I came out at a ripe old age. Scared to death, I circled the block of the Pride Center for a year before I got the nerve to go in the door. When I got there, I found people laughing, happy and secure, all the things I was not. I needed to know that I was OK and that there was a place where I could be me and not be afraid. After coming back time after time, both in curiosity and a need to connect and learn about my new community, I found a peace that I had never had. A sense of belonging. The more I volunteered and went to various meetings and functions, the better I felt about myself. I found a place I fit. The pieces that were so shattered began to mend. I also found the love of my life. For that, I will be forever greatful to the GLSO and the Pride Center. I hope to work there until I cannot. I hope that I can give back at least part of what was given to me. Sincerely, Ginger
The Pride Center is an essential hub of the LGBT community in Lexington. It is the primary source of info about organizations and events. It has and continues to provide resources for a wide range of people and groups including youth, transgender people, and others who may otherwise feel desperately isolated. It provides a physical space for many groups to meet in safety and confidentiality. Some of the folks who have sustained the center over many years are heroes in my mind.
While the GLSO does provide a few services, including a very nice book and video library, its main functions are not very prevalent in the community. As a matter of fact, the facility needs a complete overhaul of strategy and offerings for the gay community. While some have had very pleasant interaction with the facility, I fail to see how and where they got them unless they were part of the clique that makes up the so-called administration of the center. True, many of us need to volunteer or give more money, possibly, but there is enough revenue from a newsletter that is printed in color, but in a poor manner and on cheap paper. Not the quality newsletter a city like Lexington, Kentucky should be publishing. Furthermore, other than Insight and maybe another group there are very for activities for the community. Yes, there’s going to be the 2nd Gay Pride Festival which sounds fantastic – but that alone does not make a GLSO center. And by the way – how was the money spent from last year’s festival and events? The center should also be located in a more central location so that all of the gay community could participate – young and old alike. Being closer downtown would probably draw a larger crowd of UK students and young people from the community. Older adults who frequent the bars and restaurants would also probably pay the center a visit. But to make it viable, it must have quality programs, a friendly staff, and some consistency. As far as I am concerned Insights is the only thing that has been positive for me.
I started dating my first partner when I was 15. We were together for 10 years. Sadly, at the age of 25 I became a widower and a recluse. When my partner died I basically went into hiding for 9 years. I was done with the world until I found the GLSO Pride Center. Everyone I came into contact with there listened to my story with compassion, sincereity and heart. They encouraged me to reconnect with the community and supported me emotionally as I did. Eventually I began volunteering with The GLSO Pride Center and still work with them to this day, 10 years later. One thing I am most proud of is the fact that The GLSO Pride Center makes every attempt to keep their social event prices low so that EVERYONE in the community who wants to attend can.
The Pride Center has become my home. The people here have help find myself after hiding from the world out of fear for so many years. I have learned how to give back through volunteering here, and have met many new while doing so. This organization deserves so much more help than it receives from its community. It has come a long way though from its beginning many years ago.
They created the first downtown high visability pride festival in 2008 and this year promises to be even larger. They have made Lexington Kentucky a warm place for GLBT folks by working hard with other organizations and being THOUGHTFUL about those interactions. This is a very conservative state and Lexington is a beacon of hope now to GLBT people living with a lot of homophobia in the surrounding area.
Although the GLSO Center seems to be very helpful in terms of resources, such as social and support groups; I didn't feel like I fit in well very. By this I am referring to the Insight group, the only gay social and support group that I've had exposure to. I've attended several meetings and felt very isolated. There seemed to be a lack of activities that the group participated other than movies and potlucks in the center. Perhaps topical discussion, games, and outings should be incorporated within this social and support group. A second comment refers to the availability, or rather lack of availability, of social and support groups at the GLSO Center. There seems to be a lack of social and support groups for younger people, particularly younger professionals and college-oriented students. Perhaps I would be more inclined to support the GLSO Center if such a group were available. My last comment refers to the location of the GLSO Center. Though the Waller Street does not seem like a poor location relative to other locations within Lexington, I believe a more central location of the GLSO center should be considered and may even perhaps be beneficial to the gay community in Lexington and within the Bluegrass Region at large. A downtown location, for example, may help increase the visibility of an active gay community within the city of Lexington and its surrounding communities, especially because our city's downtown is very vibrant, active, and a magnet for both residents within the city and residents within surrounding Bluegrass Region.
The GLSO Pride Center, its volunteers and officers have been instrumental in the formation, establishment and growth of the non-profit group, The Rainbow League. The Rainbow League is a GLBT all-inclusive bowling league in Lexington, Kentucky. The GLSO has helped us find and retain new members by including our announcements in their newsletters. They have personally connected me with interested folks in the community and with volunteers who have helped me organize and start the league. Our goal was to begin the 2009 season with 10 teams. We reached it within two weeks of start-up. Without the GLSO, I don't believe we would have been able to bring in so many participants or have created the receptive and large community awareness we now enjoy. Many thanks to the organization and its staff for their hard work, professionalism and dedication. Morgan Fry President The Rainbow League
The GLSO Pride Center is the "hub in the wheel" of LGBT activities in Lexington. It is through Pride Center activities that much of the LGBT community in Lexington (actually in the entire eastern half of Kentucky)stay connected. From the groups they sponsor to the newsletter to their outstanding library built entirely from donations from the community to the 2nd Annual Lexington Pride Festival coming up in a couple of weeks, Board members and volunteers have worked tirelessly for years to make sure that the LGBT community is not invisible in Lexington. The Pride Center staff have been there for me and many others and as the only Pride Center in the State of Kentucky has done an outstanding job of bringing the face of the LGBT community to the front in situations that affect its well-being.