First Ever LGBT Community Center Now In Merced
August 27th , 2014
Written by Jordan Cowman
In October 2011, over a couple dozen residents - students, lawyers, scientists, baristas, and more- joined together for the first ever Merced Full Spectrum (MFS) meeting - a group designed to unify the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups and individuals throughout Merced. Three years later, MFS has over 300 members from every walk of life you could imagine. With the help of Gay Central Valley, The California Endowment, and many more partners, that group has evolved and grown from a coffee shop chat group to a division of a non profit that is ready to open the doors of Merced’s first ever LGBT Community Center.
This center is opening in response to very real need: LGBT individuals (both adults and youths) are statistically far more likely to experience homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and employment discrimination, in addition to the everyday stigma they face. We believe this center is an important step toward improving lives, and in creating a community in which all people feel safe, accepted, and valued in their communities. As President Obama said, “no person in America should be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love.”
In the days since the front page article in the Merced Sun-Star announcing the Grand Opening, we have been overwhelmed by the positivity, enthusiasm, and support of the community. Our online group has grown by more than 20% in the week following the article’s publication. It is our hope that by creating a unique safe space, we can nurture an environment in Merced wherein LGBT individuals will be more comfortable in and passionate about their home town.
Merced Full Spectrum is proud to invite you to the grand opening of Merced’s first ever LGBT Community Center. On Saturday, August 30th, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, we will be opening the doors to the public for the first time. We hope that you will share with us this beautiful moment in our town’s history.
-BHC Merced Hub Staff