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Much Is At Stake for Our Community

Written by Raul Daniels on . Posted in News

Dear Community Members and Allies,

Everything The Center fights for is on the ballot this November. As a gay, immigrant father, I know there has never been a more important vote than the one we will cast on November 8. While The Center cannot endorse any candidate, we can encourage our community to get out and VOTE! We owe it to the leaders who have fought and continue to fight for our rights — Harvey Milk, Alan Turning, The Stonewall Rioters, members of ACT UP, the Human Rights Campaign and The Center’s staff and volunteers — to make our voice heard. Our community is loud and proud, and when we all vote, we have the power to affect the results of the election.

So what is at stake?

The Supreme Court — The person who becomes president will not only hold the most powerful job in the world for the next four to eight years, but the decision he or she makes in appointing the next Supreme Court Justices will have a much longer effect on our community. Currently, the court is evenly split at four conservative voting justices and four liberal. So, the next justice to join the court could tilt the balance either way and sway the court’s decisions to cases dealing with marriage equality and non-discrimination protection.

Transgender Rights — Transgender people still experience high levels of violence, discrimination and economic hardships. It is important to elect candidates who will protect and fight for them. Today, transgender people are barely protected by our federal laws and many states do not even recognize them as a protected class. At both the national and local level, there are candidates who support anti-transgender laws such as North Carolina’s HB2, which denies the right to use restrooms that match a person’s gender identity. It is important to support and defend this underrepresented sector of our community.

Discrimination — We need to support candidates who support the Equality Act, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation. Today there are 32 states that do not have clear, fully-inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination laws and there are candidates who strongly oppose the Equality Act arguing that the federal government cannot eliminate state-by-state discrimination.

Marriage Equality — While marriage equality is the law of the land, the new president could appoint justices to the Supreme Court who could potentially overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. If so, each state would once again have the right to uphold or deny marriage equality to their residents.  We have come too far and have fought too hard to reverse this historical ruling.

Our vote will determine what kind of nation we will wake up to on November 9. I urge you to support candidates who support and fight for our community and for The Center’s mission. With over 10 million LGBTQ voters, we have the power to define our country’s future. When you go into the ballot box, vote with your conscience and think of members of our community who are still subjected to discrimination. Think of our trans friends who still experience violence and economic hardships simply because of their gender identity. Think of the rights that could be taken away from us because we did not mobilize and do more to elect people who will truly represent us.  

It has been my absolute honor to serve as President of the Board of Directors of The Center over the last two years, and while The Center continues to grow and consistently serve more and more individuals in our community, now more than ever, we have everything at stake on the ballot. VOTE!

Raul Daniels
President of the Board of Directors of The Center

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Cox Communications Donates $10,000 to The Center to Advance Its Mission

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada is pleased to accept a generous gift of $10,000 from Cox Communications, the area’s leading provider of digital cable television and telecommunications services. Cox Communications, as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, is a long-standing sponsor of The Center. This cash contribution will be used to provide services and programs to advance the well-being of the LGBTQ community.

Michael Dimengo, CEO of The Center, said, “On the wall here at The Center, patrons everyday can see that Cox Communications truly ‘powers our building.’ Indeed, they do! Through the wonders of Cox’s technology, the thousands of patrons who use the David Bohnett CyberCenter (located at The Center) have access to the internet — which opens up new opportunities for them, such as job searches and training. Cox Communications is our technology partner that supports every activity of The Center.”

“We are grateful for their generosity and support, which is truly motivated by a profound respect for diversity that translates into a respect and collaboration with the LGBTQ community. We could not be more grateful for Cox’s corporate partnership.”

In August 2016, Cox Charities Las Vegas, the grant-giving arm of Cox Communications, also awarded The Center with a $5,000 grant for its arts and culture programming. At The Center’s 22nd Annual Honorarium in October 2016, Cox Communications was honored as Corporation of the Year.


Pictured, left to right:
Cox Communications’ Director of Public and Community Relations Stephanie Stallworth
The Center’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Dimengo
The Center’s Development Manager Cory Sadler
Cox Communications’ Manager of Cox Business Inside Retention Sales Joseph Oddo

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How to be a Trans Ally

Written by Blue Montana, Transgender Program Manager on . Posted in News

People often ask me how to be a better ally to the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. The first thing I tell them is try to put yourself in the shoes of a trans or gender non-conforming (GNC) individual. Imagine that the body you were born in is betraying you every day. Imagine the feeling that you were born in the wrong skin. Imagine looking in the mirror every day and seeing the wrong person looking back at you.

That being said, there are some easy solutions to how to be a better ally to us:

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Survey says LGB youth need our protection

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Accelerated action is needed to protect the health and wellbeing of our lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth, according to study results just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Findings from the report, Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12, show that LGB students experience physical and sexual violence and bullying at much higher levels than their straight peers.

The CDC discovered that LGB youth are significantly more likely to report:

  • Being forced to have sex (18% LGB vs. 5% straight)
  • Sexual dating violence (23% LGB vs. 9% straight)
  • Physical dating violence (18% LGB vs. 8% straight)
  • Being bullied at school (34% LGB vs. 19% straight)
  • Being bulled online (28% LGB vs. 14% straight)
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An open letter from LGBT community centers on the Orlando shooting

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Our hearts break for the LGBT community in Orlando and for the families, friends, and loved ones of those who were killed.
 
While we are still learning many facts about the shooting, one thing is clear: this attack targeted LGBT people, particularly the many LGBT Latinx people attending Latin night at the Pulse nightclub. As community center leaders, we see the vast work that remains to eliminate homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, racism, and many other forms of bigotry from our communities; after Sunday, what is visible every day to us has now become clear to all.
 
LGBT bars were the original community centers; they were often the place where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people could be themselves, find support, and meet other like-minded people. For over four decades LGBT community centers have been dedicated to creating safe spaces where people find sanctuary from hostility and find acceptance not available to them elsewhere. Like Pulse, LGBT community centers are places where people gather and build families of love.
 
June marks LGBT Pride Month. LGBT community centers across the country are hosting pride festivals, parades, and events to celebrate our history and the progress that we have made. In times of tragedy the LGBT community has always come together to show its resilience. We see this resilience now as we gather for local vigils, raise funds for the survivors, and renew our commitments to visibly demonstrate the many facets of our community pride.
 
Now more than ever we must raise our voices and be heard.
 
We as the community of LGBT centers denounce any attempts to scapegoat the Muslim community. As with LGBT people, Muslims have experienced hate based violence, stereotyping, and bigotry. We stand with our Muslim friends and allies in calling for an end to this intolerance. We appreciate the outpouring of support from Muslim leaders and are working hard to support the many LGBT Muslims struggling to heal from this tragedy.
 
We as the community of LGBT centers call for our communities, our allies, and our friends to demand action to hold our elected officials accountable for passing laws that limit access to assault weapons. We must make a decision about whether we want to be a country that is content with mass shootings becoming commonplace. LGBT people will always be at risk as long as bigots have easy access to assault weapons.
 
We as the community of LGBT centers demand that politicians and religious leaders stop spewing their hateful rhetoric and justifying their words with ignorance or religious verse. Your words cause harm. We will not stand by quietly when you whisper, shout, or legislate your hate. In response you will hear our shouts of condemnation for your actions, and our shouts of love and support for our LGBT family.
 
We will continue to serve our communities in good times and in bad. We will continue to stand strong. We will continue to build love and acceptance. With the support of our allies and fair-minded people from around the globe, we will win full equality for LGBT people, everywhere and forever.
 
