Blue Ridge Pride Center has spent the past year exploring several potential initiatives to support the LGBTQ community in western North Carolina. We have identified seven.
WNC Virtual LGBTQ Center
In rural communities, LGBTQ people struggle to find connections and resources. Service organizations struggle to reach their audience. The virtual center will function as a clearinghouse for LGBTQ-inclusive services, affinity groups, events, training, perspectives and information.
Welcoming Communities of WNC
Let’s strengthen and support our allies by building networks of welcoming organizations (e.g., welcoming employers; welcoming health care; welcoming schools; welcoming communities of faith). Provide resources and training; encouraging sharing of ideas and resources within each network.
WNC LGBTQ Community Profile & Needs Study
There is so little data on our community. If we want to justify investments like shelters, medical programs, and jobs training, we need supporting data. We are in discussions with area universities and community organizations to launch a comprehensive assessment guided by our community.
WNC LGBTQ Archive & Oral History Project
Document and share the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge. Tell OUR story. Fill the gaps in popular history.
Expanded LGBTQ Drop-in Center in Asheville
A trial partnership with Youth OUTright WNC and Tranzmission has convinced us of the need for safe, inclusive drop-in spaces. It has also taught us that such spaces cannot be run with volunteers alone, nor in 1500 square feet of converted office space. The most marginalized people and support organizations are incapable of creating spaces of their own.
WNC LGBTQ Community & Scholarship Funds
Establish a community fund that makes quarterly grants to area organizations serving our community and that offers stipends to students who advance LGBTQ scholarship in WNC. Funds would ensure transparency, community input, and good stewardship.
WNC LGBTQ Shelter
We have been approached by many who see a need for a shelter that is fully LGBTQ-inclusive. Because of the investment involved, this project would depend on the completion of the LGBTQ Community Profile and Needs Assessment (see above).