News

November 28, 2016

Message of Peace & Thanks

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 9:40 am

During this time of thanks, I have been reminded, once again, how precious our community is. In Thanksgiving’s early morning hours, I received a phone call from the Albany Police Department informing me of a shooting incident that occurred at ROCKS nightclub. Four people were shot, one of which died from their injures. The APD assured me that this was not biased related but a personal issue between the people involved. Regardless, an act of violence happened in one of our community spaces and a life was lost in one of our sanctuaries. I am grateful that Peter, Lance, the staff of ROCKS and other patrons were not injured and that everyone is safe. As a testament to their unbreakable spirit, ROCKS will be open today to welcome our community in for Thanksgiving.

This has been a very trying year, with many obstacles and tragedies that have hit us all, especially in the last few weeks. But I would like to give thanks to this amazing community that always comes together to support each other; to the Pride Center staff, Board of Directors and volunteers that continue to serve our people even in the darkest of times; to our fellow LGBTQ-serving organizations for being true partners in goods times and bad; and to you- for being a part of our family and your continued support!

With wishes of gratitude, love, and well-being,
michael

 

 

Michael Weidrich
Executive Director

November 22, 2016

What is #GivingTuesday?

Category: Call to Action,General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 11:24 am
pride center of the capital region, albany, ny, lgbtq, support

Make an Impact Give in support of the Pride Center of the Capital Region

Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

DonatePride Center of the Capital Regionpride center of the capital region

November 14, 2016

Post Presidential Election: Community Resiliency & Strength

Category: Center Support,General,Programs — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 12:28 pm

My fellow community members,

Once again, I come to you with a heavy heart after hearing the news of the candidate that was elected President. This decision was a shocking upset that now has our community numb and afraid. While the future of where our country will go under the new President-elect is unclear , the rhetoric of fear and hate that has spread across the land during this campaign has fueled the fire of homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism and more. Even in our Capital Region, there have been incidences of hate committed in his name.

While today seems dark, we as a community have been though tougher times and have survived. We, as an LGBTQ people, have an amazing resiliency and strength that has been passed from generation to generation and we will be prepared for the days to come. We, as a movement, have been fighting for equality and justice since 1969 and we are not prepared to stop or surrender!

Now more than ever, the Pride Center of the Capital Region will be there as a beacon of light in dark times, a sanctuary for the oppressed, a refuge for the marginalized, a convener of community for support, a catalyst for unity and an advocate for equality and justice. Together, we must stand vigilant and face the challenges to come!

In the spirit of a united community, In Our Own Voices (IOOV) and the Pride Center will continue to create a safe space for LGBTQ individuals to discuss current concerns, questions, and/ or issues surrounding the results of the current election. We have heard our community cries, fears, and doubts.

There is hope! We are continuing to work with our local LGBTQ community, IOOV, and other partners in the fight for social justice partners to formulate ways to move forward and create solutions.  Our programs and services our hear to help support you.We invite you to connect with your community, to discuss your fears and concerns, share your ideas, and unite in the safe space provided at your Pride Center.  Follow us on Facebook for announcements on future community action. Check out our calendar and connect with Center Youth, Family Pride, Men’s Pride, Trans* PrideVintage Pride, or our  Women’s Pride programs. There is hope!

“Please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it.” –Hillary Clinton

Be well and be safe,

Michael Weidrich
Executive Director & CEO

November 11, 2016

Albany County Legislature Introduces Act to Bestow Veteran’s Benefits to LGBT Veterans Discharged During the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Era

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 10:08 am

Albany County Restoration of Honor Act Would Bestow Veteran’s Benefits to LGBT Veterans Discharged During the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Era

 While similar legislation has stalled nationwide and statewide, Albany County is poised to lead the way in the fight for equality for the LGBT Veterans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf

Pride Center

 Albany, NY – On Veteran’s Day 2016, Albany County Legislators Andrew Joyce, Lynne Lekakis, Bryan Clenahan, Raymond Joyce, Allison McLean Lane, Gary Domalewicz, Christopher Higgins, Douglas Bullock and Joanne Cunningham have introduced a measure that would outline a process for any Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Veteran who was discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) to receive Albany County-level Veteran’s Benefits. These benefits include property tax exemption, civil service points and the opportunity to participate in the County’s Return the Favor Program.

“I’ve served side-by-side with LGBT Veterans in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Staten Island during Superstorm Sandy” said Andrew Joyce, the bill’s lead sponsor. “We’ve come a long way in our society towards equality, and it’s time our policies reflected that.”

