LGBT Center of Raleigh Now Open

LGBT Center of Raleigh Now Open

May, 05, 2010, by Jedidiah

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photo by Ray Colodonato

It’s been a while, but we mentioned back in October that Raleigh was finally (one of the last major metropolises in the country) getting a LGBT Center in downtown. The time has come and this Friday, the new LGBT Center will have its Grand Opening celebration on Friday May 7th. The office will be located at 316 W. Cabarrus St behind Jibarra and a few doors down from Deep South (The Bar).

The Warehouse District is slowly becoming more and more of a central location for gay-friendly, progressive businesses and art galleries. There is even more brewing in this area, including the Multi-modal center and a few other smaller efforts. Once CAM opens, there will be no turning back. The Warehouse District will indeed be the place to be in the downtown area.

The office will also serve as office space for Triangle Community Works (TCW), an LGBT non-profit that recently became part of the Center. The office is equipped to host informal social events, conferences for up to 16 people and is a short walk from the gay-friendly businesses on Hargett St, the new Convention center and the new City of Raleigh Amphitheatre. In addition, the center has just appointed an executive director, Bobby Hilburn, to run the Center’s efforts full-time. Hilburn, a former financial adviser with Ameriprise financial, will serve as the Center’s full-time executive director. Prior to his appointment, he was vice president on the Center’s board of directors.

In addition, the LGBT Center of Raleigh has begun accepting donations for area residents to become a part of the Founder’s Triangle, a permanent installation commemorating the first 1000 people and business to donate $100 or more to the center. It will serve as a monument to those who had the vision to assist with this historic undertaking from its conception.

See more over at the LGBT Center of Raleigh’s website including a full calendar of events.

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  • boylanhghts
    05/06 12:49 AM

    While I’m certainly for the organization to be getting a space, I’m not entirely sure that a space in the depot building communitywise is the right location.  Don’t get me wrong, its a great spot, I just wish a retail outlet (grocer) or another restaurant had snapped it up first.  There are plenty of empty storefronts that need to filled that would have also been great office space.  But once again, congrats to the center for getting a physical location.

  • John
    05/06 02:04 AM

    Is it really that Raleigh is one of the last major metropolises to get a center or perhaps, is it that by getting a center, Raleigh has made a case for BEING a major metropolis?  It’s a subtle difference…

  • RaleighRob
    05/06 09:28 AM

    @boylanhghts - it’s not in the depot actually, but a building right adjacent to the Depot’s back entrance, next to Deep South.

  • JeffC
    05/06 11:56 AM

    A big reason we are one of the last cities in the US to have a permanent LGBT community center is the fact that for decades many prominant LGBT leaders opposed it.  The reason?  Because they all had ownership interests in one of the area gay bars, and a community center offered a non-booze soaked alternative (and competition).

  • Bill
    05/06 12:08 PM

    RaleighRob, I think BoylanHeights was just joking.  Another one of the New Raleigh parody comments along the lines of “Some of my best friends are gay but I’d prefer a grocery store in downtown.”

  • billie
    05/06 01:07 PM

    Yay!! And what a beautiful website!!

  • John
    05/06 01:36 PM

    Which came first, the grocery or the gays?
    All one has to do is look at other cities and it becomes evident that “early urban pioneers” are almost always heavily represented by the gay community. 
    A grocery won’t happen until the demand is there.  When more people live downtown, a viable grocery will come and be successful.

  • Harry Seaward
    05/06 02:01 PM

    this is so gay

  • Micah
    05/06 02:07 PM

    JeffC, What a ridiculous and completely unsubstantiated comment!  Firstly, there are three “gay” bars in this area.  With the exception of one brief fourth bar, this is all there has ever been.  Between these three bars there are, I think, 4 or 5 owners.  I can say with near certainty that most of these owners couldn’t care less about an LGBT center opening even if it were right next door to their bars!  It is ludicrous to think that a bar owner might think that a community center would be any kind of a business threat.  Most gay bar owners would probably welcome a center near their bars since it would actually HELP business!  There has been no LGBT center here because the gay community either didn’t want and/or didn’t need it yet.  Simple as that.

  • JeffC
    05/06 03:04 PM

    May be ridiculous to you, but I’ve heard it straight from the horse’s (jackass’s?) mouth.  “Why do we need a community center when we have Legends and the CC?”  Meanwhile, their pockets were being lined by said establishments…

  • Micah
    05/06 03:43 PM

    I know every one of gay bar owners here in Raleigh, and unfortunately I believe that not one of them really cares if we have a community center or not.  It simply isn’t important to them.  I’d also wager the majority of the gay community here doesn’t care either.  Go to Legends on a Saturday night and do an poll.  I’ll bet a large sum of money that most people you ask couldn’t even tell you what a “LGBT Community Center” is or what they might do for the community.

  • RaleighRob
    05/06 04:27 PM

    The bars hardly have anyone there until after 11pm.  A community center will be where organizations can have a set meeting spot (daytime, early evenings) instead of hopping around different places.  I don’t think anyone rational would think they could possibly compete.  oy.

