By Oona Mackesey-Green
Tucked in an office building just down the street from the airport, on a summer weekday afternoon OutReach LGBT Community Center is sunny and quiet, lined with bookshelves and a long table of brochures and pamphlets from other local organizations. Snippets of conversation float out from the offices off of the shared space, which includes a small seating area, computer and printer/copier machine for public use, and a small two-shelf food pantry, a recent addition following a new partnership with The River Food Pantry that is already seeing use from community center visitors.
Within the center is an all-gender restroom, and around the corner is a small kitchen and additional community room to host support groups, board meetings and other large gatherings and events.
In addition to coordinating Pride celebrations (see page 1), for over 47 years OutReach LGBT Community Center and previous community organizations have provided supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ communities in Madison and surrounding areas.
OutReach’s current services range from advocacy to running the Earl Greely Memorial Library — a free lending library and one of the largest and most extensive LGBT libraries in the Midwest, to resource referral, convening over 20 social and support groups (both in-person and online), and more. Additional OutReach programs include the Trans Health Project, LGBT Senior Alliance and Wilma’s Fund, which provides assistance to homeless LGBTQ community members in Dane County.
True to their name, OutReach’s work extends beyond the physical space of the community center. Find their annual directory of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supportive organizations and businesses, as well as their monthly events calendar and guide, at local businesses and online at outreachmadisonlgbt.org. For more information or for resource referral, contact OutReach at 608-255-8582.