New community center a 'safe haven' for LGBTQ community - KMOV.com

New community center a 'safe haven' for LGBTQ community

Posted: Updated:
Inside the LGBTQ Community Center (Credit: KMOV) Inside the LGBTQ Community Center (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

After three years without a meeting place, the LGBTQ community has a new place to call home.

For the first time, PrideSTL has opened a meeting and education space on Chouteau in Midtown. The center that was located on Manchester in The Grove shut down years ago and left the community without a meeting place. 

Pride leaders said the center is a safe haven in today’s world because many of them are not treated equal.

“We live in a society where LGBTQ people are the number one victims of hate crimes,” said Wolf Smith with PrideSTL.  “As we have gained more mainstream acceptance, we’re seeing increasing amount of backlash. Particularly in terms of physical and verbal violence against us just walking out on the street.”

Smith said the community center, which opened in January, is for everyone.

Smith said the LGBTQ community continues reeling over the verbal and physical violence they've endured locally and across the country.

“It’s interesting to navigate the world in a body like mine in the way that it likes to express itself. Because like is aid before, I know what it’s like to walk down the street  and people to stare at you just because of what you’re wearing and people may not think that’s OK,” said Smith. “I’ve experience violence both physical and verbal because of it.”

He said St. Louis has made great strides by adding non-discrimination clauses and policies to laws to protect them.

Leaders said they’re looking for volunteers to help manning the center. 

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly