The Gay and Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach Essay

The center long beach

This center was started in 1977 as a small coming together of the lesbians and homosexuals commonly known as the gay community. It was then officially put into operation in 1980. It has been offering a variety of services which include legal services, advocacy and lots of social services. These services are available to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They have been available for three long decades now at the Greater Long Beach area. The center has also established an exclusive case management service for strictly homosexuals with HIV and AIDS in Southern Los Angeles County. This is as a result of the AIDS epidemic in 1984. There is also another such facility in Long Beach where all people could go to get information on HIV and even get tested, counselled, health care and other medical services. This is because it was often viewed as a safe haven for all peoples from all walks of life regardless of the person’s background or even their sexual orientation. As a result of many deaths due to AIDS, the center was in 1985 able to purchase a 7500 square foot building that is situated near 4th and Cherry, in Central Long Beach. After renovating it, it was opened in 1986 as the agency’s new home. The “AIDS Walk Long Beach” was held by the agency in 1987 and has been held annually as a separate foundation to this day.

            Currently it serves up to over 21,000 people annually. It also offers a variety of services which include; legal services, youth services, rental and also room referral, referrals for employment, women’s health programmes, educational forums and many more. It continues to spearhead the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activism and advocacy together with the Marriage Equality Project.

            The center’s vision is to see itself as the vital core for the lesbian, gay, transgender and the bisexual community in Greater Long Beach. Furthermore, The Gay and Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach provides services to support, inform and connect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities through programmes of information, education, physical and mental well being, cultural and social activities as well as social justice. Their mission is to advocate for the inclusion of all individuals into a free and just community, without judgement or restriction due to sexual orientation.    The center offers a wide range of services as part of its routine activities. These include being the community’s help desk for referrals. They offer referrals for housing and roommate postings, job postings and also offer assistance with employment. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender library is available and there is usually educational workshops and also speaker’s bureau in the community calendar. Eight state of the art computers for community use are also available providing cyber center services including computer use training and financial planning workshops.

            Health services are also provided. Mental health services which include guidance and counselling. Some of the health services are focused on women health in which there is breast cancer screenings. HIV testing, prevention and support services are offered even to the transgender. In addition, there is legal counselling services and mentoring of the youth through empowering them.

             The center offers a wide range of social and cultural activities. There is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender community film festival which apart from being very popular is also fun. In the fun events bouquet there are also outings, classes, art shows and other cultural seminars as well as educational workshops.

             This center offers social justice services. Issues on marriage and equality are dealt with in that the victims are provided with legal guidelines together with counselling and referrals. Hate crime hotline which is in close and direct co-operation with the Police Department is available. Voter registration and education is also provided to enlighten the community on sound and informed voting as well as judgement of the politicians before voting to be able to make a sound decision when voting. Training and community outreach on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues is diversified to enlighten the community on issues affecting the community and also curb discrimination on sexuality basis.

            Volunteer opportunities are also available at the center. They include youth mentoring program, administrative and accounting duties, mental health professionals to counsel the patients. Computer software teacher and a special events co-ordinator. The volunteers in turn get mentoring by other volunteers, receive training and are able to learn new skills. During this time, they also get to meet new people in the GLBT community and as a result create new friendships and contacts. There is also the annual dinner in which the volunteers get to participate together with all the other activities which include having a lot of fun. These among others are what a volunteer can expect from their experience.

Conclusion

            The long beach center being for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and the transgender community offers this group of people a safe haven from the harsh world of discrimination. There, they have a sense of belonging since they have their own kind to socialise with. The center has developed from a social place into a more comprehensive facility where all sorts of services are offered to people of all sexual orientation. Therefore the long beach center is not only an amenity for the gay, lesbians, bisexual and the transgender but it is also an asset to the surrounding community at large irrespective of their sexuality.

References

Berzon, B. (1988). Permanent partners: Building gay and lesbian relationships. New

York, NY.

Curry, H., Clifford, D. (1991). A legal guide for lesbian and gay couples. Berkeley, CA:

Nolo Press.