up of a variety of diverse well-intentioned organizations, serving a variety of needs and providing a variety of services. But in many ways as I soon perceived, many of these organizations did their good work in silos. There was very little cross-communication. I did not see the type of community-building collaboration that Vrooman envisioned. That was a role of The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada since our mission is to serve and advocate for all without exception.

New Youth Services Manager Foresees Evolution Within QVolution

Robert Peraza was no stranger to working with young adults when he was recently promoted to the role of Youth Services Manager at The Center (in his previous role, he co-facilitated the Vegas Mpowerment Project, which focused on 18 to 30-year-old men) but the QVolution youth program, with its younger 13-24 audience, comes with its own challenges and needs. Robert shares his observations of the program’s past and present and his wishes for the future of QVolution.

David R. Parks Lending Library experiences continuous growth thanks to community donations

When The Center moved into its previous home in Commercial Center, a small room was dedicated to establishing an LGBTQ-focused library in Las Vegas, named in honor of openly gay State Senator David R. Parks. The shelves were soon stocked full of books generously donated from our community. After The Center moved downtown in 2013 and became more visible, the number of books donated each month steadily increased. Located in The Center’s spacious MGM Resorts International Great Room, the library shelves are now full of nearly 5,000 paperbacks and hardbacks as well as hundreds of DVDs. The David R. Parks Lending Library is a little-known treasure that covers every corner of our LGBTQ community.

Mama Dragon Story Project Comes to The Center May 23

The community is invited to join us next Monday evening, May 23 at 6:30 p.m., to hear the Mama Dragons tell their stories of love and acceptance for their LGBT+ children.

About the Mama Dragon Story Project:  Twenty women, many with LDS or Mormon ties, share essays of love and support to their LGBT+ children. Portraits of each mother show her fiery resolve as each of them bears the title of Mama Dragon. Loving our LGBT+ children within a strict religious environment poses some challenges. Reconciling those challenges and moving forward in peace is the focus of this book. Showing mothers, and other allies, that they can wrestle with these challenges, soften attitudes in homes and openly accept their LGBT+ child is the reason for these essays and portraits.

All are welcome to come and be affirmed regardless of category, creed or belief.

Designer Picnic Tables and Baskets Up for Auction Through April 25

In partnership with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) will host the second annual Picnic by Design fundraising event, themed “Parasols in the Park,” at Symphony Park on Saturday, April 30. Fifty-six local designers have created over-the-top picnic baskets and tables currently being auctioned at, which will then be enjoyed with a gourmet style buffet picnic dinner in the shadow of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (361 Symphony Park Ave.).
Songstress Toscha Comeaux, Gary Fowler, Rick Arroyo and male quartet These Guys will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. Lawn games and a VIP cocktail hour begin at 4:30 p.m. with the buffet-style dinner and live entertainment to follow at 5:30 p.m. Catering is provided by downtown restaurants Chow and Rock’N’oodles as well as Palms Casino Resort favorite N9NE Steakhouse.
“Since DIFFA directly targets the design community, Picnic by Design is a chance for us to show how we can use our craft and creative problem-solving abilities to bring awareness to the cause of HIV/AIDS education. DIFFA's events all celebrate design and create an opportunity for us to focus on the positive side of fundraising," said Executive Chair Cray Bauxmont-Flynn.
“It is important for the design community to support one another and come together. DIFFA provides this outlet and allows us to also support an important local organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS outreach and testing,” said Co-Chair Cory Sadler. “Because of the generosity of our sponsors, almost all proceeds will go to The Center and DIFFA to support their work.”
Gold Sponsors for the 2016 Picnic by Design event are Wynn Las Vegas, The Roger Thomas Collection and Las Vegas Design Center. Additional top sponsors include Christopher Guy, JBA Consulting Engineers, Robert Allen, Elan Collections, Shawmut Design and Construction, The Ascot Group and Forma Design & Architecture. Along with Bauxmont-Flynn and Sadler, International Market Centers President and CEO Robert Maricich serves as Honorary Chair.
To purchase baskets, tables or tickets to Picnic by Design, please visit no later than midnight on Sunday, April 25. Picnic baskets that serve two are being auctioned starting at $300 each, and picnic tables that seat and serve eight start at $1,500 each. Exclusive VIP chef tables are also available for purchase. For $125 per person, guests may also enjoy the dinner and activities without purchasing a basket or table. All guests must be 21 and older.