An estimated 114,000 service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity since World War II, leaving many with tarnished military records and reputations that have unfairly jeopardized their ability to access jobs, scholarships, and vital services. The sponsors of this bill agree that while we wait for Washington, D.C. and the State Legislature to act, it is once incumbent upon Albany County to lead the way.

This legislation will ensure that veterans whose discharged under DADT were less than honorable due solely to their sexual orientation or gender identity are not impeded from receiving County benefits for which they would otherwise be eligible. Any LGBT Veteran who was other-than-honorably discharged from the military are encouraged to provide, in writing, the details surrounding the nature of their discharge, in addition to their DD-214 to the staff at the Albany County Veteran’s Services Bureau. The Bureau would review their case, and based off the information provided, would make a determination on their eligibility.

“The DADT policy was sanctioned discrimination” said Legislator Allison McLean-Lane (D-Menands). “They have fought to preserve our freedoms, including freedom from discrimination. Now, we are obligated to fight for them. I’d like to thank Andrew Joyce for introducing this important legislation, and for his service to our country.”

Download (.pdf) and Share the announcement

February 19, 2016

VOLUNTEER for Capital PRIDE

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 2:30 pm

Pride_2016_Logo_R4 THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INTEREST!

YOU CAN SIGN UP TO HELP TODAY!

OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE VITAL TO MAKING CAPITAL PRIDE HAPPEN. WE APPRECIATE YOU.

List of Open Positions  | Live Sign Up Events

SIGN UP BELOW, IN PERSON DURING PRIDE CENTER GROUPS AND PROGRAMS, AT PRIDE CENTER EVENTS, OR BY CONTACTING JEREMY AT

518-462-6138 or JHOLLON@CAPITALPRIDECENTER.ORG

Please use the form below to sign up today. You can sign up for a single position at the Capital PRIDE Parade and the Capital PRIDE Festival here.  If you would like to sign up for multiple positions during the Capital PRIDE Festival, please send fill out and send a seperate form for each position. THANK YOU!

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Let us know if you have any questions or would like to discuss volunteering in person by contacting Jeremy at 518-462-6138 OR JHOLLON@CAPITALPRIDECENTER.ORG

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

February 8, 2016

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ACTIONS BANNING COVERAGE OF CONVERSION THERAPY

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 11:44 am

State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ACTIONS BANNING COVERAGE OF CONVERSION THERAPY

Multi-agency regulations announced today ban public and private health care insurers from covering the practice in New York State

Governor Cuomo: “We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of comprehensive regulations to prevent the practice of so-called lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender “conversion therapy,” which has been deemed harmful to patients by a wide variety of leading medical and mental health professionals. Multi-agency regulations announced today ban public and private health care insurers from covering the practice in New York State, and also prohibit various mental health facilities across the state from conducting the practice on minors.

“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example. We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are.”

The New York State Department of Financial Services is issuing regulations barring New York insurers from providing coverage for conversion therapy given to an individual under the age of 18. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health is prohibiting coverage of conversion therapy under New York’s Medicaid program and the New York State Office of Mental Health is issuing regulations prohibiting facilities under its jurisdiction from providing conversion therapy treatment to minors.

Conversion therapy – which refers to therapy intended to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity – has been repudiated by many medical and professional organizations, including: the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Counseling Association; the American Psychiatric Association; the American Psychological Association; the American School Counselor Association; the National Association of School Psychologists; and the National Association of Social Workers.

Warren Seigel, MD, FAAP, Chair of the New York State Academy of Pediatrics, said: “Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as all major professional associations of health and mental health practitioners and child and adolescent development specialists in the United State have recognized this fact for nearly 40 years. We are very pleased by the actions announced today to help protect vulnerable gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth from discredited, sham and dangerous interventions. We applaud Governor Cuomo for his bold leadership on this issue.”

Ronald Bunce, Executive Director, LMSW, said: “The National Association of Social Workers – New York State has long condemned the use of “conversion” and/or “reparative” therapies. People seek mental health services for many reasons. Accordingly, it is fair to assume that lesbians and gay men seek therapy for the same reasons that heterosexual people do. However, the increase in media campaigns, often coupled with coercive messages from family and community members, has created an environment in which lesbians and gay men are often pressured to seek reparative or conversion therapies, which cannot and will not change sexual orientation. NASW’s National Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues believes that such treatment potentially leads to severe emotional damage, is contrary to data and should be banned. “