In Pride,
 
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

 

  • Affirmations
  • All Under One Roof
  • Alliance for GLBTQ Youth
  • ALSO Youth
  • BAGLY, Inc. (Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth)
  • Blue Ridge Pride Center
  • Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
  • Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity/Day of Pink
  • CAR- LGBTQ Center in Little Rock 
  • Center Lane
  • Center on Halsted
  • Central Illinois Pride Health Center
  • David Bohnett Foundation
  • DC Center for the LGBT Community 
  • Destination Tomorrow
  • Focus on Awareness and Information Resources of New York (FAIR NY)
  • Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center
  • Hudson Pride Connections Center
  • Identity, Inc.
  • In Our Own Voices
  • Inside/Out Youth Services
  • JASMYN, Inc.
  • Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center
  • Kaleidoscope Youth Center
  • Latino Pride Center, NYC
  • Lesbian Health Initiative (LHI)
  • LGBT Center at Ohio University
  • LGBT Center of Central PA
  • LGBT Center of Raleigh
  • LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
  • LGBT Community Center of the Desert
  • LGBT Detroit
  • LGBT Network (Long Island/Queens)
  • LGBT Visitor Center
  • LGBTQ Center Long Beach
  • LGBTQ Center of Durham
  • LGBTQ Center of the Finger Lakes
  • LGBTQMUNITY Center of Montgomery County Pennsylvania
  • Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY)
  • Long Island LGBT Community Center
  • Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • Marsha Botzer-CenterLink Board Member
  • Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center
  • Metro Wellness & Community Centers
  • Michelle Kristel-CenterLink Board Member
  • Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
  • NEPA Rainbow Alliance
  • North Star LGBT Community Center in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality
  • Oklahomans for Equality 
  • one n ten
  • Our Center
  • Our Space LGBTQ Youth Center
  • Out Boulder County
  • Out Youth
  • OutCenter of Southwest Michigan
  • Outlinc - Lincoln's LGBTQ Community Center
  • OutReach LGBT Community Center
  • OUTright Youth of Catawba Valley
  • Pacific Center for Human Growth
  • Pacific Pride Foundation
  • Paul Moore-CenterLink Board Member
  • Persad Center
  • Phillip Rush Center
  • Phoenix Center
  • Phoenix Pride LGBT Center
  • Polestar LGBT Center of Traverse City
  • Pride Center at Equality Park
  • Pride Center of Staten Island 
  • Pride Center of Vermont
  • Pride Community Services Organization
  • Pridelines, Miami's LGBTQ Center
  • PRISM-Q LGBT & Allies Resource Center in Placer County, CA
  • Proud Haven
  • Q Center of Portland
  • QSpot LGBT Community Center
  • Queens LGBT Center (QCenter)
  • Queens Pride House, NYC
  • RAD Remedy
  • Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County
  • Rainbow Resource Centre
  • Rainbow Serenity
  • Resource Center
  • Rockland County Pride Center
  • ROSMY
  • Ruth Ellis Center
  • Sacramento LGBT Community Center
  • SAGE-Long Island
  • San Diego LGBT Community Center
  • San Francisco LGBT Community Center
  • SMYAL
  • SOURCE LGBT+ Center Visalia, CA
  • Spencer Pride Community Center
  • SunServe
  • The Attic Youth Center
  • The Center Orlando
  • The Center Project in Columbia, Mo
  • The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection
  • The Center-Advancing LGBT Colorado
  • The Community Center, Inc.
  • The Diversity Center: Santa Cruz County
  • The Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada
  • The Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation (@The LGBT Center)
  • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
  • The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads
  • The LOFT LGBT Community Center
  • The Montrose Center
  • The Newark LGBTQ Community Center
  • The Phillip Rush Center
  • The Pride Center of New Jersey
  • The Pride Center of New Jersey
  • The Rhode Island LGBTQ Center
  • The Spahr Center
  • Triangle Community Center
  • Upper Delaware GLBT Center, Inc.
  • Utah Pride Center - Salt Lake City 
  • Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc.
  • Western Montana LGBT Community Center
  • William Way LGBT Community Center
  • Women in Network
  • Youth Outlook
  • Youth Outright WNC, Inc.

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Mayor Goodman’s Statement On Orlando Shooting

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

“On Sunday, I contacted Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando to express our deepest sympathies and support from Las Vegas. In a similar way, I attended the vigil Sunday night in downtown Las Vegas to remember the victims and to support the LGBTQ community. While I have been a longtime supporter of banning assault weapons, the vigil was not the time or the place for political argument or discussion. I wanted to honor those we lost. As we did following September 11, our nation will pull together after this horrendous tragedy, and working with law enforcement, I know hate will never triumph.”

— Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman

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Messages of Support from Local Organizations in Wake of Orlando Tragedy

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

 

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada

Our community [on the morning of June 12] woke up to the sickening and sad news of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We are sickened by the heinous nature of the shooting. We are saddened because we have lost brothers and sisters who are like ourselves.

Our community stands in solidarity with the victims and their families and the entire LGBTQ community. As an act of reverence for their lives, in solidarity, our community is coming together June 12 at 7pm at The Center to mourn the loss of those who have lost their lives and encourage support of those who are fighting for their lives.

This incident also, once again, raises our awareness to the availability and accessibility of guns in our society, especially guns of a semi-automatic nature. We call out to our political leadership to respond to the cries of thousands, perhaps millions of people calling for greater gun control.

Equality Florida, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the victims and families of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Please donate if you are able: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

 

Muslim Council of America Foundation

Muslim Council of America (Nevada Chapter) condemns the heinous act of violence in Florida on LGBT community. Mr. Omar Mateen, the killer, said that he was inspired by ISIS. Our Council wants to make it very clear that not only we condemn his action but also condemns the ideology of ISIS. ISIS are the thugs that have taken the innocent citizens of Iraq and Syria hostage. They have no place in modern society and should be defeated by all diplomatic & military means.

Mr. Mateen, in our opinion, was driven by hate and his action inspired by the worst ideology and should be condemned by all humans regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

We stand together, shoulder to shoulder, with the LGBT community. We pray together for the victims of this senseless murder. Las Vegas LGBT community will always find the local Muslim Community standing next to them may it be in joy or unfortunately, as today, in sorrow.

 

Centerlink: The Community of LGBT Centers

The news of the Orlando shooting at Pulse, a popular LGBT bar, has stunned and saddened all this morning. With news of 50 people dead, and more wounded, June 12 will be forever etched in our communities' history as a day of grief. CenterLink, the community of LGBT Centers, stands with LGBT leadership and our many allies across the country in expressing our deep sadness at this horrific event.
 
The GLBT Community Center of Orlando opened immediately and has therapists onsite offering free grief counseling for community members. People have been streaming in all day to the Center. If locals are interested in helping, representatives have said donations of food and water are welcome. "The National Association of Social Workers Florida has responded directly offering volunteer therapists in Orlando," reports CenterLink Executive Director, Terry Stone, "we are grateful for their support in this time of crisis. We are also grateful for every single mental health provider who publicly lists themselves as LGBT welcoming; our communities will need you."
 
"Tragedies like this have a profound impact across all of our population," says Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink at CenterLink. "My heart is with everyone in Orlando and I am also very concerned about the associative trauma on LGBT people everywhere hearing this news. We urge LGBTQ people across the world today to take care of your own mental health; you may not be close to Orlando but we cannot underestimate the toll events like this take on our lives. If you are an ally, now is the time to stand up and show your support."
 
Many LGBT community centers are opening their doors today to provide support for local community members and allies. "LGBT community centers are the gathering points for people in times of celebration and in times of crisis like today," says Mr. Stone. The Pride Center in Ft. Lauderdale and Equality Florida have already announced vigils. Consult the listings of of local LGBT community centers at lgbtcenters.org or equality organizations at equalityfederation.org for more information about local responses.
 
"As we hold the people in Orlando in the light today, let us also take care of ourselves," concludes Mr. Stone. In the words of Terry DeCarlo, the Executive Director of the GLBT Community Center of Orlando, "We're here."

 

Las Vegas Pride

Dear Family and Friends

Today is a horrific day for the citizens of the United States and particularly the LGBT Community. The act of violence that was carried out in Orlando this morning is the countries worst massacre. On behalf of the Southern Nevada Association of Pride, Inc, we express our sincerest condolences to the victims, family members, friends and those who witnessed this senseless act of violence. May those who lost their lives rest in peace and those injured have a speedy and full recovery.

