The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, a community-based organization, supports and promotes activities directed at furthering the well-being, positive image, and human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, its allies, and low to moderate income residents in Southern Nevada.
History of The Center
The Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1992 through efforts inspired by the Friday Night Men’s Rap Group at Community Counseling Center. For tht first year, The Center's Board of Directors met in a small room at Community Counseling Center, but in 1993 The Center rented its own space in a small former dental office on a side street off East Sahara Avenue. This was the first safe public space in Las Vegas for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. That year, the Nevada legislature repealed the state’s sodomy law and the Las Vegas gay community rallied to celebrate and dedicate its new Center on October 15, 1993.
Within a few months of opening, The Center offered the community a host of services and programs. It provided free HIV testing; office space for the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association, the NAMES Project, LAMDBA Business Association, PFLAG, Delta Lambda Phi, Senior Action Gay Environment; and meeting space for groups in support of lesbians, gay youth, gay and lesbian parents, Hispanics, gay seniors, transgendered people—even a gay science fiction club. In January 1994 The Center sponsored the first annual Man and Woman of the Year Awards, known today as the Honorarium.
By 2001, however, The Center had again outgrown its small space and early the following year it moved into a 6,000 square-foot storefront across Sahara Avenue in Commercial Center. A ribbon-cutting and dedication was held in October 2002 in conjunction with the city's National Coming Out Day celebrations. Then in 2006, The Center moved a few doors down in the same shopping center. Expansions in this new space included a computer lab, two large meeting/game rooms and a comfortable community room/library.
In 2007, The Center embarked on a five-year strategic plan to recruit an extraordinarily dedicated Board of Directors and sustained, consistent leadership in key staff and management. The Center had grown and moved as needed but space again became a limiting factor in how well The Center could respond to the emerging needs of our community.
Like Las Vegas, The Center is constantly growing and will continue serving the Southern Nevada LGBT community in whatever way it can.
Special thanks to historian Dennis McBride.