Empowering the Community: Level Up & Launch Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

September 15, 2023

As an integral part of the vibrant Lancaster community, Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition is thrilled to announce that we have been selected as a recipient of the Level Up and Launch grant! This incredible opportunity, provided by One United Lancaster, recognizes our commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQ individuals in our city.

We are immensely grateful for the support that One United Lancaster has shown us. With their generous matching grant, they are doubling the impact of each donation made to our cause. We invite you to join us in making a difference by contributing to our efforts. You can donate directly by visiting this link — Make sure to check the “Apply this gift to your preferred Level Up & Launch fellow” checkbox, and select Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition!

Together, we can create a more inclusive and accepting Lancaster.

Upholding Our Mission: Equality, Education, and Advocacy

At Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition, our mission has always been clear; to create a safe and equitable Lancaster County community where everyone is free to life courageous, full, and authentic lives. We strongly believe that our community deserves a safe, inclusive, and accepting environment that celebrates diversity in all its forms.

We are proud to share that our efforts have recently been recognized in a feature by One United Lancaster. The spotlight they have cast on our coalition and our goals has provided us with an incredible platform to share our story, and you can read the feature here.

We are thankful for the opportunity to share our message and accomplishments with the wider community. Through this feature, we hope to inspire others to join us in this vital mission of creating a more inclusive society for all.

Join Us: Make an Impact, Make a Difference

Creating change and fostering inclusivity is not a solo journey—it requires the collective effort of the entire community. Here are a few ways you can get involved and make a real difference:

  1. Donate: Your contribution, no matter the size, can make a significant impact in furthering our cause. Visit this donation link to support our initiatives and have your donation doubled by One United Lancaster.
  2. Spread the Word: Help us amplify our message by sharing our mission and accomplishments with friends, family, and on social media. Together, we can create a ripple effect of acceptance and understanding.
  3. Volunteer: We welcome passionate individuals who share our vision. If you have skills, time, or resources to contribute, please reach out to us at [email protected] to explore volunteer opportunities.

By actively supporting the Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition, you become an essential part of our journey towards building a more inclusive and accepting community in Lancaster. Together, let’s empower each other, celebrate diversity, and create a brighter, more equitable future!

Join Lancaster Stands Up in Penn Square August 20th!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

August 17, 2023

Lancaster Stands Up is organizing a rally in Penn Square to talk about the significance of The Fairness Act!

Join LSU downtown this upcoming Sunday, August 20th!

Speakers will include Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition’s Shannon Haley-Mize, and various LGBTQ+ LSU members.

Parents & Guardians of LGBTQ+ Children Are Invited to Our New Group!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

August 14, 2023

Are you a parent of an LGBTQ+ child? Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition is starting a new parent group at The Loop community center downtown at 117 E Chestnut St.!

We will be meeting the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7 pm, starting August 15th — that’s this Tuesday!

Any parents, guardians, or caregivers of LGBTQ+ children are welcome to join us…. we hope to learn from and encourage each other as we love and support our children!

Behavioral Health & Wellness Clinic

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

July 13, 2023

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition is gearing up to launch a new behavioral health and wellness clinic; a much-needed addition to Lancaster’s healthcare community! Here’s some more information about the partnerships we’re forging and the health resources we’re planning to have on-site:

In partnership with Touchstone Foundation, we have the opportunity to offer therapy on a sliding scale. Funds will go directly to the clinician.

Valley Youth House will offer case management and housing services for LGBTQ+ youth up to age 24 one day per week!

We’re also thrilled to begin offering free walk-in rapid HIV testing provided by Alder Health starting September 18th!  Walk-in testing will be available from 2-6pm. From then on, we will continue to offer walk-in testing on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month:

  • September 18th
  • October 2nd and 16th
  • November 6th and 20th
  • December 4th and 18th

In partnership with Family Health Council, we will launch our Sexual Health and Wellness Program starting with our Prep program. The Prep program will focus on health education and outreach for LGBTQ+ teens.  

Finally, In partnership with AARP we will host a “Coffee and Conversation” series! Join us July 30th for Death Cafe: discussion around end of life planning and presentation from Melissa Ressler, Death Doula and ED of Lancaster Downtowners. Stay tuned for more info soon!

Navigating the Aging Process: Unveiling Mental Health Considerations for LGBT Seniors

Olivia Turner

July 12, 2023

The mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors is a subject that warrants particular attention, considering the unique challenges this group faces. An understanding of these nuances is crucial to building supportive communities and healthcare systems that genuinely meet their needs.

The Unique Mental Health Impact of Aging in LGBT Seniors

Aging is an inevitable process accompanied by physiological, psychological, and social changes. For LGBT seniors, the complexities of this process can be exacerbated by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Compared to their heterosexual counterparts, LGBT seniors may face increased mental health issues, often stemming from a lifetime of discrimination, stigma, and rejection.

Research has consistently shown higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among LGBT individuals, with these issues persisting into old age. Factors such as the lack of social support, the fear of coming out, and living with an identity that society often marginalizes can create a toxic mix that threatens the mental well-being of LGBT seniors.

Senior couple walking on the beach

The Role of Identity, Stigma, and Discrimination

It is undeniable that identity, stigma, and discrimination play significant roles in the mental health of aging LGBT individuals. Many seniors have lived through eras where non-heteronormative identities were not only socially stigmatized but also criminalized. This historical context has a profound impact on mental health, increasing the risk of mood disorders and suicidal ideation.