A time such as this calls for our community to band together more than ever as a family and show our love and support. It is a time to love each other as people and reflect just how dangerous and deadly HATE is, and the results it produces.
We don't yet have all the facts behind the motive and must not focus on speculation, rather focus on being vigilant and if you see something out of the ordinary and your instinct is telling you something is off, please say something to our local or federal authorities. Violence like this must stop and often is stopped by vigilant citizens.

June is the official Pride month designated by President Obama. This weekend alone we have more than a dozen Pride celebrations taking place across the country. Although these celebrations of who we are and the value we bring as a community will be somber as we reflect on our brothers and sisters who lost their lives or were injured last night, we must still come together as one. We must embrace all of our LGBT Community and Allies as one community and continue the conversations about ending the hate against our community and live as one. We must strive to accomplish a life where everyone enjoys full equality.
Our hearts, love and prayers go to the city of Orlando and the victims of last night. We are here and stand with you!

James Healey
President, Las Vegas Pride

 

Masjid Ibrahim

Masjid Ibrahim is an independent local non-profit mosque and religious center open to all members of the community.
 
On June 12, 2016, a horrendous act of terror occurred targeting members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando, FL.  Too often, such acts have involved purported Muslim attackers and more often than not, these same attackers have attempted to justify their horrendous and cowardly actions by invoking faith, the same faith that our late hero Muhammad Ali invoked while refusing to enter into armed conflict.
 
There remains no question that the heinous act committed yesterday was cowardly, pathetic, disgraceful, and the antithesis of what we promote at Masjid Ibrahim.  We maintain active ties to law enforcement and constantly do our utmost to ensure that we promote peace and harmony.  While those adopting radical views are unlikely to ever attend our mosque based on our message of love, we must assert that we stand in full solidarity with the people in Orlando, FL affected by this attack, and absolutely condemn any attack on our LGBTQ brothers and sisters worldwide.

 

Anti-Defamation League

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is shocked and horrified at the heinous attack at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, targeting the LGBT community.
 
The investigation into this attack is still underway and law enforcement authorities have yet to definitively comment on the killer’s motivation. The Anti-Defamation League has contacted the lead investigating agencies to offer our support and resources into investigating the incident, described as terror, and the alleged perpetrator, whom law enforcement has identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Fl.
 
ADL Florida Regional Director Hava L. Holzhauer commented, “We have seen brutal acts of violence and terror take lives from Brussels to South Carolina, and from Tel Aviv now to Orlando.
 
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community should know they do not stand alone. We mourn the victims of this calamity, and offer our deepest condolences to the victims, the wounded, their families, and loved ones.
 
As we have just marked the beginning of Pride month, together as a society we stand resolute that hate shall not diminish the pride of tolerance, the pride of acceptance, and the pride of unity.
 
We also extend our deepest respect and esteem to the Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their valiant efforts to ensure a swift response and putting their lives on the line to save as many people as they could.”

 

Jewish Federation of Las Vegas

The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas stands with you and all others who stand against hatred and bigotry of any kind. Please let me know if there is more that we can do as an organization and Jewish community to assist in your efforts moving forward. Again, we are with you and will continue to pray for a day when we can all live in peace.

 

Congregation P'Nai Tikvah

The words of the Asseret HaDibrot/the Ten Commandments read in synagogues all over the world this morning were particularly meaningful on this Shavuot dayin the shadow of the horrendous terrorist attack this morning in Orlando, Florida.  "Thou shalt not murder" we are told....and yet, once again murder has been perpetrated.  It is the Muslim month of Ramadan, a time when Muslims pray for peace....and yet, once again Islam has been perverted and death and pain has come.  It is a time when the LGBTQ community has been celebrating Gay Pride, around the world...and yet, once again, the unthinkable has targeted the LGBTQ community.  Fifty people are dead; over 50 people are wounded, many critically. Unthinkable!

We in the Jewish community are still reeling from the terrorist attack a few days ago in Tel Aviv...and now this.  We are stunned, grieving, despondent, angry, but we must not succumb to fear or hatred.
 
We pray that there will not be repercussions taken against the Muslim community.  We pray that healing will come to those who were wounded.  We mourn those who were so heinously murdered and pray for their souls and the well-being of their families.  And we beg those in power to finally do something to curb the availability of automatic weaponry.
 
There will be a prayer vigil at 7:00 p.m. this evening at the Center, 401 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89101.  Ordinarily I would neither be on the internet nor traveling on Shavuot...but this is no ordinary Shavuot.  If you can, I invite you to join me at the prayer vigil this evening. Pray for peace. Pray for safety.
 
L'Shalom al kol ha-olam....
Rabbi Yocheved Mintz

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The Community That Works Together, Thrives Together

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO of The Center on . Posted in News

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.

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New Youth Services Manager Foresees Evolution Within QVolution

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

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.

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

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

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.

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Designer Picnic Tables and Baskets Up for Auction Through April 25

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

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 www.thecenterlv.org/picnic, 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 www.thecenterlv.org/picnic 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.

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The Center Brings DIFFA’s Popular Picnic by Design Event to Las Vegas for Second Year at Symphony Park April 30

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

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, themed “Parasols in the Park,” at Symphony Park on Saturday, April 30. Local designers are creating over-the-top picnic baskets and tables to be purchased online at www.thecenterlv.org/picnic and then enjoyed with delicious food and fine wine 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. All proceeds will benefit The Center and DIFFA.

“Our vision was to create a fun event that exudes a casual elegance and celebrates design,” said Cray Bauxmont-Flynn, Picnic By Design Chair. “We were aiming to target a cross-platform demographic of talented individuals and it was important for us to keep ticket costs low and bring in new awareness to DIFFA and The Center. In past events only interior designers and architects have participated — for the picnic, we invited floral designers, graphic designers, culinary masters, event designers and producers, set designers, stylists and photographers to participate, bringing a whole new audience to the event!”

"We are very excited to have such a committed and dynamic group of creative individuals and sponsors on board for Picnic By Design 2016," said Bauxmont-Flynn. “With this group of talented individuals DIFFA and The Center will be able to raise significant funds to provide preventive HIV/AIDS education and direct care services — the fight is not over.”

Along with Bauxmont-Flynn, International Market Centers President and CEO Robert Maricich serves as Honorary Chair. Cory Sadler, a member of The Center’s Associate Board, serves as co-chair. A number of nationally recognized Star-Chefs and name brands have signed on as participants and sponsors of the event.

For more information about Picnic by Design’s mission and ways to support the event, or to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.thecenterlv.org/picnic. Designer picnic baskets that serve two are $300 each, and designer picnic tables that seat and serve eight are $1,500 each. Exclusive celebrity chef tables will also be available. 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.

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Picnic by Design Preview Party

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Are you curious about our second annual Picnic by Design event, coming up on Saturday, April 30 at Symphony Park? If so, please join us at MONA: Museum of Natural Art (4205 W Tompkins Ave., Ste. 4) on Saturday, March 5 for our Picnic by Design Preview Party. Discover the types of designer picnic baskets and tables that will be available to soon purchase online and then enjoy with friends during the main event. Enjoy an open bar and delicious hors d'oeuvres at Saturday's free preview event. Enjoy ample parking at the nearby Rendezvous nightclub and then have a drink with us during the after-party at Las Vegas' newest LGBTQ hotspot. Please RSVP to pbdlasvegas@gmail.com to attend. Ages 21+ only.

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Making Love Last...

Written by Michael G. Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

One of the folks who comes to The Center was musing about the role of CEO. “You’re like the mayor of Gayville!” he quipped. Well, he’s not far from the truth. This job at The Center puts me at the hub and cross section of so much activity and so many peoples’ lives. It truly is a joy and a privilege to be at the service of so many wonderful people.

One of the extraordinary learnings of this role is getting to know so many LGBTQ couples. Despite the pioneering years of the movement, and despite the lack of role models, so many people have partnered for mutual love and respect. Indeed, being partnered is still a wondrous miracle. And, I’ve been so pleased to learn of LGBTQ couples who have been partnered for 10, 20, even 30+ years. In my relationship with Douglas, my partner, we have partnered for 19+ years and I’m still amazed. How do these folks make it all work?

