ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Pride St. Louis, Inc., on Monday, announced plans for the development of a new lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and ally (LGBTQIA+) community center in early 2017.


This will be the city's fourth incarnation of such a center since 1975. The last, the now defunct LGBT Center of St. Louis, was in physical operation from 2008-2014.

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Pride St. Louis is one of the longest running non-profits serving the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community. According to organizers, the announcement follows Pride's commitment to make the organization more community-focused, returning to the “roots” that inspired it almost 40 years ago, a mere decade after the Stonewall Riots.


“Pride St. Louis is devoted to building true solidarity with other community organizations, such as the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC), and St. Louis Black Pride. Restoring old relationships and creating new partnerships is our top priority,” said Landon Brownfield, Secretary of the Board.


Pride St. Louis' expansive offices, located at 3738 Chouteau in the Grove, was decided to be a good location and layout to serve as a community center. Creation of a community library began last month, with over a thousand books on LGBTQIA+, feminist, gender, and race topics being cataloged for the public to loan. A computer lab, in which individuals can apply for jobs and take online classes, will accompany the library as part of the new center. In a collaboration with MTUG, QTPOC, and Black Pride, the organization has planned a Thanksgiving dinner for community members who may be homeless and/or estranged from their families.


These exciting projects are only the beginning of the plans for the community center. Through the creation of a safer place for people in the community, Pride St. Louis hopes to expand their role as a community-based leader. The organization is working to have the center up-and-running by Mon., Jan. 9, 2017, but to do so, much help is needed. Any donations, whether items or a monetary contribution, are tax-deductible.


These efforts by the organization are also reflected in the theme for PrideFest 2017, “Community Proud”. The annual festival, which is the largest free Pride festival in the nation, is only a part of the organization’s work each year. Earlier this year, the organization announced the awarding of more than $21,000 in scholarships to 18 deserving youth.


Interested individuals or groups can join the Community Center Committee, which meets every other Tuesday. The committee can be reached at center "at" pridestl.org with any questions or comments. For updates, visit center.pridestl.org or download the Pride St. Louis mobile app.

 

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