Matthew A. Weissman, MD, MBA, FAAP Chief Medical Officer/VP of Medical Affairs, Community Healthcare Network, said: “As a practicing internist and pediatrician, I welcome the governor’s initiative. All 90 health care providers at Community Healthcare Network, including 14 federally qualified health centers, aim to make all of our patients’ sexual lives healthy and gratifying. All New Yorkers are entitled to a safe, welcoming atmosphere in which to receive their healthcare without any attempt to force change in their sexual identities. “

Peter Meacher MD, Chief Medical Officer, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Family Physician, said: “So called conversion therapy not only doesn’t work but it is extremely dangerous for LGBT people, with adverse outcomes from extreme mental distress and depression up to and including suicide. I have seen these adverse outcomes firsthand. The Governor’s ban of this practice is a tremendous step forward in working toward health equity and justice for LGBT people.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “So-called LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ is extremely harmful to our kids, as virtually all major medical organization have determined, and stands out as one of the biggest consumer frauds in recent history. Being the prime sponsor of legislation to ban this practice and the only openly LGBT member of the State Senate, I am extremely grateful to Governor Cuomo for using his executive authority to cut off state support and protect LGBT children from destructive and discredited sexual orientation change efforts.”

Assembly Member Deborah Glick said: “I am grateful that Governor Cuomo continues to use his office to support the LGBT community. Today, Governor Cuomo will take steps to ban insurance coverage for the discredited and pernicious practice of so called conversion therapy directed at minors. Once again the Governor will take an action to protect LGBT New Yorkers and make New York a safer and more welcoming state for all of us. I am pleased to work with Governor Cuomo, who has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to making New York the Empire State. I hope other leaders across the nation will be inspired to follow Governor Cuomo’s lead. ”

Acting Superintendent of Financial Services Shirin Emami said: “We hope that this action sends a message that widely discredited, harmful, and discriminatory therapies such as this must not be accepted in New York. LGBT conversion therapy can have a long-lasting and deeply scarring effect on children, and should not be part of any legitimate course of medical treatment.”

Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said: “By adhering to the recommendations of major medical organizations and banning these discredited and devastating therapies, New York is safeguarding the health and well-being of our state’s youngest and most vulnerable LGBT citizens. The children of New York deserve to be shielded from this detrimental treatment that is rooted in archaic beliefs.”

Commissioner of Mental Health Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan said: “Homosexuality, bisexuality, or living as transgender, are not mental disorders and they should not be treated as such. With our actions here today, we aim to protect the inalienable right of self-determination for New York youth, reducing the trauma this so-called treatment can produce in the LGBT community, and helping to end the stigma that has been associated with being LGBT for far too long.”

As part of today’s initiative, DFS, DOH, and OMH will take the following actions:

  • DFS Insurance Coverage Ban on Conversion Therapy for Minors. Under new regulations DFS will issue (available here), New York insurers will be barred from providing reimbursement for conversion therapy services provided to an insured under the age of 18 years. In addition, such insurers are advised to inform participating behavioral health providers that conversion therapy should not be provided to minors and that the insurers will not provide reimbursement for such services. Additionally, as part of the insurers’ provider credentialing or application and re-credentialing processes, insurers are advised to require behavioral health providers to certify that they will not provide conversion therapy to minors or seek reimbursement from the insurer for such services.
  • OMH Regulations Prohibiting Conversion Therapy for Minors. Under new regulations OMH will issue (available here), it will be unlawful for any mental health facility licensed, funded or operated by the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide conversion therapy to minors. Failure to comply with these new regulations could result in the revocation of license and/or funding for any entity found to have engaged in these practices.
  • DOH Medicaid Ban on Conversion Therapy Coverage. The New York State Department of Health prohibits (notice available here) Medicaid coverage for conversion therapy, as Medicaid only covers care, services, and supplies necessary to prevent, diagnose, correct, or cure recognized medical conditions. Since there is no medical necessity for conversion therapy and because it has been repudiated and discredited by virtually every relevant medical and professional organization, Medicaid cannot cover it.

Conversion therapy does not include counseling or therapy for an individual seeking to transition or transitioning from one gender to another gender, that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of an individual or the facilitation of an individual’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, provided that the counseling or therapy does not seek to change sexual orientation or gender identity.

December 15, 2015

Pride Center Reacts to Empire State Pride Agenda Closure Announcement

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 9:19 am

The Pride Center of the Capital Region was disappointed to read the Empire State Pride Agenda’s announcement that they will conclude major operations in 2016. For 25 years, the Pride Agenda has been a leader in advocacy and activism for LGBTQ equality and justice in New York State. They have served as the lobbying partner to countless LGBTQ organizations across the state including the Pride Center of the Capital Region and have represented our interests in State Government with passion and conviction. We thank the amazing staff and volunteers whom over the last 25 years that have fought to make New York State a better place for all LGBTQ people.

