According to a Gallup poll, the Portland metro region is home to the second highest percent of LGBTQ residents of any metropolitan city in the country. 5.5 percent of adult residents in the Portland region identify as LGBTQ. With the growing LGBTQ community in Portland, there emerges a need to provide a safe space where people can connect and feel empowered.
The Q Center is a place that provides a safe space to support members of the community through celebrating diversity, equity, visibility and community building. Founded in 2005, Q Center hosts dozens of groups and events with a wide range of topics and activities on a regular basis. Programs and events are multi-generational and include; discussion groups, education, exercise programs, health and wellness, inter-generational programs, resource and referral information, and social and cultural programs.
The Q Center Arts and Culture program includes: the Aaron Hall Gallery, the Q Center concert series, the Portland Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. The Q Center is also home to a library and private reading space.The library is separated into three sections. Q Center’s Kendall Clawson Library is a resource for anyone interested in reading or studying LGBTQ-relevant literature, using free computers & Wi-Fi or just looking for a quiet respite. Q Center’s Transgender Reference Library is one of the largest collection of trans-specific titles in the state of Oregon. SMYRC’s Bayard Rustin Library contains over 1,000 books, zines, and films. The library is available any time the drop-in center is open for all LGBTQ youth who utilize Q Center’s Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC).
The Health and Wellness programs includes: addiction support and recovery, a safe space for coming out, face-to-face community dialogues, healthy relationships class, inter-personal violence support, late awakenings support group, a support group for disabled LGBTQ, and connections to spiritual support.
The Q Center has a program that helps support disabled members of the LGBTQ community. LGBTQI Disabled strives toward maintaining positive attitudes and making the best out of all situations. The goal is to allow everyone a chance to connect with the larger community of similar people for; discussion, guest speakers, field trips, socials, and a night out.
The Q Center also hosts many programs and events for the Transgender community. Programs and events include: FTM peer support group, Gender Queery, Transgender Women’s Group, Northwest Gender Alliance, Trans-Fem*, and Tranz Guys.
Q Center also provides youth and young adult resources. This includes the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC). SMYRC provides a safe, supervised, harassment-free
There is also an ongoing collaboration between Portland Art Museum and SMYRC that is part of the Object Series. Powerful Self: LGBTQIA2S+ Lives Today is the culmination of a conversational workshop between newly acquainted intergenerational persons from within Pacific Northwest LGBTQIA2S+ communities. LGTBQIA2S+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify. This exhibition began on February 4th and runs until May 28th.
If you’d like to volunteer or learn more about the Q Center contact them here.
This week at Portland Radio Project we featured the Q Center as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. You can listen below to interviews with key members of the organization:
Raina Daniels, Program Manager
Stacey Rice, Executive Co-Director
Susan Kocen, Senior Community Program Manager
Paul Iarrobino, SMYRC Staff