Feb. 1, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A new LGBT center opened its doors today in Long Island City in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by multiple state and city officials.
The Queens LGBT Community Center, or the Q-Center, is located at 37-18 Northern Blvd., and is part of the larger LGBT Network, a group that started on Long Island 25 years ago. The group serves members of all ages from the LGBT community of Long Island and Queens through their multiple centers, with the Long Island City location as their fourth.
The Q-Center offers programs and services ranging from HIV/STI prevention, senior services, and social get-togethers in a safe space. Other programs include their Safe Schools Initiative, which works to bring anti-bullying workshops to nearby schools, along with training to faculty, staff, and families.
The Q-Center will also provide HIV testing and screening on site beginning in March, and will also help visitors apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Their newest initiatives, however, include combating hate crime in unison with the Queens District Attorney and the NYPD, and a program that supports parents of LGBT people in immigrant communities.
David Kilmnick, president and CEO of the LGBT Network, said these two initiatives are especially significant, given alarming statistics from 2016 that show hate crimes against the LGBT community in New York City have shot up. Many have linked the rise in hate crimes to Trump’s presidency.
“Today the LGBT community is facing challenges we didn’t think we would have to after eight years of progress under the Obama administration,” Kilmnick said. “Our new center is respondent to these challenges in front of us.”
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Long Island City), who is openly gay, spoke to the importance of having a safe space in Long Island City for the LGBT community, and for programs that help young adults, especially in schools, come to terms with their identity, as he had to do as a high school student.
“I stopped going to school for months at a time,” Van Bramer said. “I was afraid that if I spoke in class people would hear my voice and automatically know I was gay. That’s how terrified I was of being who I am today.”
The Q-Center is one of few LGBT-serving groups in the community, including Out Astoria.
The LGBT Network’s has partnered with over 60 schools since its inception, and its variety of programs and services help over 350,000 people a year. For more information on the Q-Center, visit the LGBT Network online.
As for the ridiculous comments: your ignorance is shining through!
“I miss good old days when there were just BOYS and there were GIRLS and nothing in between…”
I’m 75 and I am wondering when were the “good old days?” Are you referring to the time when gay bars were ran by the mafia and the police routinely raided them and arrested patrons without oversight? Maybe, the good old days were when there were no laws that prevented a person to fired simply because an employer ‘suspected’ and employee was gay? Or maybe the good old days were when a young gay man was beaten to death with a hammer in a Jackson Heights school yard. Perhaps the good old days were when the crack epidemic took over the gay community. Perhaps, the good old days was when 3/4 of my social circle died of AIDs and I went to endless funerals and memorial services. The good old days could have been when long time same sex couples built a life together; when one of the couple died their family came in and took everything the couple had worked to achieve. There was a time when there seemed to be just “Boys and Girls” but that was when people were living in an oppressive/repressive society. There has always been wide range of sexuality/expression in the gay community the difference is that now we can all live lives of authenticity. I will happily say ‘goodbye’ to your “good old days” which never, ever existed.
Don’t be a ignorant moron.. You mean the hidden old good days !! 😉
This business of it being Trumps fault that violence against specific groups of people is nonsense and it only serves to divert ones attention from the real source of the hatred: the self. Folks who commit acts of violence against others do so, not because of outside perceptions but because of what they carry within themselves; their own personal failure to recognize the humanity of all people regardless of anything else. I think part of this is due to the very real fact that many in the LGBT community identify themselves by their sexuality first and then their humanity. Sooooo stupid. Our sexuality is not who we are. Our humanity is. Sexuality is just one amongst many characteristics of our humanity but it is not who we are at our core. We are humans first and foremost.
The day folks stop this ridiculousness of using characteristics, such as race, skin color, disability, nationality, sexuality, religion, etc, as the main source of self identification and begin to identify, not as black or white or straight or gay or Chinese or Native American or African or Irish or Muslim or Christian, or whatever, on that day the collective global consciousness will finally step forward into a world without hatred, without violence, with genuine affection and compassion and charity all around.
I know a very large number of folks in LGBTQ community. I do not know a single person from the community who see themselves first based upon their sexuality. Not a single one. Furthermore, what you are proposing is blaming those who have suffered at the hands of the intolerant. Just a ridiculous and uninformed position.
Learn how to read. At no point did I propose to blame the victims! See, it’s this sort of hysterical response devoid of empirical value which distracts from what should be the focus. Also my point has nothing to do with tolerance or a lack of tolerance for those words do not speak to the humanity of a person but to the characteristics of said humanity. Read my statement again and open your mind; escape your built in preconceptions to truly grasp the enormity of my actual proposition.
Gabriel… My company had an event last week to raise money for the LGBT swim team of NYC. The 2 guys raising the money went from desk to desk in nothing but speedos. Why speedos? If a straight guy walked around in a Speedo he would probably get fired. People did not think this was cute, it was unprofessional. The St. Patricks Day parade in NYC banned signs that celebrate sexuality because quite frankly the parade is for St. Patricks Day and not a gay pride parade because there is already a gay pride parade. This kind of behavior reminds me of some marches I have been to where people dress up in costumes. Why? It distracts from the message and only turns off a certain segment of society.
This indicated with great acuity that my commentary regarding LGBT community members identifying as sexual beings rather than human beings is correct. And yours is just one of an endless stream of occurrences which justify what I wrote.
Gabriel-while I can agree with some of what you say, I must beg to differ with you in regards to the increase of violence against minorities (not just in the LGBTQ community) being tRump’s falt. The connection between increased violence to others, xenophobia, is a direct result of tRump given the self loathing folks permission to express their xenophobia. Recall, the speech he made when he announced his intention to run for POTUS. Recall the response he made to the violence in Charlottesville. He if fanning the flames of intolerance. Direct connection, no. Creating an environment that promotes and gives permission to express one’s xenophobia yes.
I completely agree with you Mason. Thank you for articulating this so well.
And congrats to all on the new center!!
* Trump’s Justice Department intervened in a private employment lawsuit arguing that the ban on sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect workers on the basis of their sexual orientation.
* Trumped tweeted to announce a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
* Trump announced that he would nominate Sam Brownback, a vocal opponent of gay rights, to be the nation’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
If you don’t think Trump is partially to blame for the hateful attitudes toward sexual orientation in this country you need to start reading the news.
I miss good old days when there were just BOYS and there were GIRLS and nothing in between…