Despite their efforts, we are saddened that the Pride Agenda will not see the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) through to state law and other legislative initiatives currently being worked on. It is disappointing to the Pride Center and other LGBTQ organizations across the state that have worked together on countless initiatives to be losing this organizing force at this critical juncture with so very much work left to be done.

In spite of this development, the Pride Center of the Capital Region is committed to continuing the fight for equality and justice for all LGBTQ New Yorkers in the Capital Region and across the state, within our capacity and capability. We will not rest until we have secured equal rights and legal protections for every LGBTQ person in New York State.

The Pride Center is the oldest LGBTQ community center in the country, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and representing over 40,000 LGBTQ and allied residents in ten counties of the Capital Region, including Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Columbia, Greene, Warren and Washington counties. The Pride Center has provided life changing and life saving services to the LGBTQ community since 1970.

For more information on the Pride Center, contact Executive Director Michael Weidrich at (518) 462-6138.

October 5, 2015

The Pride Center of the Capital Region Announces New Executive Director !

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 5:12 pm
The Board of Directors of the Pride Center of the Capital Region are pleased to announced that after a five month search, they have appointed Michael Weidrich as the new Executive Director of the Pride Center. Michael brings years of experience to the position both professionally and as a LGBTQ activist. Says Board President Patricia Wood, “In his dedicated service to the Pride Center, Michael Weidrich has demonstrated the leadership, vision and creativity to ensure that the Pride Center will thrive in the coming years. We are delighted to name him our Executive Director effective October 1, 2015.”
Michael has been an LGBTQ activist for nearly 25 years, having started demonstrating and rallying on the campus of Syracuse University, and having participated in the 1993 Million Gay March on Washington DC. Since then, he has participated in events in Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, New York City and Albany, NY. Michael’s affiliation with the Pride Center of the Capital Region began in 2006 when he began volunteering as the Gallery Manager of the Romaine Brooks Gallery and started the monthly “1st Friday” event in Albany to promote the work of the Center. In 2008, Michael joined the Board of Directors and was a part of the rebranding committee that facilitated the Center’s name change from the Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Council to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Since 2012, Michael has served on the staff of the Center, going from being the Finance & Grants Administrator, to Director of Operations, to Deputy Director and since May have been serving as Interim Executive Director.
Michael brings 20 years of business administration experience to his new role, having worked in both the for-profit arena and the not-for-profit community. He has held notable positions such as the Director of Corporate Development at the Albany Institute of History & Art and Executive Director of the Lark Street Business Improvement District. Michael is a recipient of the Business Review’s 40 Under 40 Award, the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Hospitality Excellent Award, the Pride Center of the Capital Region Volunteer of the Year Award, and the Lark Street Business Improvement District Award. He is also a graduate of the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tech Valley program. Michael holds a Masters in Business Administration and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management both from the College of Saint Rose; and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Syracuse University.
The Pride Center is the oldest LGBTQ community center in the country, celebrating its 45thanniversary this year, and representing over 40,000 LGBTQ and allied residents in ten counties of the Capital Region, including Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Columbia, Greene, Warren and Washington counties. The Pride Center has provided life changing and life saving services to the LGBTQ community since 1970.
For more information on the Pride Center, contact Executive Director Michael Weidrich at (518) 462-6138.
The mission of the Pride Center of the Capital Region is to promote the well being of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identified people and those affected by discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

May 17, 2015

Capital PRIDE 2015 Volunteer Shifts

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 1:22 pm

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER FOR A SPECIFIC POSITION YOU CAN SIGN UP IMMEDIATELY BY CALLING OLIVER AT 518-462-6138 OR OPETERS@CAPITALPRIDECENTER.ORG

-OTHER POSITIONS ARE STILL OPEN FOR THE CAPITAL PRIDE PARADE, KICK-OFF PICNIC, VINTAGE PRIDE SAIL ALONG THE HUDSON, FRIEDA’S PRIDE TRIVIA & PRIDE BOWLING

NEEDED FOR THE CAPITAL PRIDE FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY JUNE 13:

 

