|See upcoming events at Center Calendar|
Hundreds Observe Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Center
More than 300 community members joined us on November 18 to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event honored the countless trans lives lost to violence, but also celebrated the strength, resilience and determination of our transgender brothers and sisters. The Center's Gender Identity Project hosted the event, collaborating with several organizations including: Community HealthCare Network, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Callen-Lorde, NYC Anti-Violence Project, SWP Urban Justice Center, HRC, GLAAD and others. Participants marched by candlelight, then gathered inside the Center to hear inspirational speeches from several community leaders including Center Board Member, Stephanie Battaglino, who expressed hope for the future: "Be proud of who you are. Live your truth each and every day without hesitation or reservation and let us work together to transform the Day of Remembrance into a Day of Celebration." The program also included time for audience members to stand up and share their personal stories, while expressing concerns about violence and discrimination against transgender people. Parents, partners and friends joined their transgender loved ones and all walked away with a renewed sense of strength and determination.
Thanks for Being Queer Dinner Provides Youth a Welcoming Holiday Home
The day before Thanksgiving, nearly a hundred young people gathered for the Center's "Thanks for Being Queer Dinner," organized by our Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program. Attendees were treated to a dance routine by YES' dance group, New Agenda, and the Entertainment YES or (EYES) interns performed a moving skit, with several youth acting out scenarios of rejection in their families of origin and expressing their feelings about it. Many youth also got up and said they were thankful for the YES Program for its positive influence on their lives. This dinner celebration allowed the young people a safe space to come together for the Thanksgiving holiday and celebrate with their chosen family in our full community of inclusion.
One young person noted, "If it wasn't for YES, I don't know where I'd be. I used to feel so alone, but now I know I belong."
We are committed to offering these types of events to the young people in our community who often have few role models and opportunities to experience an LGBT inclusive environment. We look forward to providing similar gatherings throughout this holiday season and in 2012.
Center Welcomes Cyndi Lauper and M•A•C AIDS Fund on World AIDS Day
On December 1, World AIDS Day, former Viva Glam Ambassador and M•A•C AIDS Fund spokesperson, Cyndi Lauper, joined M•A•C Cosmetics at the Center for a day of service. Lauper and M•A•C volunteers assembled gift bags with items donated from the New York Liberty, Contesta Rock Hair and MTV Networks, for the LGBT Center youth and spoke to press about the importance of the day. Both Lauper and the M•A•C AIDS Fund are well known for their dedication to raising awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and we thank them for their continued generosity to the Center. Read more about our World AIDS Day activities here: http://www.gaycenter.org/centerblog/2011-12-01-center-observes-world-aids-day/
Center Youth Advocate Against Tobacco Advertising
The Center's Youth Organizing (YO!) interns are speaking out about tobacco marketing that targets young people. They have joined the Manhattan Smoke Free Partnership in its effort to decrease tobacco marketing to youth in stores and window displays near schools. The interns are learning more about how to organize and bring attention to this growing problem. They are traveling around the city, speaking to community boards and participating in awareness events organized by the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. Tobacco use among self-identified LGBT teens in Manhattan is 59 percent compared to 35 percent for straight teens, showing the immense necessity for this activism by Center youth. You can learn more by watching this video from the American Lung Association's "Take a Walk in Our Shoes" Manhattan walking tour. It features Center YO! interns speaking out against tobacco marketing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISwLWC0DFNs