The LGBTQ+ Center is Now Open in Winchester, VA!
In late November, ARE (Aids Response Effort) opened an LGBTQ+ Center at their office in downtown Winchester. It was created to fill a growing need in our local community by providing resources regarding health care, HIV, gender identity, and community support
services. It’s also meant to be a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ individuals and groups to relax and meet friends in a respectful, affirming atmosphere. I spoke with Mary Bohacek, one the Center’s Co-directors, and she said the feeback has been very positive.
In January they began hosting affinity groups, which are a way for people with shared identities and interests to connect with others. These groups provide support, along with education, resource identification, and community feedback. Currently the Polyamorous group meets the second Tuesday of every month and the Trans/Gender Non-conforming group meets the second Thursday. Mary said they would like to host additional groups including one that’s Youth specific and one for Parents. If you, or anyone you know, are interested in being a facilitator for a new group, please reach out to the Center.
One of the resources they’ve recently added is a queer library. It contains a mix of fiction and non-fiction books for all ages. They’re looking to expand the collection, and if you’re interested in helping, you can find a link to their book wishlist on the ARE LGBTQ+ Center
Facebook page. Social events are a large part of the Centers future and they are hosting game nights, and coffee and coloring events. They’re planning to have at least one social event per month and the event information can be found on their Facebook page. On February 10 th , you can join them for “Valentines Hot Chocolate Tasting”. This is a fundraising event for the Center and you can vote for your favorite. Plans have not been finalized for a Valentine’s Day event but please check back in the next couple of weeks.
There are on-going plans to remodel the center to make a bright open space more conducive to the type of events they see in the future. This includes knocking down walls and adding a wheelchair ramp to make it more accessible. They’re in the middle of a Founders Campaign and have raised $23,000, so far, on the way to their $100,000 goal. Congratulations!
The ARE LGBTQ+ Center is located at 124 Piccadilly Street, Winchester VA
Please contact Co-directors: Mary Bohacek or Matt Buracker with any questions or comments.