8 People Needed

Stage Set Up      6:00AM-10:00AM

5 People Needed

Set-Up  6:00AM- 9:00AM

5 People Needed

Banner Installation  7:00AM-10:00AM

2 People Needed

Set-Up Vendor Check-Ins & Signage       7:30AM-11:00AM

19 People Needed

Set-Up  8:00AM – 11:00AM

2 People Needed

Food Vendor Check-In  8:00AM-10:00AM

2 People Needed

Vendor Check-In Support/Guide                              8:30AM – 10:00AM

4 People Needed

Vendor Check-In Support/Guide                              8:30AM – 10:00AM

2 People Needed

Vendor Parking/Enforcement    8:00AM-11:00AM

6 People Needed

Staff Assistance / Floater              10:00AM – 1:00PM

4 People Needed

ID/ Beer Tent     11:30AM – 1:30PM

6 People Needed

Beer Tent Exits/Re-entry              11:30AM – 1:30PM

3 People Needed

Staff Assistance / Floater              1:00PM – 5:00PM

4 People Needed

ID/ Beer Tent     1:30PM – 3:30PM

4 People Needed

Beer Tent Exits/Re-entry              1:30PM – 3:30PM

4 People Needed

ID/ Beer Tent     3:30PM-5:30PM

3 People Needed

Beer Tent Exits     3:30PM-5:30PM

1 People Needed

Litter / Trash Clean-Up  4:00PM – 6:30PM

5 People Needed

Banner Collection               5:00PM – 7:00PM

6 People Needed

Break-Down/Clean-Up      5:00PM – 7:00PM

2 People Needed

Food Vendor Check-out     5:00PM – 7:00PM

8 People Needed

Stage Strike (break down)           5:30PM – 7:00PM

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER FOR A SPECIFIC POSITION YOU CAN SIGN UP IMMEDIATELY BY CALLING OLIVER AT 518-462-6138 OR OPETERS@CAPITALPRIDECENTER.ORG

January 5, 2015

Category: General — Tags: — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 5:00 pm


 

 

sign up
 

October 7, 2014

My2024: Is there a future for the LGBTQ Movement?

Category: General — Tags: , , , , , , — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 1:00 pm

Starting today, and running through October 8, you can participate in My2024, a collaboration of The Arcus Foundation, the Institute for Future and a large number of local & national LGBTQ organizations.

My2024 is a national online conversation imagining what the USA may look like for LGBTQ people ten years into the future.

When you sign up to participate, you are able to share any wishes, fears or hopes you may have for the collective future of the LGBTQ movement.

There’s three ways you can take part in this conversation:

•Register at My2024.us to participate in the October 7-8 event.
•Follow My2024 on Facebook, Twitter @My2024LGBTQ and Instagram @My2024 for news and updates.
•Forward this email to 3 of your friends and share why you’re excited about #My2024

So join the conversation and share your thoughts!

September 24, 2014

Read This: Trans-View #126

Category: General — Tags: , , , , , — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 12:00 pm

Trans-View #126 

By. Moonhawk River Stone

 

“For The Times They are a-Changin’”

                                                             -Bob Dylan (October 1964)…Indeed

 

One of favorite quotes comes from The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin (this book is part of the Earthsea Trilogy). The young hero, Arren, is being taught by the Wizard of Earthsea, Ged, and it goes like this:

Do you see, Arren, how an act is not, as young
men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws,
and it hits or misses, and that’s the end of it. When
that rock is lifted, the earth is lighter; the hand that
bears it heavier. When it is thrown, the circuits of the
stars respond, and where it strikes or falls the
universe is changed. On every act the balance of the
whole depends….We must learn to keep the balance.

This is only a small part of a much longer dialogue where the Wizard urges young Arren to do “only that which you must do and which you
cannot do in any other way.”

I have carried these quotes around with me for over 35 years. They have become part of the foundation for me of how I do the work that is my life–professionally, in activism and in my personal life. Turning to Bob Dylan’s song, now 50 years old and still ever so relevant today, we can see that those actions taken long ago, those actions that were what those early transgender pioneers felt was the only thing to do, have created, perhaps, what will be the most enduring and revolutionary changes about sex and gender we human beings will experience until we’re growing our sex/genders in 3-D printers. No kidding. The emergence of the all things Trans* (new word being used to be ultra inclusive of the umbrella) has done more to revolutionize how we think of sex and gender than any other single event.

