The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is now called OUTMemphis
For more than 27 years, Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, or MGLCC, has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community of the Mid-South region. For many years our primary function was to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ community to gather in celebration and sorrow, to grow as individuals and as a movement, and to find sanctuary from an intolerant world. Eight years ago, as we began to add paid staff, it became possible to expand our programs and services to respond to the myriad needs we continue to encounter. Those needs are as diverse as our identities.
"Changing our name reflects our efforts to be more responsive to and inclusive of all LGBTQ people in Memphis and the surrounding areas," says Will Batts, OUTMemphis Executive Director. "Our new name mirrors the change this organization began eight years ago. It honors the diversity of our board, our staff, our volunteers, our visitors, and our services."
We have known for a while that our name did not reflect our full identity...as individuals, as an agency, or as a community. So we set about to change it. No combination of letters describing our individual identities could do full justice to our diversity; no acronym would encompass every way in which we define and describe ourselves. So rather than focus primarily on our individual identities, we chose a name that would express our vision, our mission, our hopes, and our dreams of a living in a world that respects all LGBTQ people. Thus we have becomeOUTMemphis: The LGBTQ Center for the Mid-South.
Regardless of how we identify as individuals, we all seek a world where we can live openly, honestly and authentically. We desire a community that celebrates and respects us fully as parts of the whole. A community that respects US, and not a caricature or incomplete identity we put on simply to live in peace. We each deserve to live as openly as WE choose to be. We expect the freedom to be open about who we are and about whom we love. We deserve to be OUT, as OUT as we choose to be. Working to make that vision a reality is what we do every day at OUTMemphis...in dozens of ways, in hundreds of settings, and for thousands of clients and allies each year.
Just as our new name highlights our vision of a better world, our new image reflects our mission. The rainbow illustrates the diversity, passion, and POWER of our people, interlocked and CONNECTED through a central hub, working to EDUCATE ourselves and others about the LGBTQ experience, and turning that knowledge into ADVOCACY that demands equality and safety for all of us wherever we are. We do not imagine ourselves the only place where this happens. However, as the only center like us for several hundred miles in every direction, we have a special responsibility to serve as many people as we can, as best as we can, and in as many ways as we can.
Our movement--the LGBTQ struggle for full equality and inclusion--has made too many advances to accept retreat. We understand that not every person can be out and fully honest. We know that right now we live in a world where the costs of being out can be too high to bear for some people. As an agency and as a movement, even with that understanding, we can no longer accept being silent, being hidden, or being in the closet. Someday in the future, there may be no need for coming out, because there is no "in." Until that day, we will continue to fight, to educate, to support, and to stand proud. Open, authentic, and OUT.
LGBTQ people live in a world where everyone has equal rights, and is safe, celebrated, and respected.
OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates, and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South.