In a recent article that I read about relationships and longevity, Denise Henry, writing about all types of relationships in Lifescript, notes five distinct tips for making love last:

Play together.
I was surprised to learn that early in relationships, romance has a tendency to cause you and your partner to simply “goof off” with one another. Then life abruptly sets in with the maturing of a relationship. Life then has a larger tendency to steal away the fun and spontaneity of relationships. In order for love to last, couples need to plan simple and creative fun activities. It’s the “glue” to relationships according to Henry. It creates a positivity around relationships. It’s common for couples to forget about dating and playful activities with one another. Making time for play makes a lot of sense in a world in which more and more responsibility challenges us with the obligatory and the mundane.

Make an effort to see the best in your partner.
We’re all human beings, and I’m sure each one of us could start a laundry list of the shortcomings of our partner. Henry suggests that instead of stewing over the failures and weaknesses of your partner, why not try to see your partner’s goodness and success? It’s a plain fact: the way that we see one another affects the way we behave toward each other. Seeing your partner’s goodness and seeing the best in your partner breeds a type of reciprocity. They naturally look for your goodness and the best in you when you are accentuating it in them. It contributes to the positivity of your relationship.

Team up for tasks and errands.
I like this tip. Again, this makes a lot of sense. In the busy lives that we live, it’s easy to get caught up in the errands that we have and the limited time that we have to do them. So, our natural instinct is to divide and conquer—assign tasks and errands that your partner can accomplish, while assigning some to yourself. Again, Henry makes a lot of sense by suggesting that we team up for the completion of tasks and errands together. Earlier last year, I attended the vow ceremony of a longstanding gay couple who had been together for nearly 28 years. I remember being taken aback when they both stated that some of their most fulfilling days together in their relationship is when they spend time doing errands together on Saturdays. Rather than do tasks solo, join forces together to get them done. It feeds your relationship with a mutual support and caring.

Kindle the flames.
Is there ever a lack of sex and sexual expression in the LGBTQ community? We are known for a sex-positive movement and sexual creativity abounds in our culture and in our community. Nevertheless, while sexual sparks fly at the beginning of our long term relationships, over the years there is a settling effect and there needs to be a healthy cultivation of sexual expression between long-term couples. I wasn’t aware but many social psychologists cite research that sex is strong early on in long-term relationships due to the release of neurochemicals in the body. It’s easy to keep sex alive and active because of that release. Then, after a period of two years or so, that stage of neurochemicals comes to an end. But sex shouldn’t. Regular date nights and adding new sexual activities compensates for boredom that comes with the familiarity with one another.

And last, did your partner hurt you? Say so.
It’s amazing at times how we might harbor hurt feelings without ever mentioning it to our partner. Then, when there is a flare up, we go right back to that source of hurt and throw it into our partner’s face. They are often surprised to learn of something that has been festering for such a long time. It comes to them like it’s a smack in the face. Research indicates, according to Henry, that when people share true emotions with their partner honestly and without fear of recrimination, they experience calming and bonding effects. Another neuro chemical, oxytocin, kicks in with securing, reassuring, and anxiety-reducing effects. Partners who merely hide their hurt miss out on this important “cement” to their relationship.

So, bring on February and all its Valentine’s Day wonder. Yes, sparks will fly and the frivolity of love and love-making will abound. We’ll certainly get fatter on chocolates. But beyond the Valentine Day experience, hard work and joyful effort take place to make the love of Valentine’s Day work and endure, for many years. Making love work can be a challenge but a joyful work for ones involved. We have plenty of role models to draw from who have been successful in making love work!

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Happy Holidays from The Center

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

I am SO PROUD of The Center. Not a day goes by here at The Center when I’m not told a personal story or two about how significant The Center is to those who come here. The Center is a mighty force in the lives of many. It’s a proud telling because people come up to me, typically, filled with joy and enthusiasm. They are so thankful that The Center exists. They feel that they have a place here. So many call it “home."

That is the leading sentiment behind our starting a new tradition last year and continuing it in 2015. Last year we launched “Home for the Holidays.” It’s meant to reach out, far-and-wide, to our community members, our volunteers, our program participants, our group participants—to come together in one community-wide celebration of the holidays. To make time for one another. To make space for one another. In the frenzy of this holiday season the event is meant to create a “home” with one another.

I remember last year being embraced by one of our youth as I was passing out gift bags. I knew this young lesbian teen to have “strained” relations with her parents and her family members. She often spent many nights in the basement of a friend because of arguments in her own household. She related to me that her parents thought she was simply going through a phase inasmuch as she identified as LGBTQ. With tears in her eyes, she related that she was not fully welcome at home unless she swore to live a straight lifestyle. She couldn’t do that. So, our Center’s holiday celebration was her Christmas. It was her holiday celebration. True to her authentic and courageous self, she came to The Center to celebrate. This is where her true spirit felt “at home.” Home for the holidays took on a different significance for me that day.

That incident as well as so many others underscore for me the importance of The Center for our wider LGBTQ community as well as the community of metro Las Vegas. This is meant to be a place where we can be our authentic selves. And, no matter where you are on the spectrum of self-acceptance and self-expression, we are meant to come together with one another to affirm and support one another on that journey.

How important The Center is! This is the place where people grow in their journey of self-awareness. Whether you are a youth acting on the instinct or suggestion that you might be “different,” whether you are the transgender individual finding a safe place to express oneself, whether you are a senior who is at the latter years of life, who need companionship with “people like me,” or whether you are simply a member of a social group—seeking out other LGBTQ individuals for companionship and friendship, there is a place for all of us here at The Center.

I share that with you because each day, every day, we encounter people from all walks of life and from a variety of expressions. It couldn’t be any richer. And, this place deserves our attention, our vigilance, and dedication to be the place of acceptance that we are meant to be. That is why I am so proud and edified by the numerous donors who came forward on December 1, Giving Tuesday, to make a contribution on behalf of The Center. Seventy donors came forward and contributed more than $5500 on that online giving day. We are so grateful that they realize that every dollar goes toward maintaining this place, our home.

Even more, as we look toward 2016 and a new year, we are cognizant of our end-of year goal of trying to raise the remaining $45,000 that we need to raise to fulfill our 2015 end-of-year goal of supporting salaries of those who do direct client-work with those who come to The Center. It is those hard-earned dollars that will preserve what we are doing and will give us the power to reach out in our unifying mission. It’s through the generosity of others that make this all possible.  Your generosity keeps on giving in the heart and joyful exchange of all who are here.

Thank you for being The Center—full of richness and expression. Thank you for thinking of The Center in your end-of-year generosity. This is the place where people’s lives are touched and changed. You make that all possible. Sitting in the seat that I’m privileged to sit in, one couldn’t be prouder. Happy Holidays to one-and-all! Come celebrate with us!  It doesn’t get any better than at The Center. I promise you, it will be full of self-expression!


Michael Dimengo
CEO

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November Events at The Center

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

November is shaping up to be a busy month at The Center, with back-to-back events that educate, encourage and feed the souls and stomachs of our community.

 

Youth Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 12 • 6 to 9 p.m.

A popular annual tradition at The Center, the QVolution youth program will host a free buffet-style Thanksgiving meal for LGBTQ and allied youth ages 13 to 24 to enjoy with their chosen family and friends. Dozens of home-cooked holiday dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options, are donated from The Center’s supporters, and numerous community members over the age of 24 volunteer their time to host and serve. To donate food or volunteer, sign up at www.volunteersignup.org/TL9QQ.

 

3rd Annual “Getting to Zero!” HIV Summit

Friday, November 13 • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS and healthcare providers are invited to attend the 3rd Annual HIV Summit, covering topics such as co-morbidity, substance abuse, mental health, women, aging and people of color as it relates to an HIV diagnosis. This free event at The Center, sponsored by SNHD and supported by Gilead and Huntridge Family Clinic, includes breakfast and lunch. To RSVP, email jmontgomery@thecenterlv.org or call 702-802-5408.

