As we’ve rounded out our second year, the staff of the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center has been reflecting on the progress that some of our early clients have achieved. We’ve witnessed new friendships and relationships, celebrated milestones like name changes and HRT treatments, and rejoiced as young people moved forward in independence. These successes have underscored the importance of our work in providing safe spaces for the LGBTQ community to gather and offering resources specific to the queer experience. Recently I spoke with one of our clients about how far we had all come in two years. They shared with me that the Center had literally saved their life a number of times. As someone who struggles with suicidal ideation, they had sometimes set out in their car with the thought that they might just drive off the side of a mountain and make their death seem like an accident. They’d make a deal with themselves to drive to the Center and see if that helped, and if not, they could always have their “accident” on the way home. Every time they came to the Center, they found a reason to stay alive. They found connection and belonging that kept them from ending it all.
This and many other stories like it remain at the core of our work as a Center. Providing a supportive community and affirming resources is not just a tagline or a mission statement. It literally saves the lives of people right here in our community.
If you'd like to support our work at the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, we welcome you to consider joining a giving club or volunteer for a committee (Health & Human Services, Programming, Events, Finance). Together we can save lives and create sustainable change in the Shenandoah Valley.
This article first appeared in our December 2020 Newsletter. For more news, check out our Newsletter Archives.