New York’s LGBT Center, 31 years young, is undergoing a massive renovation. It has changed lives, and been the home of the most landscape-changing campaigning groups. Why do we still need it?
“If it wasn’t for the Center, I wouldn’t be alive today.” Thom, who did not want to give the Daily Beast his second name, was diagnosed with HIV in 1992, and experienced first-hand how important New York’s LGBT Center was.
In 1995, Thom had enlisted in the Center’s first annual Cycle for the Cause AIDS bike ride from Boston to New York. His health had become a concern while training, but because of a 1-year-waiting-period on pre-existing conditions with his new employer’s health insurance plan he was unable to get proper treatment he needed.
So, he turned to The Center’s Community Health Project (now Callen-Lorde). It was one of the first organizations in the building, along with the Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
Over the past three decades, New York’s LGBT Center has slowly been transforming the headquarters they purchased from the city in 1983, a former maritime trade school built in the mid-1800s. They’ve replaced pipes, wires and windows, and even added an elevator.