 

Las Vegas TransPride Week

November 17–22

The Center will serve as the host location for numerous Las Vegas TransPride Week events, including workshops, TransPride Film Festival, Transgender Day of Awareness, Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil and Trans Glam Gala Awards. Center board member Jeremy Wallace, author of the autobiography Taking the Scenic Route to Manhood, will serve as keynote speaker. The full schedule of events is available at www.lasvegastranspride.org.

 

LGBTQ Career Fair

Wednesday, November 18 • 1 to 4 p.m.

The Center will host an LGBTQ Career Fair showcasing numerous local corporations and small businesses eager to share information about their companies and available open positions. Companies present at the career fair have demonstrated ongoing support of the human rights of the LGBTQ community and will provide a welcoming, equal workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. The career fair is free and open to the public. For more information about the LGBTQ Career Fair, please visit www.thecenterlv.org/careerfair.

 

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The Kleins, a Cake and a Chasm

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

You may have seen a recent news story that involved The Center and several other LGBTQ centers throughout southern California. On Thursday, August 20, we received an oversized package from Aaron and Melissa Klein of Portland, Ore. They are the proprietors of Sweet Cakes, a bakery located there. The Kleins became known to many in our community because they were the bakers who declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple who had requested it. They refused based on religious values. As a result of their not accommodating the request, under public accommodation laws in Oregon, the Kleins were subsequently fined $135,000 in damages.

The incident forced the Kleins to close down their business.

On August 20, the Kleins were baking again. Were they baking up a scheme or what? They had sent to The Center a 9-inch cake. It was a cake covered in white fondant with a heart shape in red frosting on the top. Inscribed upon the red heart in white lettering it read, “We really do love you!” Also enclosed with the cake was a DVD of a movie entitled Audacity. Although I have not had time to view the movie, I am told that it is a view of homosexuality from a Christian perspective.

The immediate reaction to the “gift” by the staff at The Center was rather reserved. The cake was brought to my office and we were immediately suspicious. What was the motive of the senders? What was the “catch”? Was this a marketing ploy?

And, admittedly, our suspicions worsened as time went on. Was the cake somehow booby-trapped? What did it mean? Could it have been laced with something to make us sick? Or even something fatal?

In a leap of trust I immediately put aside all the suspicions and volunteered to cut the cake and have the first piece. Others had prohibited me. So, we walked the cake out to the lunch room where Jackson Nightshade, one of our Operations Specialists, was sitting at the table. We asked if they wanted a piece of cake and, of course, they said yes. Who wouldn’t? We explained where the cake was from then cut into the cake. And, not to take advantage of any staff, I ate the first piece. The rest of the staff followed suit and devoured it. Besides getting an afternoon sugar rush, we were all safe.
Several media outlets then contacted us about the cake, the Kleins, and the chasm that lies between us. The Associated Press, New York Daily News, and The Blaze—a Christian publication—all covered the “loving” gesture.

In interviews with the press, I was amazed by the variety of reactions reported by the various LGBTQ centers. One center gave the cake to a homeless shelter. Another posted the question online and asked constituents what it should do. Another center took the cake and put it online on an eBay auction—with the proceeds to go to the homeless youth that they served. I noted as I read through the reactions that our response was rather tame and, admittedly, self-serving. After all, we ate the cake! Maybe our stomachs got the better u
of us for one brief moment.

Yes, it’s just a cake. And, yes, it was just a gesture. But I couldn’t help but see that for what it was—a gesture of extraordinary nature. Here folks who were at polar opposites with our LGBTQ community reached out with a gesture. Here folks who relate with others some of whom use “religious freedom” as a guise for discrimination against our LGBTQ community, they reached out. What are we to think of this? What kind of gesture is this? How sincere is it?

In my view, the gesture signals the work that remains undone. In this extraordinary nation, despite a multitude of differences, we are one country and one people. Out of the many of us, we are meant to be one. That, in essence, is “E Pluribus Unum,” the very basis of diversity that is built into our society as a value. I believe we have a long way to becoming one. And, with all of our hard-fought and hard-earned rights and recognitions as an LGBTQ community, we balk at relinquishing any recognition that we have won. But does it preclude us from sitting across a table with others? Does it even preclude us from sitting across from those who may be our polar opposites—to begin to dialogue and to find common ground?

After the June 26 Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, I had a moment of quiet reflection. What happens now? In that moment of reflection, I believe that now we have to allow this newly-found right and recognition to settle in. It has to soak in like a great rain soaks mother earth. And, I believe we have to take part in that soaking. Ours is a role in which we need to help people to understand.

Just as discrimination has been confronted and has broken down because we are out and we are proud and we are known and not hidden, so we need to be out, proud, and in dialogue with others who might be polar opposite to our LGBTQ community. We aren’t going away. We are a force across the land and in this community of Southern Nevada. What can we do to effect dialogue, even with those who are against us? How can we make ourselves better understood?

Yes, it was a cake that reach across a chasm in a moment of communication. I saw we need to keep the communication open, active, and on the table—with all those in society, including our opponents. Proudly I have seen at The Center that we are an LGBTQ community that serves. It’s time to serve that great American experiment in its evolution each day where we strive to be one among many different persons. It may just be time to dialogue with those who oppose us to see what new learnings can be found. It’s having our cake and eating it too! q

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The Center brings DIFFA's popular Picnic by Design event to Las Vegas at Symphony Park Sept. 12

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

In partnership with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) will host Picnic by Design at Symphony Park on Saturday, Sept. 12. Local designers are creating over-the-top picnic baskets and tables to be purchased online at www.thecenterlv.org/picnic and then enjoyed with delicious food and fine wine in the shadow of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (361 Symphony Park Ave.). Las Vegas Men’s Chorus, Laura Taylor Mulkey and others will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., and a cocktails and dessert party follows at 8 p.m. All proceeds will benefit The Center and DIFFA.

Event chairperson and architect/designer Cray Bauxmont-Flynn says, “Picnicking is a lost art, and what better way to boost the joy of being outdoors than with a picnic under the stars? Something unique about Las Vegas is that our immense local talent always comes together for a purpose and charity. Picnic by Design is an exciting summer event that highlights the phenomenal local design talent that Las Vegas has to offer along with top-rated food and fun for a good cause and redefines the concept of a traditional picnic.”

“The AIDS issue is far from over, and DIFFA continues to create innovative events to raise awareness and much-needed funding,” says Honorary Chairperson Roger Thomas, well-known for designing the interiors of Wynn Las Vegas. “Picnic by Design will bring Las Vegas together to celebrate creativity and community and to support The Center in its programs that directly address HIV/AIDS with education, diagnosis and support.”

The Roger Thomas Collection and Wynn Las Vegas serve as Presenting Sponsors of Picnic by Design. Las Vegas Design Center is a Gold Sponsor. Silver Sponsors are Christopher Guy, Destinations by Design, M+M Creative Studio and Robert Allen. In-kind donors include downtown restaurants Eat and Rock’N’oodles.

For more information about Picnic by Design or to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.thecenterlv.org/picnic. Designer picnic baskets that serve two are $300 each, and designer picnic tables that seat and serve eight are $1,500 each. Dinner will be served from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are also available to attend just the cocktails and dessert portion of the evening, from 8 to 10 p.m., for $75 per person. All guests must be 21 and older.

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The Center Looks Toward the Future

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

This October, The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (known to most simply as The Center) will celebrate 22 years of serving the LGBTQ community of Las Vegas. As one committee of board and staff has been preparing to honor this anniversary at the annual Honorarium event, another has been actively polling the community to compile demographics and learn of current needs and desires. The data collected through three short in-person surveys and one longer online survey is being used to craft a three-year strategic plan for The Center’s expansion of programs and services.

Among those working tirelessly to take The Center to the next level are CEO Michael Dimengo, Director of Operations André Wade and Director of Development Walter Reed, all of whom have joined the staff within the past year and offer a fresh perspective on the organization with new goals and new ideas. Each has been eager to listen to our community and learn what they want and need from The Center.

