LGBTQ: Five Welcoming Places for the Community
Intersecting at 13th and Locust streets, the rainbow crosswalk represents more than lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers. It embodies the boundaries and obstacles crossed and overcome by the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia.
In neighborhoods across the city, there are LGBTQ facilities that provide affordable medical treatments and education, encourage the exploration of self-expression, and promote a confident life. These spaces are not hideaways but welcoming facilities for the LGBTQ community,their families and those in need.
The five facilities listed below embody the love, respect and attention needed for the LGBTQ community.
Rittenhouse: Attic Youth Center
The Attic Youth Center provides a space exclusively for LGBTQ youth.
“We provide an environment that is safe, welcoming and affirming,” said Carrie Jacobs, Attic Youth executive director. “(It’s) where youth voices are valued and heard, and where youth have a part in decision making.”
Services offered include high school internships, career readiness programs, academic support, arts and cultural activities, hot meals and therapy sessions. The support and guidance from staff provides members with the tools necessary to build a strong foundation.
Attic Youth Center is located at 255 S. 16th St.
University City: University of Pennsylvania Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center
Receiving an education demands focus and commitment. However, sometimes societal pressures to feel accepted can be distracting. The University of Pennsylvania’s LGBT Center eliminates those pressures.
The center, located at 3907 Spruce St., gives students the chance to study or socialize in a safe environment. The center has a lounge area with couches and colorful walls, a kitchen area, and a study area equipped with computers and printers.
The University of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ community has the opportunity to find an on-campus home. Available to faculty and staff as well, the center is one of the oldest LGBT centers in the country.
Southwest Schuylkill: Morris Home
Being transgender in the LGBTQ community is accepted. Being homeless and suffering from addiction in Philadelphia is understood. Yet being transgender and homeless or addicted is not always understood or accepted. It is one of the many forces driving the mission of Morris Home located at 5037 Woodland Ave.
“Morris Home is the first and only drug and alcohol residential program for transgender people in the entire country,” said Kade Collins, Morris Home therapist.
“Outside of Morris Home there are so many barriers and Philadelphia, as a whole, needs to address these things,” Collins said. The members reside for approximately six months at Morris Home. Sadly, they often find that after they leave, the housing resources with specific transgender services and acceptance are scarce.
Washington Square West: William Way LGBT Community Center
Established in 1974, the William Way LGBT Community Center promotes the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities in Philadelphia. The center provides this through encouragement, advocacy and acceptance within the programs offered. True to its distinction as a community center, there are services for recreation, education and culture. William Way is located at 1315 Spruce St.
University City: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic
Family members of gender variant, gender nonconforming and transgender youth develop needs for medical and psychological support. At The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, there is a department that provides a team of specialists for understanding and guidance. This clinic provides pediatric specialists in adolescent medicine, gender, mental health and endocrinology.
-Text and Images by Taylor Smethers and Allison Merchant.