How We Help
The Center serves as the public face and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Panama City and throughout Bay County, Florida. Through leadership within the community, cultural competency training outside the community, media representation, and innovative collaboration with other community agencies, we aim to improve the quality of life in the Panhandle of Florida. We believe in the power of coming together for the greater good of all individuals. While rewarding, the work we do is not for the faint of heart, it takes courage and it takes conviction. Every day we learn more about the positive impact we have on our community, but we also witness the daily struggles of those who so desperately need our support. The LGBTQ Center of Bay County Inc. currently operates the only dedicated all-inclusive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and straight-allied (LGBTQ+) youth program in the Panhandle of Florida. The Center provides a place to promote safe, positive physical and mental health. The Center provides support for people of all ages, genders, and orientations. We are creating a community that embraces diversity, inclusion and equity.
Why are culturally competent, allocated resources for the LGBTQ community necessary?
LGBTQ+ youth experience high rates of homelessness, making it more difficult to reach them during an emergency.High rates of isolation for LGBTQ+ seniors means they are more likely to be alone, and less likely to have familial resources that can support receiving emergency messages and accessing resources. Access to HIV medication or hormones can be limited or nonexistent as providers are unavailable or undervalue the importance of maintaining these regimens and shelter accommodations are often not compliant with appropriately affirming gender identity.The LGBTQ+ population has a significant lack of trust with emergency responders and health care systems that have discriminated against them before.Nontraditional structures of families are frequently disrespected by emergency or recovery services resulting in families that become separated or are unable to access appropriate resources.
That’s where the LGBTQ Center of Bay County steps in!
With your help, as we rebuild post hurricane Michael, we will be providing services to those that are traditionally overlooked and have unique needs. All monies donated to the Center are used to help individuals and families enhance their lives. With the help of our generous community we provide direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing assistance and more. The Center’s community partners coordinate support for homeless youth, seniors, people living with HIV, hate crime survivors, and those devastated by the storm. Please join us!