“There have been key learnings that I have acquired since becoming a part of The Center.,” Dimengo says. “First, I am grateful to have learned the needs and desires of many members of the transgender community. Members of the transgender community are some of the most misunderstood persons. In meeting with many of them and learning their stories, they have commanded my respect. I also believe that the misunderstandings of the transgender community emanate right from others in our LGBTQ community. All of us need to take time to learn about each other. We are part of this rich rainbow of diversity. It is mutual respect and appreciation that binds us together. We need to take time to learn from one another.

“One clear demonstration of this is how a variety of lesbian leaders talked to me about their experiences of primary healthcare and preventive healthcare services. One woman after the next told me discouraging stories of discrimination and disrespect as they encountered medical professionals in the community where they were obtaining assistance. It’s sad. Healthcare for the lesbian community is an acute need. It has motivated me to seek additional resources and do additional planning to address the healthcare needs of our lesbian community first, while addressing the needs of healthcare among our other constituent populations.

“Another key learning for me among the many things that I have learned is centered around our youth. I’m particularly delighted every time I meet with the members of our QVolution youth program or meet with members of our Vegas MPowerment Project. I’m energized by our young people’s energy and ideas. I see so much hope and promise for them. But, at the same time, not until I came here to The Center did I learn about the challenges that these young people are experiencing in the lack of acceptance that some endure, in the bullying that they have to contend with, in the disenfranchisement that many experience from their families and close relatives. Not until I came to The Center did I learn of the gravity of youth homelessness—that LGBTQ youth homelessness is a significant piece of all youth homelessness in our community. Something has to be done to address that.”

As director of operations, Wade oversees the program managers who work closely every day with the hundreds of LGBTQ individuals who attend regular group meetings at The Center. Many come in at other times seeking help with housing, clothing, financial assistance, connection to medical care and often life-saving advice. He has learned through his team the challenges the community faces and the obstacles his own staff have to overcome to adequately serve this population.

“Something I intrinsically knew [prior to joining the staff], but now better understand, is how much The Center means to the community at-large. And that The Center is the ‘go-to’ for all things LGBTQ; therefore, we have to be nimble in our ability to respond to the various and diverse needs of the community. I’ve definitely come to understand that we are a small and mighty bunch who need a few more hours in the day to accomplish more. But we do what we can!” Wade says.

As The Center develops goals and courses of action for the future, Wade says, “We have a lot of great things happening, but we recognize that there are a lot of people in need. We’d like to be able to provide more services in house, and refer out less, so that we can decrease the time frame from referring someone to a particular service to them accessing the service. We believe that moving in the space of health care is one road we may travel down. We’d like to ensure that more LGBTQ (with an emphasis on the T and the L) have access to culturally competent and sensitive healthcare services by us providing those services ourselves. Additionally, we believe addressing the youth homelessness issue by way of a shelter or housing component will position us to serve more people in emergency need, especially when other shelter and/or housing are full or people are unwilling to access particular shelter and/or housing due to lack of LGBTQ competency.

“Additionally, we want to ensure that we can provide well-rounded services such as mental health, those that support economic well-being, family-centered services and services that continuously focus on the needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming population. Lastly, we want to make sure that all of our programs and services are accessible to communities of color. We hope to, through collaboration with others, build programs and services for the African-American, Latin@ and other people of color communities.”

A non-profit organization like The Center — which serves the public six days a week — relies on a variety of grants to sustain its individual programs and, in large part, personal donations both large and small to cover day-to-day operating costs. Reed knows firsthand that raising such funds is an ongoing challenge. His goal is to convert the financial support for the Opening New Doors capital campaign into The Rainbow Circle, a sustaining fundraising program that would support all of the activities of The Center.

“I believe the new three-year plan will identify areas, like the transgender community, that need more services. I think it will also show that to sustain the current and expanding level of services offered at The Center, we must develop new revenue streams around the programs and continue to develop a sustaining gifts program that ensures the stability of The Center,” Reed says.

“We have to be grateful because it was a strategic plan of some of our past leaders that put The Center on the trajectory of opening up its new home and its new building in March 2013,” Dimengo says. “As they did so, I believe one ‘unintended consequence’ was the enormous programmatic growth that we have experienced since opening our doors here. Last year alone, we saw a 62 percent increase in program participants over 2013. For continuity sake, we need to set operational goals that will harness that growth and manage it appropriately. We need to continue to develop our programing in service to the community.”

The Center invites any and all residents of and visitors to Southern Nevada to visit its facility at 401 S. Maryland Pkwy. in downtown Las Vegas and get involved in its ongoing programs and help further its goals. More information about meetings, activities, volunteer opportunities and ways to contribute can be found online at www.thecenterlv.org.

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Pride Comes Alive! (and then some!)

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

I don't think any of us quite expected it. June 26, 7 a.m. here on the West Coast and 10 a.m. on the East Coast. We had been holding our breath for weeks, even months, when we heard that Obergefell vs. Hodges would be heard by The Supreme Court—raising the judicial question whether marriage equality should be recognized throughout the land. Then, at that moment, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its sweeping decision in favor of marriage equality across all 50 states of the union. Our community had been jolted. Life has not been the same!

As many people as I talked to, they described the occurrence as somewhat surreal. Over and over again, pursed on the lips of many peers was, “I never thought I would ever see this day come.” Then suddenly, in an almost incredulous fashion, the decision was handed down. Could there have been a better moment? After decades of struggle, PRIDE came alive in an entirely new way. We as LGBTQ have achieved a new level of societal recognition. We shall not be the same.

The rest of the day seemed like a carnival at The Center. Staff were embracing one another. Everything imaginable with rainbow colors was pulled out of closets. The media whirred with one interview after the next. The sheer joy at The Center was heartfelt. There were tears and laughter, hugs and high-fives, then more tears and laughter. It was hard to identify the moment.

And social media lit up like a rainbow Christmas tree. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other platforms carried one expression of joy and disbelief after another. There were somber moments, reflective moments, patriotic moments, as well as unwavering commitment to move it all forward. Folks related that they felt “recognized.” They felt “American” for once. One message of joy and hope after the next was spread. This uncanny world of social media will never be the same again.

And then, they turned out in the evening—in extraordinary numbers. All came to celebrate. Many came to witness history. They were all present: LGBTQ young and old, in a variety of races and ethnic groups. The sons and daughters of LGBTQ were present. So were allies. It was a family to behold in all its diversity and richness. Many came to remember the past. Others came to savor this moment in history. Still others, so PROUD of what happened to them earlier in the day, vowed to expend their efforts to end other forms of discrimination and separation felt by our community. It was a celebration of community.

Miriam Webster’s dictionary defines pride as “…a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people.” Indeed, in one sweeping judgement, a new respect came to our land. Yes, it won’t quiet the detractors or silence the arguments. It won’t erase bigotry or eliminate all the shadows of discrimination and separation. But it brought us a new light for our nation—a light of inclusion. It brought us new recognition and a new respect for LGBTQ. Upon this platform of victory and hope, we will build even further.

That weekend because of a few health challenges, I was required to lay a little bit low. And throughout the whole weekend, I witnessed the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in one of the most colorful and energetic gay PRIDE weekends all throughout the United States. PRIDE New York celebrated! PRIDE San Francisco. PRIDE Chicago and almost every major city across the nation. This was our moment of recognition. Life in these United States will never be the same. It was a PRIDE moment……and then some!

Michael Dimengo
Chief Executive Officer
mdimengo@thecenterlv.org

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UNLV classes are thriving at The Center

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Soon to enter the third semester, UNLV classes meeting here at The Center have been a huge success among teachers and students both. Check out this video UNLV recently produced to encourage their teachers to consider teaching classes off-campus and out in the community at locations such as  The Center.

 

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Live an "Out & Healthy" Life

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

I do my fair share of reading and keeping up with issues of health and wellness, although probably not enough. In that reading, it never ceases to amaze me how the human body is truly a wondrous miracle. The interrelationship of things like diet and nutrition, exercise, weight management, and rest, and their sum total impact on our well-being are remarkable. Study after scientific study proves this. Almost every adult in our society today is challenged when it comes to preventive health. These basic human factors all need to be kept in check. The resultant effect is homeostasis—that integral human point of balance that is indicative of the miracle of a human being. The human being and its human body is naturally inclined to return to balance and be kept in balance.

