Welcoming WNC Virtual LGBTQ Community Center

We are launching a series of welcoming directories: groups, community services, health care providers, speakers, companies.

Does Your Group or Organization Roll Out the Welcome Mat?

Join Us!

Community News

Local Businesses Invited to Take Part in September Strength in Pride Art Walk

The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance is partnering with photographer Lauren Merrell and Youth OUTRight to bring local businesses a unique opportunity. They are invited to become a Strength in Pride Art Walk Exhibitor for the month of September. It is a chance to stimulate foot traffic, educate the public, and support a local non-profit that serves LGBTQ youth.

Upcoming Events

Our Vision

Two years ago, we looked at 150 LGBTQ centers around the country.  Most, we realized, were built around a brick-and-mortar community center.  That may work in big cites, but what about rural communities?  LGBTQ people (and other minorities) who live in rural areas suffer a double isolation.  They are isolated by social stigma and by geography.   

Next, we looked around  western North Carolina.  While the news is often dominated by bigots, the fact is, we are brimming with people, businesses, and organizations who strive to be welcoming.  How to bring them to light and give them voice?  How to help our community to find them?  Our community is also home to the highest per capita concentration of non-profits.  How to help them connect to the communities they wish to serve?

  • Community News:  If you have an announcement or news item that you consider worthy of community interest, email the story and picture to vctrnews@blueridgepride.org.   [Note: We will decide what to post.  Contact us if you have questions.  We are new to community-based postings.  As we learn more about community preferences, we will publish more specific guidelines.]
  • Directory Listings: To add a listing, you need simply be logged in.  Register, Confirm your email, and Login.
  • Calendar: You must be approved to make calendar entries.  After logging in, request to be a Contributor.  We reserve the right to approve, edit, and delete calendar submissions.  Please don't spam the calendar with events and activities of little relevance to our community.  There are plenty of other calendars out there!

  • Build Our Welcoming Community.  Our immediate priority is to build our listings.  We want our community to know just how much support and good will there is. 
  • Training. OK, so we aspire to be welcoming and equitable.  But we're not there yet.  That's OK.  It's hard work.  As we build our directories of welcoming speakers, trainers, and resources, we plan to shift attention to getting all you loving people to sharpen your game by securing training, coaching and other tools from our community partners.   
  • More Directories & Services:  In the fall, we plan to launch additional listings: job postings and help wanted; welcoming resources, welcoming workshops.  We also hope to open up some of the tools we use to manage our own organization to other 501c3s in the area (e.g., volunteer openings, event signups, event registration).
  • Welcoming Pages: Our eventual goal is to present the entire virtual center as a portfolio of welcoming pages.  Examples include: Welcoming Schools & Youth, Welcoming Faith & Spirit, Welcoming Work & Commerce.  [You get the idea.]  Every event, news item, and listing is being coded to support these future pages.  

  • Sign Up. Add your welcoming group, company or organization to one of our listings.  
  • Share.  Make liberal use of the share buttons at the top of each page.  Let your friends know.
  • Become a Community Ambassador.  Our immediate priority is to build our listings.  We want our community to know just how much support and good will there is.  We are eager to enlist Community Ambassadors all over western North Carolina, volunteers who can build participation in the virtual center within their county, town, or organization. (Visit our volunteer page and apply.)
  • Donate.  Our goal is to make this service free to the community.  We're starting the venture on a wing and a prayer.  We hope that listers who can afford a donation will do so.  If you can,  kick in even a few dollars and let us know your zip code.
  • Join Our Team.  To make this a reality, we will need writers, graphics artists, and community leaders.  We need volunteer leaders who want to build and manage this center.  Our ultimate vision is to have Welcoming Pages that are curated by members of the community.  Visit our volunteer page.  Look at current openings or let us know of your interests.
  • Give Feedback.  Be Patient.  We have peppered the site with feedback buttons.  Let us know what's confusing or missing.  Give us ideas for future rollouts. But please remember: we are a volunteer-driven organization.  We manage this site around our day jobs! 

Listers must affirm “the right of everyone to live as their authentic self, without fear of discrimination” and that they welcome all who come in good will.  They may list certain restrictions.  However, these must be listed explicitly for everyone to see. [Examples: A bar event might be only for people 21 and over.  A support group might be limited to people with relevant background.]

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Mental Health Providers

Eric Davis  MS, LCPA, NCC, Counselor

Willow Wellness and Recovery, PC 9 All Souls Crescent  Suite B, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 490-4137 | Website I am a firm believer in empowerment and self-determination. In the past, I have worked well with folks experiencing a range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance-use, sleep disturbances, relationship issues, and issues unique to the LGBT community.

Scott Thomas,  Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, LCAS

Silver Lining Therapy 70 Woodfin Place  STE 21, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 705-3084 | Website I believe humor can be a powerful tool for healing and seek to incorporate this into our time together. Unique to my practice is an approach that truly puts you at the center of the counseling experience, and I draw from a wide variety of techniques to help you see and experience real change in your life. To see if therapy might be a good fit, I offer free phone consultations.

James Harrison, PhD Psychologist

12 Westridge Dr , Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 348-6300 | Website I enjoy helping people achieve physical and emotional intimacy whether they are young or old, straight or gay, in healthy, responsible, and mutually affirming ways. I also enjoy helping people improve their earning and manage their assets. And I like working with older people. I offer free phone consultations.

Judy Maris, Counselor, LPC, LCPC, MA, MS

Maris Psychotherapy 41 Clayton St, Suite 301, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 537-4489 | Website We can explore troublesome patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life or look at new issues that have just come up. The important thing is for us to work together to get to the bottom of your difficulties and resolve them. I will assist you in becoming more aware of what you are feeling and thinking in the present moment. The untapped wisdom within you is a powerful healing force. Let me help you gain access to your full inner resources. I offer free phone consultations.

Elizabeth Heaney, Counselor, MA, LPC 

166 E Chestnut Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (520) 447-3319 | Website I work with individual adults with concerns like: family history issues, relationship concerns, life satisfaction issues (related to jobs, living situations or relationships), anxiety and depression. I’ve had a particular focus on working with couples, addressing every aspect of relationship challenges – relationship dissatisfaction/boredom, affairs, sexual/intimacy issues, etc. And I was a civilian counselor on military bases for several years, so I have a clear understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing service members and families. I offer free phone consultations.

Siljoy Maurer

Holistic Perspectives P.O. Box 333, Enka, NC 2872  Phone: (828) 333-0103  | siljoy@me.com or  www.HolisticPerspectives.com For many years now I have been mentoring men and women from all walks of life. It continues to be my greatest joy to accompany someone from “just being ok” into thriving! As a Mentor & Healer I partner with my clients in creating authenticity, wellness and deep contentment, in whatever area of their lives they are seeking change. The combination of giving very practical, livable tools for direct “next steps” while “holding the big picture” and then manifesting that big picture often feels like this: a new client brings me their life or life situation in a jigsaw puzzle box, they lost the lid and forgot what the picture on it looked like. I am good at knowing that picture and then guiding my clients/mentees to put all the puzzle pieces together.