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Out and About- PULSE Magazine

2019-11-11

We are to proud to have been a part of the Queer Leadership Summit. We love being part of a community with such a strong LGBTQIA+ voice!

By: Giuliano D’Orazio

As autumn descends on New England, cooler weather sets in, and some turn to hibernation — but Worcester’s LGBTQ+ community has its sights set confidently on the future. In late September, as pride month drew to a close, community members teamed up for a Queer Leadership Summit. Attendees included leaders and representatives of various organizations such as Worcester Pride, Love Your Labels, Safe Homes, Worcester Historical Museum, and New England Pride TV. The meeting was spurred following a September article in another local publication which painted the picture of a lukewarm and somewhat underrepresented queer community amidst a city that is otherwise burgeoning. Truth be told, there’s a ton of passion and action behind our queer initiatives and organizations, many of which are fueled by volunteer work hours and thrive on the dedication of committed individuals. Those who are connected and invested behind the scenes will attest to this fact, but on the surface, the impact and cohesion may not be plainly visible, or collectively organized — hence the need to form a unified voice.

The leadership summit resulted in the decision to form a cross-organizational coalition, and, thanks to the Worcester Historical Museum hosting the LGBTQ-ing a City event, a letter of intent was presented to the City of Worcester Leadership. The letter, signed by 19 community leaders and advocates, states their goal is, “to represent the best interests of the queer community in Worcester and to establish actionable steps forward. We believe it is in the best interest of both our community and the City of Worcester to prioritize these issues and recognize the need for support, visibility, and representation for queer people in Worcester in order to realize a vision for the city that is diverse, inclusive, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous.”

The coalition prioritized three requests to the City:

  1. Identify an acceptable city liaison for the LGBTQIA+ community.
  2. Establish a web page on the City of Worcester website for LGBTQ resources and information, to be overseen by the coalition and city liaison.
  3. The City invites a representative from the coalition to regularly participate on committees, commissions and forums that impact our community.

As Worcester continues to expand economically, more eyes are on the city’s growth, and it’s the goal of the coalition to make sure we become a destination where City Leadership and LGBTQ+ voices work together to realize goals that are mutually beneficial.

Speaking of queer community organizations, LGBTQ+ drop-in center Safe Homes is getting ready for their annual fundrasing gala, and is currently accepting nominations for their “People of Courage Award”. The gala, which will take place on May 1, 2020 at the AC Marriott Hotel on Front Street in Worcester, is the organization’s main fundraising mechanism and goes to assist the organization in providing a variety of services to queer youth including free counseling, clothes, a food pantry, and peer-led activities, as well as leadership and job opportunities. If you know someone who has done outstanding work for the LGBTQ+ community in Central Massachusetts and would like to nominate them for the People of Courage Award, please contact Amanda Gibbons at Amanda.Gibbons@openskycs.org for a nomination application.

Giuliano D’Orazio (he/him pronouns) is a Worcester native, musician, music educator, and active member of the local LGBTQ+ community. He is a board member of Love Your Labels, and a signee of the above mentioned letter. Follow him on instagram at giuliano.music.

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