Fun. Support. Advocacy.

welcome.

The OutCenter of Southwest Michigan provides support services and resources to LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies. We also work to create change in Southwest Michigan through initiatives based on education and strong strategic partnerships.

In 2021, the OutCenter continued to make great progress, and set new precedents, helping to make Southwest Michigan an inclusive area with great impacts for kids, families, employers, and employees.
Here are some highlights:

  • 418 policies and practices promoted, enacted, and/or modified.
  • 353 families and school staff members received assistance.
  • Worked with 25+ area school communities as well as Berrien RESA.
  • Reaching more than 11,000 elementary, middle, high school, and college students.
  • 22 partner organizations organized to provide more robust and appropriate services to LGBTQ+ people and their families.
The Drop in Center
main lobby

The Drop In Center provides open office hours every Tuesday through Friday from 3pm to 5:30pm. It is a space for conversation as well as a source of community resources like affirming healthcare providers, legal representation, and faith communities.

drop in, sit down and open up.

OutCenter Chats
teens talk about natl hate rhetoric_2017

OutCenter Chats are moderated group discussions focused on meeting new people, exploring LGBTQ+ topics, and providing support in times of need. We are offering three different groups: Queer Chats, Writers Chats, and Book Chats. 

  • Queer Chats is offered twice a month and is a space for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to talk about LGBTQ+ topics in a casual setting. 
  • Writers Chats is offered once a month and is a place for writers to write and talk about writing. It is an open discussion and workshop for creative projects. 
  • Book Chats is offered once a month and is a discussion of queer literature. Announcements regarding book selection and reading schedule can be found on social media and our program calendar.

we listen, we share and we care

Tag Me In
protest-image

Tag Me In is an initiative to activate LGBTQ+ people and their allies in the community from school board meetings to voter registration. We believe that civil engagement is necessary to see our communities grow in empathy and equity. When you join, we will send you information, talking points, and updates about any new projects we need your help with. If you are interested in getting involved, click here to visit our Tag Me In page!

get active, make some noise, save some lives.

Brave Schools Collaborative
GSA Network -1024x683

The LGBTQ+ Brave Schools Collaborative is a multifaceted project to help schools become more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students. We provide workshops and assistance to school staff and youth (such as cultural knowledge and best practices), as well as support to families within the school system. This work is guided by a local and strategic alliance of schools, school community professionals, and support systems. Please request workshops by emailing info@outcenter.org.

kids helping kids - what could be more grassroots.

Teen Pride
Copy-of-TeenPrideProm2019-77

Teen Pride is a two prong program. The first part of the program is a series of short summits designed to help students create and maintain a Gender and Sexualities Alliance Club (GSA) in their school. These summits are run by request and on a set schedule throughout the school year. Please request a summit by emailing teenpride@outcenter.org

The second part of this program is a therapeutic Dungeons and Dragons that runs bi-weekly. To join the current campaign, please email gerik@outcenter.org. The program also hosts social events, such as Queer Pride, Halloween and Holiday Parties, and Graduation events.

Pride is a year long event.

Victim Services
Stressed,Young,Woman,In,Front,Of,Christmas,Tree

Equality Michigan offers advocacy for victims as well as community building programs that they can teach on location. They provide legal and emotional support, training, and guidance to LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations.This service is available at the OutCenter on the second Thursday of each month.

we have resources, you have needs - lets fix this.

Medicaid Enrollment
emergency

The goal of this project is to explain the benefits of Medicaid, as well as increase the number of enrollees in the state of Michigan. We have partnered with other Michigan-based organizations like Affirmations and OutCare, as well as participated in online campaigns through social media. See if you qualify here

Medicade is a vital safety net for Michigan's needy

COVID-19 Vaccinations
vaccine-heart

We are proud to continue the important work of promoting the COVID-19 vaccination and direct our community members as to where they can obtain them. If you are interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, visit vaccines.gov to find a site near you.

get the shot, get boosted, get back to life.

Coffee Hours
forte-coffee

We offer meeting times on Mondays at Forte Coffee right next to the OutCenter. Community members can sign up for an appointment slot on our Program Calendar to speak with one of our staff members.

coffee served up with compassion

Check out what's happening
this month...

happening now at the OutCenter

On February 2, for the first time in nearly a decade, legislation expanding civil rights protections to the LGBTQ+ community received a legislative committee hearing.

Please listen to the abridged testimony of Donna Stephens, whose wife Aimee Stephens was fired from her job in 2020 for being transgender.

We deserve to live our lives without being discriminated against because of who we are or who we love. Let our lawmakers know #HateWontWin, and that Michiganders are ready for full equality.

Sign the petition to lawmakers today at the link in our bio🏳️‍🌈
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Calling all LGBTQ+ seniors: the Buchanan Area Senior Center is hosting a mixer on Thursday, February 9 from 6-8 PM at @riverstjoe Brewery and Restaurant! If you're interested in attending, please RSVP by February 8 at 2 PM by contacting Adam at (269) 695-7119 or adam@thebasc.org 🏳️‍🌈 ...

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Our next Book Chat book is the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson! Originally published in 1959, it's considered one of the best literary ghost stories published in the 20th century. We'd like to provide a trigger warning for suicide and horror themes, so make sure to take care of yourself and be cautious with this subject matter if you need to.

This Book Chat will be Thursday, February 16, at 6 PM at the OutCenter📖 We hope to see you there!
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Tyre Nichols’ funeral was held yesterday in Memphis, Tennessee.

He loved skateboarding and photography, and he deserved to live past the age of 29. The reality of police brutality against Black folks in America is relentless, devastating, and shameful. We cannot look away.

When we say Black lives matter, we don’t just mean during Black History Month, but every day. As members of another marginalized community, it is absolutely crucial for non-Black LGBTQ+ folks to provide the same allyship and support to Black Americans that we ask others to provide to us. Always.

If you’d like to donate to Tyre’s memorial fund, you can do so at the link in our bio (TW for graphic photo).

Beautiful artwork is by @hellaleah💛
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Happy February, everyone! Here's a look at this month at the OutCenter:

Starting with Faith Chat tomorrow and our social at Haymarket next week, we've got a full month of winter programs for you❄️ It's also #BlackHistoryMonth, so stay tuned for a month of celebrating, honoring, and shining a light on our Black Queer community!🤎

For a full calendar that includes our Drop-In hours, visit https://outcenter.org/calendar at the link in our bio🔗
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