Welcome, Like Me Lighthouse Center

As you will read in several stories in this issue of Camp, the March 10 weekend brings the long-awaited opening of a new center for the LGBT community in Kansas City.
The Like Me Lighthouse is a project of country music artist Chely Wright, who hails from Wellsville, Kan., and now lives in New York. Wright, along with several members of her Like Me Organization’s board of directors, has been to Kansas City several times during the center’s planning stages to meet with LGBT organizations, individuals, realtors and architects, and to finalize work on both the physical space of the center and its mission.
Many in Kansas City’s LGBT community still feel a bit confused about how the Lighthouse will differ from existing groups, like the youth group Passages, which meets in its own location, or the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, which gave up its physical space to become a web portal in July 2008.
The LGCC was founded in 1992, and it moved to second-floor offices at 207 Westport Rd., above the retail store OutThere, in November 2001. It had meeting spaces, a computer lab, and an information desk for people inquiring about LGBT organizations and more. In its prime, that center was vital and supported by paid, full-time staff, as well as volunteers. In later years, however, it suffered from inconsistent office hours, the high cost of rent and operations, and inaccessibility to physically challenged people because of the steep stairs to its second-floor office.
LGCC felt it was best to give up the space but keep the organization alive as a web portal, www.lgcc.org. The organization has continued to produce its annual spring picnic and fall OutFest, among other activities, and has worked with the Pride organization.
With the opening of the Like Me Lighthouse center, Kansas City has a new resource that will benefit not only Passages and LGCC, but all of our groups. Since LGCC closed its offices, organizations like Spirit of Hope Metropolitan Community Church, UMKC, and a few others have offered meeting spaces for events. Now groups can benefit from the Like Me Lighthouse center’s meeting spaces.
At this early stage, it’s a bit difficult to conceptualize how all this will work. But it’s an exciting opportunity for all groups serving the LGBT community to collaborate on the new Like Me Lighthouse. We’re confident that it will be a great beacon at 39th and Main Street that will grow well into its space and mission.

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