    05/06 05:49 PM

    The reason you’ve never had a LGBT center is the reason you don’t have 5, 6, or 19 gay bars….THERE IS NO DEMAND FOR ONE.  It’s the same reason there isn’t a grocery store - you’d lose your shirt (no dancefloor pun intended).  The only way you’ll get this thing is if it’s taxpayer funded, like the public library, or The Mint.  This makes it unfair to taxpayers who don’t support this thing and yet are having to pay for it.  And before you chime in with “it isn’t tax funded” is.  If it’s a non-profit, it doesn’t pay taxes.  If it doesn’t pay taxes, I have to pay more.  If a real, free-market store were to open in the same spot, raleigh would realize the tax gains from it.  So, yes, it is taxpayer funded.

    Enjoy your center.  I can think of other ways to spend that money….but then again, that wouldn’t make us a “major metropolis”...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA MAJOR METROPOLIS!!!! lol

  • John
    05/06 07:23 PM

    Hey Instigator,
    Churches are tax exempt and there are a lot more of them.  So, if you are so concerned about lost revenues, perhaps you should look to the hundreds of churches in the area first.
    I’m just sayin’...

  • Rostel
    05/06 09:59 PM

    Nobody cares about the ligebets…...moving on.

  • boylanhghts
    05/06 11:47 PM

    If its not moving into the depot building then what is moving into the end space?  there’s been a ton of activity and furniture moving the last couple of weeks.

  • miamiblue
    05/07 09:20 AM

    “If its not moving into the depot building then what is moving into the end space?  there‚Äôs been a ton of activity and furniture moving the last couple of weeks.”

    It is supposedly going to be some sort of bar or restaurant. I saw a guy who was working in there the other day after leaving Jibarra, and he said that it is supposed to be opening on May 13.

  • tjoad
    05/07 09:47 AM

    Ess lounge is relocating to the end space.  They will have a new name too:  Hush.

  • scoop
    05/07 11:53 AM

    it is ess lounge… patiently waiting for uncle kracker to christen the bright white furniture

  • Tony Woodard
    05/07 12:36 PM

    Micah, you don’t know what you are talking about. Firstly, there have been ATLEAST 7 gay bars here in Raleigh over the past twelve years. I should know because I sucked dick in each and everyone of them. In so much as the owners of the three, existing bars are concerned, I agree they don’t give a fuck about a community center. Which is a shame because they make their living from the gays but can’t seem to be very supportive. Though, as you say, it’s not like most of the gays have been really interested in a center to begin with. This ignorance however does not preclude their need. If more of the young ones had been exposed to non-bar alternatives, perhaps you all wouldn’t be such embarrassments to your elders.
    BTW, certain groups of people have been working toward this goal for at least the last 14 years, so yeah, people have been needing and wanting it for quite awhile.

    05/07 04:30 PM

    John - you make an interesting point.  Not in pointing out that churches are also tax-exempt, but in assuming I support that notion, which I do not.

    So, back to my point: waste of money.

  • Glory Hole Aficionado
    05/07 04:55 PM

    Hey INSTIGATOR, how many gay bars have you sucked dick in?  You could probably give Tony W a run for his money.

  • Todd Morman
    05/07 11:52 PM

    I was at the opening tonight (which was packed, btw) and asked Les, the center’s treasurer, what he thought of the gossip posted here by JeffC. He laughed and said that Flex, one of the three gay bars in town, had been extremely supportive from the very beginning, and that CCs and Legends have also been on board for a while now. In fact, the center is holding a fundraising “takeover” at CCs tomorrow night, and other events at Legends soon. Seriously, JeffC’s anonymous gossip is worth what most anonymous gossip is worth online: nothing. Also, it’s great to see the upcoming helpline trainings next weekend and an event scheduled for Wilson, NC the weekend after that. Rest assured, there’s interest enough for this center and then some.

  • Bobby Hilburn
    05/08 01:16 AM

    We at the LGBT Center of Raleigh would like to thank everyone who came out tonight to show their support. We are even more enthusiastic and encouraged after the turn out tonight.

  • John
    05/08 04:27 AM

    Dear Instigator: I am not saying one way or the other that you do or do not support the tax exempt status of churches. I am just pointing out that they have existed in a tax exempt status for (what seems like) forever without narry a word from those who would use such an argument against a single establishment.  I am just pointing out that, if this argument is used now, why hasn’t it been used earlier in instances where there is a significant price “paid” by the tax paying public?  I think it’s a valid question. It would seem to me that there would be a lot more to “gain” by eliminating the tax exempt status for churches than there would be by targeting a tiny operation like the lgbt center of Raleigh. 
    ...just food for thought….  Peace!

  • frank
    05/10 10:57 AM


  • JeffC
    05/11 10:37 AM

    Todd M.‘s reporting of the bars getting “on board” isn’t surprising, considering the LGBT Center train is now leaving the station (and they don’t want to alienate their clientele).  It’s one thing to jump on board something after others have struggled for years to make it a reality, it’s quite another thing to support something when it’s in its infancy/formative stages, which Flex, CC, and Legends most certainly did not as Triangle Community Works struggled for decades to get something off the ground.  This is the old Republican trick of fighting something behind the scenes, then have a last minute “conversion” once it becomes a reality.

  • arthurb3
    05/11 01:45 PM

    Oh, Jeff! You called them out!

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