LGBT Detroit celebrates the purchase of their 3,500-square-foot building on Greenfield Road between Seven and Eight Mile in Detroit. Photo courtesy of LGBT Detroit

LGBT Detroit Celebrates Anniversary of #SafeBraveSpace

BY JASON A. MICHAEL

Curtis Lipscomb, BTL Photo: Andrew Potter

It's called Detroit's new #SafeBraveSpace - yes, with a hashtag - and visitors are invited to check it out next week. LGBT Detroit is celebrating a year since acquiring their new headquarters on Detroit's Northwest side with a reception to take place April 20 from 5:30-8 p.m.

"It has been an amazing year since the community came together to help make the vision of a safe, brave space a reality for the Metro Detroit LGBT community," said Curtis Lipscomb, executive director for LGBT Detroit. "We want to come together to celebrate and ensure that the work continues."

Since moving into the new space in September, LGBT Detroit has been able to stretch out and expand services.

"We went from a one-room facility to a 24-room facility," Lipcomb said. "We were limited before. We like the new space a lot. We're not on top of each other like we were. Free parking helps, too. Programming was affected badly when we were in midtown by the parking constraints there."

Lipscomb acted as project manager and oversaw initial work at the new space required to receive a certificate of occupancy. Now he's looking to take the next steps.

"We're looking at the space to maximize its use," said Lipscomb. "It's time to work with professionals to optimize every square foot possible. We're able to present a case to potential donors to maximize this space.

"We're securing another architect," Lipscomb continued. "We've had some conversations with a major foundation that's eager to work with us. And we believe once we get past Hotter Than July we can concentrate on that in the late summer, early fall. But we've already begun to have the conversation."

The anniversary event will take place on the same day as the national Give Out Day, an annual fundraising project that aims to support LGBT organizations. These funds have translated directly into services, advocacy, and programs that help tens of thousands of LGBT people. The funds help LGBT Detroit provide services and programs such as the LGBT Cancer Action Council, Detroit Elder Project, Woman 2 Woman and the LGBT Detroit Leadership Academy.

"We've hosted the LGBT Cancer Action Council here," said Lipscomb. "We are now able to hold our classes for smoking cessation here. The Detroit Elder Project, which we partner with Hannan Foundation in Midtown, that is currently held at Hannan House, we can now host them here. Woman 2 Women definitely got expanded. It's nice to have two meetings rooms instead of one big room."

LGBT Detroit also has a new partnership with the University of Michigan Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities and the University of Pennsylvania's Program for Sexuality, Technology and Action Research. Together they will conduct the SWERVE Study for substance-using young men and trans women who have sex with men in Southeast Michigan.

Attendees at the anniversary event will be able to learn about all of LGBT Detroit's programming and more. There will be classic disco music spun by Mike Trombley with Macho City and a strolling buffet from Chef Ulysses Jones of Taylor One Gourmet Catering. The event will also feature inspirational remarks from Reverend Jeffrey Seals of One Church Detroit.

"We're gonna celebrate," Lipscomb said. "We're just going to have a very casual experience so people can see the space, have a conversation, meet donors and staff. We're just excited to be a part of Detroit's success, right in the neighborhood, changing hearts and minds ... putting in an effort to make Detroit safer."

Antonio Johnson Seals, board president for LGBT Detroit, said much of the same. "This is a step in the right direction for lgbt Detroit," said Johnson Seals. "I call it moving forward. I just hope that our own community welcomes us and utilizes this space we're creating for them.".

Tickets to LGBT Detroit's anniversary event are available by phone at 313-397- 2127. Tickets start at $35. The event will take place at the #SafeBraveSpace located at 20025 Greenfield Road in Detroit.
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