Part of our experience as LGBTQIA and the recognition of those cues and experiences in our lives, is that we feel out-of-balance. When we don’t identify with the “rest of the world”, our experience is alienating—making us feel separated. We feel out-of-step or out-of-sorts. When others in our world perpetrate that alienation and separation, we are discriminated against. The worst manifestation of this is hatred. In its simplest form, these experiences are stressors in our human experience as LGBTQIA. And, stress can have its harmful effects.

That’s why talking about LGBTQIA health is not misguided as some might suggest. Uniquely as LGBTQIA we experience stressors unlike others that can impact physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It can happen to us in the most invisible and insidious ways. The more we are made conscious of it and can keep things in balance for ourselves, the healthier we can be as individuals and as a community.

I have been privileged to work with a group of healthcare professionals as well as other leaders from The Center these past few months all in preparation for our June 25-26 wellness conference, “Out & Healthy” (www.lgbtqiawellnes.org). These folks have put together a well-designed program targeted specifically to the healthcare community, also inclusive of many others who care to participate. Attendees will hear about the history of LGBTQIA in Nevada and the response of the community to healthcare. We will hear about some of the barriers to care that have been experienced. Participants will hear about the phenomenon of being “out”. What does it mean? What are its implications for health and how can we be out and healthy on a daily basis? We will be hearing from a panel of presenters who will share with the audience their perspective of being out.

Participants will hear about being out and living with HIV / AIDS. We will hear of healthcare considerations for service to the transgender community. There are workshops on Lesbian health, Hepatitis C, suicide prevention in the LGBTQIA community, as well as learning about HRC’s heathcare equality index. I’m proud to see the emergence of a well-designed and information-rich conference for those who desire to explore. It promises to deliver a lot of information. And, attendees will be delighted and feasted by the healthy and nutritious food supplied by Bronze Café.

Living “Out & Healthy” is a challenge for all of us. I’m proud that this is a healthcare conference that is rather unique, provided by The Center, and designed to instruct us and our wider community about our healthcare. Consider yourself invited to explore and join the dialogue. I can promise you that it will be beneficial. I take delight in learning some new things from those who will be sharing the wisdom of their experience. It can inform all of us of how better we can improve the health and well-being of our LGBTQIA community—truly, living out and healthy!


Michael Dimengo
Chief Executive Officer
mdimengo@thecenterlv.org

 

To register for the
2015 LGBTQIA Wellness Conference: Out & Healthy,
visit www.lgbtqiawellness.org.

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Share Your Tomorrow

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

This past Monday, May 4, a coalition of LGBTQ organizations across the country, including The Center, launched the Our Tomorrow Campaign. This initiative featured in the national press such as The Huffington Post and other media is attempting to drive the LGBTQ community to its website at www.shareourtomorrow.org in which LGBTQ voices will be surveyed and heard. What should be our tomorrow? Where does our community go in what will, hopefully, be a post marriage equality world. What are our hopes and dreams for the future? The Center will be participating in this initiative by programming our Cyber Center computers to point in the direction of this survey.

Closer to home, however, we are endeavoring to do the same thing. This is a strategic planning year for The Center. While we are coming to the conclusion of a three-year plan that began in 2012, our board and staff leadership is planning for the next three years. Where do we go strategically? What are our hopes and dreams?

We don’t take this lightly. It was the strategic plan of 2012 that put The Center on course to find itself and build itself a new home. We would not have the remarkable building, facilities, and programs that we have today at The Center if it was not for the vision of some extraordinary leaders who moved us in this direction.

That is the necessity of a strategic plan. Ideally, we are meant to have a consensus vision as to where we want to go in the next three years. That vision needs to be informed by YOU. We need your voices. We need your views and your opinions. We aim to bring together the voices of our LGBTQ community to decipher where to go as our movement changes so dramatically.

Beginning next week, The Center is launching three separate “walk-in” survey weeks. Anyone who comes into The Center will be surveyed. The results of those surveys will be tallied and used by the Governing Board, the Associate Board and the staff later this year to inform its forward-direction. The first survey is meant to profile those who come to The Center. The second survey is meant to get your views and opinions of our programming. The third survey is meant to survey how best to communicate with you and in what way you would consider supporting the mission of The Center.

In addition to our “walk-in” surveys, we will soon be deploying an online survey in which we are asking any / all to participate. We will be doing one-on-one interviews of key stakeholders in our community. We are planning on a “benchmarking” survey that will be a comparative analysis of The Center and its activities with other like-organizations around the country. We also hope to conduct in July a “World Café”—a listening session in which we hope to get a variety of opinions from our L-G-B-T-Q constituents. It’s our desire to hear from every constituent base of our community.

Will you help us shape our tomorrow? Will you share with us your thoughts, insights, opinions, and guidance as we undertake the weighty task of forging our next three-year strategic plan? Your opinions DO matter! I would encourage you to look for other opportunities as we make these survey instruments available. Share your thoughts and ideas. Our ambition is to serve this community to the best of our ability and resources. It takes a shared vision to do so. And, we won’t have that unless your voice is heard. We want YOUR tomorrow to be OUR tomorrow.

Please feel free to share your ideas with me at mdimengo@thecenterlv.org and look for these other opportunities coming to your INBOX soon!  


Michael Dimengo
Chief Executive Officer
mdimengo@thecenterlv.org

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How fit are you... emotionally?

Written by Michael Dimengo, CEO on . Posted in News

We’re pretty fortunate in Las Vegas. We enjoy weather that is warm and invigorating almost all year round. Take it from this Midwesterner. I am reminded that in many areas of the country, with the passage of Spring, people are looking forward to a healthy and active summer. “Spring has finally sprung in Chicago,” some good friends texted me just the other night from Chicago. Winter and the long season of inclement weather is over. People are looking forward to the invigoration of going outside. We’re motivated to get active, to lose weight in order to get into our bathing suits. There’s a general sense of getting fit and making ourselves fit. It is an annual and cyclic ritual of sorts.

I’m constantly reminded of our ability to be emotionally fit and well balanced. We’re made aware of those challenges in our work at The Center where we have the privilege to serve a wide variety of individuals in our LGBTQ community. As LGBTQ we face extraordinary odds as we live life out and proud. But living in a way that is true to ourselves can sometimes be extraordinarily challenging. We have to stay healthy amid the stresses. And, like those who are gym buddies who rely on the support of one another to pursue fitness and well-being, we need to rely on one another to challenge us to be emotionally fit and strong.

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Social CirKish teaches youth circus skills, self-esteem and so much more

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Starting in the summer of 2014, The Center began offering free circus skills classes to youth 10-19 years of age. Juggling, clowning, high wire, acrobatics, plus performing in a show in front of an audience all for free. The only requirement is that the student commit to showing up twice a week to classes for the entire nine weeks of the course. The program is called Social CirKish and is funded through generous contributions from the John C. Kish Foundation.

Beyond the circus skills, which also impart confidence, self-esteem and discipline, the classes improve etiquette, manners and positive interactions between youth of disparate backgrounds and their instructors. That’s the social part of Social CirKish. Inner city youth, LGBTQ youth, and youth of a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds all come together to train in circus arts and acquire more social skills.

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New Trans* Programs at The Center Strive to Strengthen Relationships

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

When Holly Reese joined The Center’s staff as senior and transgender programs manager in 2014, she had a goal of adding numerous new trans* and gender non-conforming programs and services. Almost immediately, she introduced the hugely successful SWITCH Trans* Clothing Swap and the FLUX support group for youth, facilitated by clinical psychologist Susan Vincent, PhD. These joined the existing Trans.lation, Out of the (Gender) Box and Transmasculine Group meetings to form what is known collectively as the Identi-T* program.

The next new group to be added to the lineup is called T*gether and will launch at The Center on June 3.

