I first visited Q Center in April 2012, seeking support after being a survivor of domestic violence. I was freshly traumatized, scared, and lost. They were so welcoming and worked hard to find a budget for an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter in the LGBT DV Survivor’s support group so that I could participate.
I attended the group for four months and learned so much about myself: what being a domestic violence survivor means, what triggers are, what PTSD means, and that support for LGBT DV survivors is pretty limited. They gave me the strength to take a stand, fight back for my dignity, move on, and give back to the community. I feel very fortunate that I could get the help I needed.
Currently I am president of the Northwest Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf and a member of the Portland Commission on Disability, as well as serving on the Community Oversight Advisory Board for the Portland Police Bureau. This summer I was nominated as a Queer Hero for my political activism and community advocacy. Attending the reception at Q Center hit home. Being recognized there I felt validated and respected. It gave me Hope. Strength. Courage. Love.
Q Center is the only LGBT center in Portland, and offers so much: support groups, counseling, a library for learning about LGBT histories, and a safe space for our LGBT community. In the future I would love see Q Center grow into a bigger building with many more support groups and other resources. Having readily available accommodations like ASL and a videophone relay system would support more participation by deaf LGBT community members.
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Each of us has reasons why we’re invested in Q Center with our time or our money Stories that need to be shared with others, that connect us to each other and to something bigger as a community.