May 10, 2012 | by Steve Charing
The Den opens its doors to LGBT youth

The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) opened its doors to The Den, Baltimore’s all-volunteer LGBTQ Youth Center, on May 5 after two years of planning.  According to the organization’s website (thedenbaltimore.org), “The Den will serve as a safe space for Baltimore’s LGBTQ adolescents and young adults ages 13-24 with reliable, culturally competent, high quality services that will aid in their social, physical, mental, scholastic and career development.”

Kalima Young, a professor and activist, is chair of the steering committee for The Den.

“It is critical that we make youth a priority in the LGBTQ movement,” Young said. “For far too long LGBTQ youth have suffered from our unwillingness as adults to address structural issues such as poverty, classicism, racism and sexism in the LGBTQ community that directly impacts where and how youth experience the LGBTQ community.”

Prior to May 5, The Den was set up as a roving project that offered safe events at various venues for young people.  Now it has a home at the GLCCB’s Chase Street building. On opening day, 25 youth and volunteers showed up to help create a float for the Pride Parade in Baltimore.  The Den will continue to be open on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. leading up to Pride to work on the float. Also, every other month on Saturdays the community may join in the steering committee meetings.

“With The Den opening its doors on May 5, we are hoping to take that first step in Baltimore to address these structural challenges,” Young explained.  “The Den will provide a space for youth throughout the city to establish healthy relationships with their peers, experience safe mentorship with adults, receive access to competent mental and physical health screenings, access tutoring help when needed and experience social and cultural enrichment opportunities. All of these services are designed to support and strengthen the next generation of LGBTQ youth in Baltimore.”

Fusion Partnerships is the sponsor for The Den. They are currently raising funds to hire a coordinator.

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