The Highland Lakes Equality Center recently hosted its second gathering, almost a month to date since its official launch party.
This second event was a lot of fun because it was a mix of two of my favorite activities: a barbecue and a potluck. It drew 25 people, who ate, played games, conversed, and even offered their insight and wisdom and strengthened their friendships.
During the event, someone asked one of our officers how the HLEC gets its funding.
The center gets its funding from like-minded people who are members of the LGBTQ community and its allies. These individuals believe in one of the hallmarks of the HLEC: providing a community to those who want it.
Such as an attendee who happened to meet one of our officers in a chance encounter in a local coffee shop. That leader was meeting someone else and didn’t realize the individual at the table next to them was paying attention to what was said.
Once the meeting wrapped and the leader was gathering materials to leave, that individual pulled off his earbuds and said, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear …” He is new to the Highland Lakes and wanted to meet more like-minded people, so he stopped that officer to ask about the HLEC and promised to look up our website and Facebook page. He was one of the first to show up for our second gathering.
Then, there are others who were at our second event who didn’t attend our launch party: the allies who have close friends who are members of the LGBTQ community, the couples who brought a friend to meet us and increase their friendships, the onlookers who came over to try the delicious desserts and witnessed a group of people simply enjoying their weekend together.
In short, one reason the HLEC was created is to host these types of activities.
But the reality is there are always more programs to start and continue than available funds. That’s why it’s important more people know about the HLEC, its mission, its vision, and its purpose.
The HLEC was created to offer a community to LGBTQ members and its allies. Pretty simple, right?
It accomplishes that goal by hosting events that draw people together. Some might be as small as our recent gathering, where attendees bring their own meat for us to grill and a side dish, dessert, or drink to share. Others might be larger, such as our launch party, where partygoers meet, exchange information, and combine their resources in an effort to help those with extensive needs.
Those needs might include counseling, spiritual, or legal.
And then there are other programs such as our LGBTQ seminars, where instructors teach other professionals how to talk to members of the LGBTQ community, how to treat them, and how best to help them.
Our next giant gathering is a big one: the HLEC Prom that will happen in spring/summer 2018. A prom committee has been meeting to discuss the theme, site, and other elements that will give adult gatherers an incredible event. It will be a night to remember, especially for those who didn’t attend their high school proms or who didn’t have the prom they wanted. So start saving, start shopping for that semi-formal wear, and plan to meet us on the dance floor.
While some of our attorneys are willing to do many tasks free of charge, there are still filing fees. Our goal is to create programs that help LGBTQ members pay those government expenses.
None of these programs happen, however, without the generosity of people who envision a better world for all of us. That’s why it’s vital people give to the HLEC. Every donation is tax-deductible.
But more than that is this: You have my promise that every penny that’s donated goes directly to helping the LGBTQ community and its allies, not to salaries or debt of any kind. Every cent will be spent helping those who want to develop friendships, need counseling and legal services, and simply want to feel valued.
Help us give community to others who are alone and feel isolated and hopeless. Help us bring more smiles and friendships to the Highland Lakes.
Help us help others dance, too.