In 1975, a group of people, mostly male, mostly crossdressers and , in those days we called such folks transvestites, met in Provincetown, MA, post “the season” for the 1st Fantasia Fair, and yes, there were a few transsexual folks included, too. Back then, Provincetown shuttered itself up for the winter right after Labor Day as the summer people fled back to the cities for the winter. The summer season had very definitive boundaries and P’town was not a year round destination then. Provincetown in 1975 was perceived as a open and welcoming place for diverse folks, and this drove the Fantasia Fair folks’ decision to locate the Fair in P’town. where a much safer environment for differently gendered people to be “out and about” existed and so they were out and about. I took my first “adult” vacation that October 1975 and Unbeknownst to me, I stumbled into the 1st Fantasia Fair while at a tres chic expensive French restaurant. The waiter was all nervous and upset, I remember scurrying around to make apologies for his unusual quests. I was not at all the flummoxed or disdainful guest he thought me to be. I just had this sense of curiosity and comfort. Not consciously then, but at some level I understood that whoever those folks were, I was, too and I was OK with them–and with me, all dressed up in my Sunday best male clothes, I don’t suppose they thought twice about me. I remember being vaguely thrilled, and my extravagant dinner all the more delicious because of them. Re-balancing the whole of sex/gender diversity, changing that part of the Universe became real that first year of Fantasia Fair.

But the rock not thrown that evening was that I did not get up and go over to them and join them introducing myself, though I know in hindsight it would have been OK to do so. What was set in motion that night, was Fantasia Fair took off, and Hawk stayed still a while longer, each action the right one, the necessary one. Now, 40 years later, I go back Provincetown in October 2014 to celebrate Fantasia Fair’s 40th anniversary and have the honor of giving one of the week’s keynote addresses, having come full circle, the balance somehow having been struck, the Equilibrium reestablished. My speech is going to focus on just this column’s theme how differently gendered people have changed the conversation about sex and gender not only in Trans* land, but among all human beings. How that moment where the rock thrown, lands in the ocean and the ripples have reached the farthest shore to only redouble and ripple back yet again and again.

In far off time when history takes measure of this era in America it will note that something changed. The divide between male and female crumbled a bit, and morphed into a continuum that became a garden of delight in which us humans could play. We will note it spurred the larger world to its own imaginings of what lay beyond the strict binary of male and female, though in many places that struggle would be decades or centuries longer than here in America. Dr. Milton Diamond, Ph.D., one of the leading researcher allies to the transgender and intersex communities is oft quoted as saying, “Nature loves diversity. Society does not.” Suppose the rock that was thrown that October evening in 1975 obliterated the second sentence and we are just left with “Nature loves diversity.” I want to be at Fantasia Fair 75 (in 2049) just past 101 to see what ripples then and how the journey unfolded. What new balance will be struck? And will all of us Trans* and cisgender be free to be ourselves and love one another? For one thing we know then as we do now, “For The Times They Are a-Changin’. Until next time…T

 

September 15, 2014

Today Is LGBT Community Center Awareness Day!

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 1:35 pm

In case you don’t know, September 15th (TODAY!) is LGBT Community Center Awareness Day!

Created by CenterLink’s Community of LGBT Centers:

Center Awareness Day is an annual day of awareness promoting the vital services offered by community centers and the central role they play in local communities.

Centers continue to build, unite, and empower the LGBT community by offering  services including; social services, mental health counseling, cultural programs, recreational activities, libraries, educational programs, support groups, youth support, elder support, computer access, and care and treatment (just to name a few).

Visit the CenterLink LGBT Center Awareness Day website for more information and resources!

September 5, 2014

Welcoming Troy Church Receives New Pastor

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 11:30 am

Photo Credit: Mike McMahon — The Troy Record

The First United Presbyterian Church of Troy has received and welcomed The Reverend Gusti Linnea Newquist as pastor to partner with the congregation in its mission of inclusiveness and social justice.

The church, located in downtown Troy at 1915 Fifth Avenue, has long been an advocate for equality, inviting all people of every background, condition, gender orientation and expression into its life and ministry.  (Please see ads in our online edition of CommUNITY.)

Newquist began her pastorate in May and was officially installed into her position in June.  She describes herself as a poet, a preacher, a teacher, and a lover of souls.  She was looking for a church that is committed to social justice, is open and affirming, and seeking creative leadership.  She brings her commitment as a pastor with experience among diverse populations, and a background in a broad range of social ministries and justice advocacy.

Her previous ministries include national church service with the National Network of Presbyterian College Women, and parish ministry in Tucson, AZ and San Antonio, TX.  She completed her Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School.

She is excited to be a part of the Collar City church and has been getting to know this community and its needs.  She is delighted to have found “the perfect match” at First United.

