The LGBT Center of Orlando has been providing a safe place and services to the LGBT community for 40 years this year, one of the oldest such centers in the U.S. The Center marked the occasion with a gala and concert by Martha Wash on Nov. 3. The event also featured VarieTEASE, Gidget Galore, Orlando Gay Chorus, and emcee Jorge Estevez.
From a storefront location in the Mills50 District near downtown, (946 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803) the Center provides counseling, testing and a meeting place for support groups. The rainbow flag in front of the Center has been a fixture in the community for decades.
The Center was on the front lines of the community response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 12, 2016, when 49 people died. It served as a hub for people sharing grief and resources, and a new exhibit at the renovated center features artwork dedicated to the victims.
“It’s going to be a long time before the community heals, but we are committed to that,” said George Wallace, director of the center, in an interview. “As time goes by, we want to make sure the victims are never forgotten.”
The Center expanded its counseling services after Pulse and still has two full-time counselors providing free sessions to anyone in the community. It also has HIV and Hep C testing seven days a week and Sexually Transmitted Infection testing five days a week. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it closes at 5 p.m.
For more information: (407) 228-8272 or TheCenterOrlando.org.