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Event to promote idea for LGBTQ resource center in Concord

  • Jazmynne Young Courtesy—

Monitor staff
Published: 12/4/2017 12:11:33 AM

Jazmynne Young, a transgender woman new to New Hampshire, said she’s felt welcome in Concord since she moved to the capital city from Arkansas nine months ago.

“I may get a few looks walking down the street, but it’s no big thing,” she said. “For the most part, it’s all smiles and ‘Hey, how you doing?’ in Concord.”

Having lived in places like Las Vegas and San Francisco, which have strong and visible LGBTQ communities, she said she wanted to become involved here. She helped promote the bill prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment and public accommodations in the Granite State.

Still, Young felt New Hampshire needed something more.

“There was no visible hub or resource center,” she said.

So she decided to come up with one herself. The LGBTQ community center Young envisions would offer professional trainings, workshops and support groups. It would provide social activities, books and resources for those struggling with their gender and sexual identities, as well as for those who are homeless or recovering from substance use disorders, which is common in LGBTQ groups.

Young developed an organization, “Out of the Box Hub” to promote the idea, which will host a meet and greet and information session at NEC Concord from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Young created an online petition for the resource center that received close to 100 signatures.

She said an LGBTQ center was the first place she went to find acceptance when she left her Georgia home at age 12 after her mother died.

“It was what I really needed at the time,” she said.

Concord would be a good place for a community center, Young said, because it seems more family-oriented than other Granite State cities like Manchester or Nashua, and that as the capital of the state, it sets a precedent for how the rest of New Hampshire should approach LGBTQ issues.

JeanMarie Gossard, former campaign manager for Freedom New Hampshire, which promotes policy changes and support groups for LGBTQ people across the state, said anyone currently seeking support can access the Equality Health Center in Concord. Another organization, Transgender NH, posts regular social events on their Facebook page, Gossard said.

Young said she’s not yet sure how a resource center would be funded. Maybe through donations or grant funding, she said.

“I know that is it’s not an impossible vision to become a reality,” she said. “We just need to work together to make it happen.”

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322, or on Twitter @LeahMWillingham.)

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