August 5, 2014

VIDEO: Women of Excellence 2014 – Curran Streett

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 10:00 am

Our apologies for being a little late with getting this video up. If you recall, a couple of months back the Pride Center’s Executive Director, Curran Streett was honored with the Excellence in Professions Award at the 2014 Women of Excellence Awards.

The Awards are held by the Women’s Business Council of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber to annually recognize women for progression in their careers, involvement in their communities and accomplishments in their personal and professional lives.

Watch Curran’s acceptance speech below:

July 25, 2014

Pride Center Applauds Cuomo’s Efforts to Improve LGBT Data Collection

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 10:20 am

Albany, NY – The Pride Center of the Capital Region applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that New York State is undertaking a coordinated, multi-agency effort to strengthen data collection for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers. The mission of the Pride Center is serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the Capital Region. Based in Albany, the Pride Center has been meeting the diverse needs of LGBT people in a ten county region since 1970.

Outlined in the first report by the State’s Interagency LGBT Task Force, this statewide effort to include sexual orientation and gender identity information in data collections will allow the state to better tailor services to meet LGBT needs, ultimately improving the health and lives of thousands of New Yorkers. This effort makes New York the first state in the nation to employ a coordinated strategy to develop its data collection procedures for the LGBT community.

The Institute of Medicine in its March 2011 report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, emphasized the need for collection of gender identity and sexual orientation data. Due to current limited data collection, it can be difficult to identify the specific nature of health and other disparities in the LGBT community and formulate effective means of addressing them. New York’s LGBT advocacy organization is proud to partner with these statewide agencies to finally start collecting critical information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers. The information collected will be incredibly useful in identifying and understanding the needs of LGBT New Yorkers, allowing NYS to create more tailored approaches to effectively reduce the well-documented health disparities adversely impacting our community.

Eight state agencies currently collect or are updating their systems to collect LGBT demographic information in their clinical and survey instruments: the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Department of Health, the Office for the Aging, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of Children and Family Services, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The Taskforce is working with all agencies to identify additional appropriate systems to update in 2015, and will ensure agencies are sharing resources and best practices in training and implementing these changes.

“New York State has a long history of advancing progressive ideals, and today we are continuing to lead the nation by identifying new ways to improve services and better meet the needs of the LGBT community,” Governor Cuomo said. “By being more inclusive with how state agencies monitor the demographics of those they serve, we can address health and financial disparities, safety concerns, and a myriad of other issues that impact LGBT New Yorkers. This is another step forward for an important community in New York, and our administration will continue standing up for all New Yorkers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

July 18, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 9:52 am

photoHello folks! After a whirlwind seven months here at The Pride Center, my time as a VISTA is at an end (insert a plethora of sad faces here).

I have faced challenges and overcome them, achieved successes that boosted my self-esteem, met the most kind and generous of people and have grown very fond of all my fabulous co-workers. I have gained invaluable knowledge and found a peace within myself I never knew was there. The overwhelming support of everyone, the smiling faces and the most fantastic events have made living on a volunteer stipend worth it!

During my time at The Pride Center, I have learned a lot of things, but I wanted to share my top three, in no particular order. Here goes…

Number 1: You can never have too many friends. I thought I was all set with the small, but amazing, group of friends I had. About that. I was wrong. I met people who opened up to me, welcomed me with open arms and made my time at 332 Hudson unforgettable. And they are not just friends who say they’re friends (we all know people like this). They are actually friends; people who have shown that they want to help, shown they care and shown their support. Words can not thank them enough.

Number 2: I have learned (or rather, relearned), that a little bit does in fact go a long way. A smile, a kind gesture, calling someone by the correct Preferred Gender Pronouns, offering advice or leaving you alone; all of these things go a long way. All of these are also passed on from one person to the next. You don’t need to smother someone with attention. In fact, I’d prefer that you don’t. But a little bit of this and a little bit of that, can really turn someone’s day around.

Number 3: Failure is an option. Obviously, I don’t walk around hoping to fail and patting myself on the back if I do. That’s absurd. But I used to not accept failure as an option and either stressed myself out at the very thought of it or go to a dark (and scary) place if I did. But I’ve learned that failing at something only makes you want it more. Failing at something is another opportunity. Failing at something gives you a second chance.  And who doesn’t love a second chance? I mean, really. I learned that if I succeeded at everything I did, all the time, and on the first time, I’d never know what it was like to want it. Really, really want it. This past year as a VISTA, I have failed at things I’ve tried, I have failed over and over again and I’ve felt what it feels like to be at the bottom and have to work my way back up. Did I enjoy it? I wouldn’t go that far. But I have a much better appreciation for what it feels like to be on top. When I succeed at something now, I feel a different sense of pride, especially if it took me a few tries to get it right. And I have to admit, it’s a superb feeling. Euphoric even.

