Monday, January 31, 2011

Roanoke LGBT Community Center Planning Meeting, Sat. Feb. 12

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...During my involvement with Roanoke Equality last year, one of the subjects that we often discussed was the idea of opening an LGBT Community Center in Roanoke. Although I'm not working with the activist group any longer, RE founder Frank House has continued to pursue the idea with his customary dogged determination.

Frank has been conducting ongoing community surveys for the last couple of years and the results show that there is a real interest in the Star City to have a centrally located facility where a variety of LGBT community events could take place.

The first survey conducted in 2009, revealed that 90% of respondents said they would like to see an LGBT Community Center in Roanoke. According to the most recent polling results, published at in December, 64.3% of respondents said not only was it a good idea, but they would be interested in helping with the planning of such a center.

Well, Queer Roanoke, here's your chance to put your money, or at least your time, where you mouth is.

Recently Frank and his partner Richard took a road trip to LGBT community centers in Charlotte and Raleigh, NC on a fact finding mission to learn what it would take to make this idea a reality in Roanoke. Frank and Richard visited three different centers and have planned a Community Center Interest Meeting to share their findings with Roanoke's LGBT community.

The meeting is open to the public and is scheduled for Saturday, February 12, from 10am until 12 noon at Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge, 806 Jamison Ave., SE in Roanoke. Check out for more info or the event page on FaceBook.

If you want to get an idea of what an LGBT Community Center might look like and what services might be offered, check out Charlotte's Lesbian and Gay Community Center and The LGBT Center of Raleigh.

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  1. That Frank is such a good guy..... He's a different kind of activist, because he comes from Arizona and the big city he' knows how to push for what he believes. The Roanoke LGBT community is so apathetic they just go through the motions day after day going to work living their lives never really accomplishing included.

  2. Yes, it's been a challenge getting the folks in our local community involved, but Frank doesn't take "no" for an answer. There are some very dedicated members of our community that have been there for us when we needed them. We just need more people to take an active interest in their own future. Bravo to both Frank and Richard!

  3. I want to thank Steve for doing this article. Unfortunately I did not notice it until the end of today. He knows me well, faults and all, and I loved what we were able to do together,regardless...the rally's and workshops and meetings with politicians, and the DC march to. I so respect him for all the great writing he does, for all the news he keeps track of for our educate and stimulate our opinions and perspectives.He is a true activist,untiring and determined in the cause for equality.
    I am so NOT some kind of hero or even someone who knows what they are doing most of the time. Steve can attest to that I fumble along,often unprofessionally, with an occassional 3am lying- awake kind of idea that won't stop nagging me. The community center idea is a 3 am idea, a nagging dream of mine, has been for a few years now. I ask why in the world can't WE have a storefront on Campbell Ave downtown...with our Pride flag hanging over the door...a place from where so much good could happen for us all ? Why can't we make that happen, at least try our best to see it happen, or at the very least to talk about it together?
    Because attendance at so many of my events has been dismal at best, and often embarrassing, I find it very difficult now to have the optimism that enough interest and commitment will be present for this idea to become an actual community action. I am at most the messenger. I do not have the skills, nor the health and energy needed for this endeavor which could take a year or two or more(?). Certainly I will help in any and all ways that I can, should my community wish to pursue this idea further, beyond this initial meeting. I do love my community, and I wish for it to grow. It is as simple as that. Thank you.


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