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ARTrageous Vegas 2015 is coming to Havana Room inside The New Tropicana Las Vegas

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

On May 16, 7-10pm, local artists and entertainers are invited to showcase their talents at our annual ARTrageous Vegas event, to be held at Havana Room inside The New Tropicana Las Vegas. Painters, sculptors, illustrators and other fine artists may submit two original works to display at this Saturday evening celebration of the arts, while entertainers — vocalists, dancers and more — take to the stage to wow the crowd. Some of the most talented fashion designers from Las Vegas will also showcase their latest designs on the runway. PLUS, we’re welcoming floral art and chocolate/sugar art into the event.

Partygoers at ARTrageous Vegas will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres while enjoying delicious libations from Tropicana’s cocktail artists — open bar during the 6-7pm VIP pre-event; cash bar during the 7-10pm main event.

A panel of knowledgable jurors from the local arts scene will judge the submitted works and choose three winners, to be announced at the event. Many pieces of art on display at ARTrageous Vegas are available for purchase. Each artist generously agrees to donate 50% of the purchase price to The Center.

This event is for ages 21 and above
Admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
A VIP pre-event featuring an open bar and meet-and-greet with the artists is $100 per person.

Tickets are on sale now! Click here to purchase online.

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Bet on your sexual health and win!

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

“Play it smart and practice safer sex. Ante up by using a condom. Double down by knowing yourself and your partner’s HIV status. Bet on THIS Nevada! Because when you bet on your sexual health, you always win!”  That’s the important message being relayed by a recently launched website, mobile app and playing card set.

BetOnThisNV.org offers a wealth of information on the most common sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS testing locations and places to get free condoms throughout Nevada, and tips on condom use, safer oral sex and safer needle use. For those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the website also provides a detailed guide of resources throughout Nevada and helps explain the Ryan White CARE Act programs. A “Living Well with HIV” care binder kit can be downloaded and printed to help positive persons list their doctors, support groups and other resources, keep a log of doctors’ orders and maintain a journal of daily feelings, activities and vital statistics. Numerous safer sex images and memes are also available to download and use on social media.

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STD vs. STI — What the heck is an STI? What’s the difference? Is there one?

Written by Robbie Peraza on . Posted in News

It is no secret that the medical community loves its abbreviations. Abbreviations like SVT just roll off the tongue more naturally than scary-looking words like Supraventricular Tachycardia.

The sexual health and prevention community is no exception. Over the years, we have seen the language evolve to describe those little unwanted gifts we get in the bedroom (often from unwrapped packages!). We have gone from VD (Venereal Disease) to STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).

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Steve Wynn accepts Corporation of the Year honor for Wynn Resorts

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Casino magnate Steve Wynn accepted The Center's Corporation of the Year honor at the 20th Annual Honorarium via the video message below. The Honorarium was held on October 18, 2014 at Drai's Beach Club • Nightclub atop the Cromwell boutique hotel on the Strip.

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The Center Appoints New Director of Operations and Director of Development

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) welcomes André C. Wade as director of operations and Walter Reed as director of development to the executive team.

“We look forward to the passion, energy and leadership André and Walter will bring to our team,” remarked The Center’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Dimengo. “Their respective experience, knowledge and expertise will be integral to our growth as we work to expand the services and programs The Center provides for Southern Nevada.”

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Entrepreneur Mark Curry Donates $10,000 to The Center to Advance its Mission

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Las Vegas, Nov. 5, 2014 -- The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada is pleased to receive a generous gift of $10,000 from Mark Curry, an entrepreneur and founder of MacFarlane Group, which has offices in Las Vegas. The contribution will be used to provide services such as health and wellness and programs to advance the well-being of the LGBTQ community.

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The Center Proudly Announces New Chief Executive Officer

Written by The Center on . Posted in News



Good morning,

Ensuring we continue our progress of strategic growth and significantly increased impact, The Center—Nevada’s premier LGBTQ organization—has appointed a compelling, caring and experienced Chief Executive Officer: Michael Dimengo.

After months of searching, we are proud to say we have found someone who will not only be a great leader for The Center but also for the community at large. Michael's professional aptitude is exactly what we need to fulfill our vision and mission. Michael brings with him a great passion for and decades of non-profit experience to The Center—from exceptional fundraising and strategic planning skills, to knowledge of organizational, economic, and community development, to a passionate commitment to increase The Center's role and impact locally and nationally.

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Tickets on sale now for The Center's 20th Annual Honorarium at Drai's Beach Club • Nightclub

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) presents its 20th Annual Honorarium on Saturday Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. at Drai’s Beach Club • Nightclub inside The Cromwell.

Hosted by TV/radio personality and celebrity interviewer Scott Nevins, this year’s Honorarium will be an extravagant evening of entertainment and recognition of community heroes. Beginning at 5 p.m., guests will mingle through Drai’s Beach Club's tropical paradise while bidding on an array of silent auction items. Perched atop the 11th floor of The Cromwell, guests will take in stunning views of The Strip while enjoying themed cocktails and light bites at Nevada’s premier LGTBQ fundraiser.

At 7 p.m., the event will move inside Drai’s Nightclub's posh, ultra-stylish interior space as The Center recognizes three community leaders and partners for their contributions to the Southern Nevada LGBTQ community and its allies – Diana Bennett, chief executive officer and co-founder of Paragon Gaming (Person of the Year); Fred Keeton, vice president of external affairs and chief diversity officer for Caesars Entertainment Corporation (Ally of the Year); and Wynn Resorts, a company that has earned a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for four consecutive years (Corporation of the Year).

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The Center Names Its 2014 Honors Recipients

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

 The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) names Diana BennettWynn ResortsFred KeetonHRC Las Vegas Steering Committee and David “Bootsy Carmichael” Heckman and Rob Haggard as The Center Honors recipients for 2014.

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Nat'l HIV Testing Day is June 27

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

National HIV Testing Day is Friday, June 27. The annual event is an opportunity for everyone to learn his or her HIV status. The Southern Nevada Health District and its partner, the Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada and the center’s Vegas MPowerment Project encourage all Southern Nevadans to get tested. More than 9,800 Clark County residents have been diagnosed with HIV and/or AIDS. The health district’s Sexual Health Clinic located 400 Shadow Lane, Ste. 106, offers HIV testing and clinical services including case management and referrals. For additional information, contact the clinic at (702) 759-0702, visit www.SNHD.info.

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Iconic Las Vegas Tapestry Displayed at The Center as it Seeks Permanent Home

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

 

One of the most recognizable pieces of art in Southern Nevada, the Las Vegas Tapestry, will gain greater visibility after moving to The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) on May 30. Should the piece sell while on display, a portion of the proceeds will go to The Center. The Las Vegas Tapestry, created by globally known artist Sola Fiedler, depicts Las Vegas of old and new. The Tapestry has made its way to The Center and will serve as a centerpiece for one of the organization’s premier fundraising events of the year, ARTrageous Vegas, which will be held on June 14 and is themed “Artists in Wonderland” for 2014.

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Staff Changes at The Center

Written by The Center on . Posted in News

Dear Friend of The Center,

As of Friday, April 18, 2014, Bob Elkins is no longer an employee of The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.  He served as Chief Executive Officer since September 2013.  We greatly appreciate his time and efforts with the organization and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. The Board is currently engaged in an active search to fill the position.

Additionally, it is with great regret that we announce the resignation of Senior Director of Programs & Partnerships, Mel Goodwin.  Mel will be greatly missed, but we are excited to see what the future holds for them as they relocate to North Carolina. Mel has been a powerful advocate for the LGBTQ community, and we thank Mel for the tremendous contribution that they have made.

With these departures, it is important to note that we have the utmost confidence in The Center’s staff to ensure that all of the organization’s efforts and programs continue uninterrupted.  Their passion and commitment is unmatched, and together we will continue our mission to further the well-being, positive image, and human rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, its allies, and low to moderate income residents in Southern Nevada.

As always, thank you for everything you do for The Center!

Raymond Wilmer
President
Board of Directors