This month our non-profit heart is “LGBTQ”
LGBTQ is short for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning. This term is used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBTQ community. The use of this term began in the mid to late 1980’s.
The Long Beach Center began in 1977 as living room gatherings to discuss issues important to the LGBTQ community. The center provides a variety of health, social, advocacy, legal and service programs.
As a result of the AIDS epidemic, in 1984, The Center established Project Ahead, the first case management service in Southern Los Angeles County exclusively for those affected by HIV and AIDS. The center in Long Beach was, in many instances, the only safe haven where people of all sexual orientations, genders, ethnic and cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic levels could receive HIV information, testing and counseling, healthcare referrals and other support services.
In 1985, through the bequests of several individuals who died of HIV and AIDS, The Center was able to purchase a 7500 square-foot building located near 4th and Cherry. The building was renovated and opened in 1986 as a new home for the agency.
In 1987, the agency held AIDS Walk Long Beach, which continues today as a separate foundation.
Today the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach serve over 21,000 people a year and includes an array of services including support groups, workshops and seminars, youth services, legal assistance, employment referrals, rental and roommate referrals, hate crimes hotline, mental health counseling, cultural and social activities including QSpeak and educational forums.
They also offer information on HIV prevention and support programs. They have a thriving volunteer program with an active database of over 300 volunteers that supports them.
The Center also provides meeting space for more than 20 community groups each month. They have an art gallery with quarterly rotating art shows featuring local artists, openings, and receptions. Portions of all art sales directly benefit the programs and services offered at the center. Their art and education workshops include watercolor, drawing and painting.
They host a variety of events and fundraisers during the year including “The Gay Men’s Health Summit, Q film festival and the annual “Black and White Bal”l. The Black & White Ball is their signature event and is the place to be seen while out in support of the LGBTQ center and their shared community.
This well ran community non-profit offers so many opportunities, not only the LGBTQ community but our community as a whole. Show your support by donating or and volunteering.
Thank you LGBTQ for allowing “We Heart Long Beach to give you five hearts for helping make our city a place we can be proud of.
For more information visit the website