With Pride Month coming to an end, it’s important to highlight some of the LGBTQ+ resources here in Corvallis that operate throughout the year. These resources provide a variety of services to the LGBTQ+ community such as counseling, health advocacy, peer support, and safe spaces, all free from discrimination and hate. Check them out!
The Mid Willamette Transgender Support Network is a grassroots organization providing support and safe spaces for the local transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community. This organization hosts several monthly support groups such as the Transmasculine Support Group, the Nonbinary Meetup, and the Trans and Gender Expansive Support group.
Mid Willamette also provides assistance programs to those in need like a clothing closet, potluck events, and microgrants for individuals who are in need of rent relief, surgeries, or are struck by some other form of financial hardship. Unfortunately, many of these assistance programs are on hold during the ongoing pandemic but the support groups are still meeting via Zoom.
The Oregon State University Pride Center provides programs, support services, and a physical safe space for all LGBTQ+ members within the OSU community. The Pride Center provides resources to OSU students about on-campus counseling, health services, roommate matching, and name-changing.
The Pride Center also works with SOL: LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, an on-campus organization that focuses on providing Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) support through educational programming, student advocacy, and ally building.
The Pride Center is currently physically closed due to COVID but is still holding virtual office hours, restarting on June 20. For more information visit the Pride Center Facebook page and https://dce.oregonstate.edu/pc
Out ‘N’ About
Out ‘N’About is an LGBTQ+ youth support group for high schoolers in Linn and Benton counties. Out ‘N’ About offers a safe and welcoming environment for teens to find allies, friendship, and information about LGBTQ+ issues, history, or resources. Every meeting has different activities from crafts and movies, to simply talking.
Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic has taken a negative toll on many local LGBTQ+ resources. Several groups and nonprofits that were around pre-pandemic have closed in the past year or have greatly limited their services.
PFLAG Corvallis, a support group for the family and friends of the queer community, closed last year due to issues filling leadership positions. PFLAG is now directing interested members to other groups in Salem or Portland.
LGBTQ+ events throughout Corvallis have also been continuously cancelled. Rainbow in the Clouds, a monthly queer dance party, has not hosted an event since the pandemic started in March, 2020. Pride Corvallis did not host their annual parade for the second year in a row. Sadly, Pride Corvallis said they had not received the community support they needed to plan something in 2021.
Losing these resources is devastating for the local LGBTQ+ community. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, more than one in three LGBTQ+ Americans faced discrimination of some kind in the past year. This discrimination makes people more susceptible to issues like homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and poor healthcare. Our local LGBTQ+ resources help fight against these issues and provide safe spaces for our queer community.
Resources like support groups for LGBTQ+ youth are especially important because many teens and children do not have support at home, and many are still exploring their sexuality and gender.
For example, Out ‘N’ About Youth experienced some setbacks from the lack of in-person meetings. “We tried doing virtual meetings for a bit but most of our students didn’t feel comfortable engaging in the group from home virtually” said the Out ‘N’ About Facebook administrator.
Maintaining these LGBTQ+ resources in our community is extremely important to the people who rely on them. Many of these resources operate through volunteers, donations, grants, and other forms of kind-hearted support. Without the support, the resources that are still left will be lost. Many of these organizations, such as the Old Mill Center and the Mid Willamette Trans Support Network, are always taking donations and new volunteers, so check in with all these organizations to see how you can help.