LGBTQ Welcome Center: Reopening and Rededication
The past four years we have been proud of this Center serving as a welcoming light to those visiting and those who call our community home. When it opened in 2014, St. Petersburg’s LGBTQ Welcome Center, a project of Metro Wellness & Community Centers, was only the third of its kind in the nation. Since then, it’s become a well-known safe haven to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered members of our community, of all ages, in the heart of a city known for a vibrant gay community. Through original programming, most offered at no cost by Metro Wellness & Community Centers, the Welcome Center is home to popular programs for LGBTQ seniors and youth throughout the week—providing a place of comfort to meet and socialize with other members of the community.
“It was our goal to create a safe place for those looking to build a network of friends or find access to LGBTQ-friendly resources,” said Lorraine Langlois, CEO of METRO. “Whether someone is just coming out or in a new city looking to make friends, we want St. Petersburg to have a resource for all.” Starting today, the Welcome Center celebrates its newest role as a resource for LGBTQ tourist interested in learning where to stay, what to see and where to eat. The Center features delicious Working Cow Ice Cream, local favorite KAWA Coffee and a newly launched store that gives visitors the opportunity to buy original St. Pete merchandise from local LGBTQ artists.
Having embraced a spirit of inclusiveness, the City of St. Petersburg has earned a perfect score on LGBTQ social issues from the Human Rights Campaign 4 years in a row. “The City of St. Petersburg is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ Welcome Center,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman. “Its location on Central Avenue is a vivid illustration of equality being central to everything we do in the Sunshine City.” The LGBTQ Welcome Center is located in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. Operational support is provided by individuals, families, and businesses through programming such as community talks, lunches, LGBTQ networking, sporting events, cultural activities and discussions with community leaders. “The new LGBTQ welcome center reaffirms St. Pete/Clearwater’s reputation as both welcoming and inclusive,” said David Downing, President & CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.
Visit St. Pete’s LGBTQ Welcome Center, seven days a week, at 2227 Central Avenue or online at LGBTQWelcomeCenter.org. Look for the house with the rainbow flag on Central Avenue, we cannot wait to meet you!