LGBT Center Awareness Day happens each year on October 19th. However, you can spread awareness every day.
October 19th was LGBT Center Awareness Day, a day in observance of LGBT community centers around the world. This national day of action is meant to bring awareness to the public about the work that is done in these centers for thousands of LGBT individuals each week.
This event was created by Centerlink, which was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers.
According to the LGBT Center Awareness Day website, services provided by these centers include social services, mental health counseling, cultural programs, recreational activities, libraries, educational programs, support groups, youth support, elder support, computer access, and care and treatment.
Often homeless LGBT youth do not have access to services and resources like these beyond LGBT community centers, so they provide a vital function for an underserved population. According to the True Colors Fund, these centers “also act as a place of education to help foster acceptance and prevent young people from experiencing homelessness in the first place.”
Nearly 40% of runaway youth identify as LGBT. The day has passed, but the need still exists, so here are ways that you can make LGBT center awareness occur every day.
Know the issues and laws in your state.
Change occurs in society when the electorate is aware of the issues and laws that are being proposed in Congress. LGBT issues have dominated the news this year, but there are other arguments still under debate at the local and national levels. In order to stay informed, Centerlink has created an interactive map that allows you to see “quick and easy summaries of laws that affect LGBT Americans on a state-by-state and issue-by-issue basis.” You can find out about the issues that are prevalent in your area, and then learn how to get involved.
Donate to your local center. Community centers typically operate with funding from the government and private donations. Any kind of financial support from like-minded is appreciated. Your donation can help centers like these continue to offer much needed services to LGBT youth, who may not be able to gain access anywhere else. You can donate by finding your local center through Centerlink’s LGBT Center Directory.
Volunteer. Once you find your local center, and if you would like to do more than just donate, you can donate your time to LGBT youth and groups. Community centers serve many purposes, and need motivated, caring people to assist in delivering services. Offerings include education, healthcare, athletics, access to technology and the internet, senior programs, advocacy, youth and womens’ issues. Consider giving back to your community by donating your time.
Spread awareness. After finding your local center, follow them on social media. You can then encourage your network to do the same. Follow their blog and share meaningful content with like-minded people. Attend events and bring friends. By extending the reach of the center’s message, you can support the essential work they perform.
These simple ways can help make LGBT center awareness occur every day. Consider locating your local LGBT center today.