For seniors who come out later in life, the psychological impact can be even more significant. The process of self-acceptance and disclosure can be immensely stressful, particularly when fearing rejection from established social circles. As a result, these seniors may experience heightened levels of anxiety and depression.

The Shadows of Historical Trauma

Many LGBT seniors have not only battled personal trials but also navigated shared historical traumas. Events like the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s disproportionately affected the LGBT community. The weight of such events, coupled with societal stigmatization, could leave lasting scars, increasing the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions in LGBT seniors.

Loneliness and Social Isolation

LGBT seniors may experience heightened social isolation or loneliness, which are key risk factors for mental health problems. Some may not have children or may be estranged from their families due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, seniors who are not openly out might withdraw from social activities due to fear of rejection or misunderstanding. These factors can lead to increased feelings of isolation and depression.

Senior men embracing on a pool party

Building a Better Mental Health Support System for LGBT Seniors

Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to improve mental health services for LGBT seniors. Healthcare professionals need to possess cultural competence and understand the unique experiences of these individuals to provide effective support. Therapy groups, peer support networks, and community centers could serve as safe spaces for LGBT seniors to express their feelings and experiences, thereby fostering a sense of belonging.

Moreover, societal acceptance is a key factor in improving the mental health outcomes of LGBT seniors. As a society, we must work towards a culture that not only tolerates but embraces diversity in all its forms.

Conclusion

LGBT seniors’ mental health is shaped by a confluence of factors, including historical traumas, societal attitudes, and individual experiences. As they navigate the aging process, it’s imperative that we provide them with the necessary support and resources. Empathy, understanding, and societal acceptance can make a significant difference, ensuring LGBT seniors age with dignity and peace of mind.

Wrath Month Open-Mic Recap

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

July 10, 2023

What originated in 2018 as a meme on the Queer internet, “Wrath Month” now represents a hopeful reality. Queer existence does not end in June. Wrath month is a time to continue the momentum of emotional acknowledgment, vulnerability, comfort, and energy we built during Pride. Wrath is personal, it is not in our calendars, or our history books, but is equally as important to acknowledge. It is opinionated, free thinking and free flowing. 

Last Friday, July 7th Kearasten Jordan hosted a QUEER WRATH MONTH OPEN-MIC; featuring performances from different artists of diverse backgrounds. This event raised awareness about issues that still need to be addressed such as discrimination, accessibility, the commercialization of our bodies and identities, and free access to information about gender and sexuality. 

What does Wrath mean to you? It’s all correct; this is what made an open-mic night fit so well with the concept of this Month. Wrath is whatever you, whatever I, whatever WE want it to be. July 7th was an opportunity to experiment, test the waters, and free your mind. Release your Wrath, whatever form it may take.

The open-mic took place at the Ware Center and was free and open to the public. We thank the Ware Center and fellow performers for granting us such a safe, comedic and enjoyable night. Thank you Kearasten, Audrie Marsh and Kyle Shahan for some phenomenal stand up. We would also like to thank and spotlight local artists Matty Geez and Dorrin Gingerich for presenting and sharing their artwork with the greater community.

Thank You Camaraderie Salon!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

July 10, 2023

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition wants to send our gracious thanks to the (Queer-owned!) Camaraderie Salon for their generous fundraiser!

Check out their website and insta to learn more about this local barber + beauty stop in Downtown Lancaster!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition Receives Generous Grants to Support Operations

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

June 28, 2023

The Lancaster LGBT Coalition is thankful and overjoyed to honor the following organizations who have granted funding to the Coalition’s cause for a more equitable Lancaster community.

We’d like to recognize the following organizations for their generosity:

  • Acts of Generosity
  • United Way’s “Level Up and Launch” Grant Program
  • AARP
  • And we’ve received joint funding from:
    • United Way
    • City of Lancaster
    • And others!

Combined, these organization have granted us over $125,000 dollars! These contributions will continue to provide the local Lancaster LGBTQ community with our Emergency HEART Housing program, Social Groups, and general operations!

To continue our efforts to creating a more equitable Lancaster consider Donating here!

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank these organizations and our community for their support. Through their combined generosity, we’re able to keep our doors open and our care flowing.

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition Announces Final Week of Pride Month Events

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

June 26, 2023

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition is excited to announce the final week of Pride Month events! The Coalition has been celebrating Pride Month all June long with a variety of events, and we’re excited to wrap up the month on a high note.

On Monday, June 26, A Concrete Rose Bookbar and Blazin’ J’s are hosting a fundraiser for the Coalition in Downtown Lancaster! $5 from every meal purchased will go to the Coalition! We’re also offering a limited-edition “Flamin’” tee shirt and Fuego de la Vida Margarita for purchase. Attendees can pre-order a meal and limited-edition shirt at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/662476744777

On Tuesday, June 27, the Coalition is celebrating National HIV Testing Day with Walgreen’s at 1262 Lititz Pike. Free HIV testing and more will be available!

All week throughout the end of June, Decades Lancaster is offering a limited-time Pride Daquiri Cocktail Pouch! $1 from every drink sold will go to the Coalition.