Local LGBT Community Looks To Social Media To Keep Doors Open - myfoxcarolinas.com

Local LGBT Community Looks To Social Media To Keep Doors Open

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When Patrice decided to "come out" to her friends and family recently -- it shook their world.

"I grew up Southern Baptist,” Patrice said. “My dad is a Southern Baptist minister and we in the Southern-Baptist world do not support gay relationships."

Hearing about strangers coming out of the closet is one thing, but a family member, is another.

"Often people associate gay with something they can't relate to,” Patrice said. “When it's somebody familiar to you, or looks like you, goes to church with you and does the same things you do -- you start to put a face with it and you say well gay is not something that much different than myself.”

The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte sees hundreds of people like Patrice every month -- some confused, scared or merely in need of someone to listen.

"The center is important because we're physically here,” said Operation Manager Glenn Griffin. “Sometimes you want to talk to someone who you know understands."

The Center has been in Charlotte for 10 years but moved to a more centrally-located campus in NoDa a year ago – but with an upgraded facility comes higher costs.

“Right now we're going through a lot of growing pains and a lot of it is financial change,” Griffin said.

Griffin says those growing pains could force the center to shut its doors in March if they do not raise enough money. The fundraising push is in person and online.

The center is encouraging folks to take to social media, taking pictures with signs that read #mycenter and posting to Twitter, Instagram -- any social media avenue.

There will also be a fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 8 that is open to the public and will feature a number of guest speakers, artists – one big party to raise support for the center.

Patrice now volunteers for the center, reaching out and providing support to those just starting out on the road she has traveled. She also handles their public relations.

"I've sort of always struggle with this feeling for a while,” Patrice said. “I was actually married when I moved to Charlotte and my ex is actually really supportive of my coming out. Although my family is supportive they have had a hard time dealing with the situation because it's something that really rocks their belief system."

Some choose to take that belief system and reject people like Patrice. She chooses to accept who she is, who God made her – and embrace the life she says she was given.

"I do believe in God,” Patrice said. “I'm a Christian. I see God in every single person and I think that's what we're called to do as Christians."

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