In closing,  I leave The Pride Center and the Americorps VISTA Program with a deeper understanding of a lot of things but most importantly, of myself. Thank you to everyone who helped me, supported me, encouraged me, brought me down (because haters gonna hate!) and taught me the lessons I’ll carry with me forever. Each and every one of you will have a special place in my heart.

This is Alison “Ali Fabulous” Horgan, signing off. Bye y’all!

Alison Horgan

Program Development Assistant

Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA

Pride Center of the Capital Region

332 Hudson Avenue

Albany, NY 12210

p: (518) 462-6138 x22

f: (518) 462-2101

e: ahorgan@capitalpridecenter.org

w: www.capitalpridecenter.org

 

 

 

 

July 15, 2014

Pride Center Youth Scholarship Gets a New Name! (Video)

Category: General,Programs — Tags: , , , , , — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 2:30 am

Last Thursday, July 10th, the Pride Center held its annual Youth Scholarship Reception in Selkirk at the gorgeous Hudson River-side home of Tom & Lisa Evans. It was an incredibly successful evening where four remarkable LGBTQ youths were honored with scholarships to assist them with financing their future higher education goals.

 

Congratulations again to the following four scholarship recipients:

Anna Brewer

Taylor Keith

Troy O’Neill

AJ Rio-Glick

We wish them the best of luck with their future endeavors!

 

This year’s reception also marked the occasion of an exciting development for the future of the scholarship program. We are pleased to announce that starting next year, the Pride Center Youth Scholarship will be known as The David, Gladys and Candace Groudine Pride Center Youth Scholarship. 

This re-naming has taken place in honor of the Groudine’s, who have agreed to cover the scholarship cost for two youths in the coming years of the program. The Pride Center is incredibly grateful for this gift and we want to say a huge THANK YOU to the Groudine’s for all their support of the scholarship program and for their amazing generosity.

 

Watch video below of Pride Center Executive Director, Curran Streett, making this exciting announcement last Thursday at the Scholarship Reception:

July 7, 2014

Why should volunteers feel appreciated?

Category: General — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 12:20 pm

During Pride Week I had the honor of organizing the Cruise Along the Hudson event for Vintage Pride Members and friends. As I stood back on the Dutch Apple Cruise to catch my breath and take in the success of months worth of organizing, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for every individual who took the time out of their busy day to help me pull it all together.

I stood back and watched one special volunteer take a break from collecting surveys to dance with a Vintage Pride member. I also caught a glimpse of another fantastic volunteer swapping out an empty tray of food without being asked to and with a huge smile on his face. These are just a couple of examples of how much volunteers do for the Pride Center and for our community, all year round, whenever we need them. From facilitating support groups and chaperoning Alternative Prom to  helping us paint and bake cakes for our parties, we are able to have a much greater impact because of our tireless supporters and volunteers.

If you have dedicated your skills, time and fabulous energy to volunteering for the Pride Center this year, please let us say THANK YOU. We are hosting our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party and BBQ on Saturday, July 19th from 11am-2pm!

Please RSVP on or Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/653418511407234/

OR email Rosy at: rgalvan@capitalpridecenter.org. All RSVPs must be received by July 14th.

On behalf of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, thank you from the very bottom of our rainbow hearts for all you do to help us meet our goals!

Volunteer Appreciation Party!

 

July 2, 2014

The 2014 Pride Center Youth Scholarship Winners & Reception

Category: General,Upcoming Events — Tags: , , , , — Pride Center of the Capital Region @ 12:06 pm

scholarship.jpgThe Pride Center of the Capital Region is pleased to announce the following youth as this year’s recipients of the 2014 Pride Center Youth Scholarship:

 

 

Anna Brewer
The Doane Stuart School

Taylor Keith
Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls

Troy O’Neill
Tech Valley High School

AJ Rio-Glick
Bard College at Simon’s Rock

 

The 2014 Scholarship Reception 

Join us on Thursday, July 10th at the gorgeous home of Tom & Lisa Evans for a special evening honoring these remarkable youths with the 2014 Pride Center Youth Scholarship and help us fund the program for many years to come.

 

If you would like to join us in this celebration, kindly RSVP by July 7th to abogert@capitalpridecenter.org
Or (518) 462-6138
 
Congratulations again to all this year’s scholarship recipients!
Older Posts »