The East End Gay Organization is getting a facelift and a long-term vision for a permanent Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Center on the East End.
Staff members of the Long Island GLBT Network released a plan to implement more diverse offerings of support and social events for the East End during a Thursday evening meeting in Bridgehampton at the Bridgehampton National Bank community room. Longer-term goals include establishing a GLBT community center on the East End. To that end, the organization is looking for new members who can provide a gathering place.
According to the network’s East End GLBT Community Report, the East End is more diverse than previously perceived. The network staff has proposed a three-part plan of action to address immediate needs — a safe and supportive space, support for youth and parents, family programs, increased school awareness and political activism. The report concluded that many people are seeking services and support in the areas of networking, business-to-business contacts, social gathering and mental health support as well as groups that might provide bereavement counseling and family services.
Director of Development Robert Vitelli of the Long Island GLBT Network is in the process of building the financial support. “We’re ambitious because we are responding to the needs of the East End community,” Vitelli said. “We are demonstrating our commitment because we are serious about providing a place and support to GLBT people.”
“Many of the older members of the community are isolated,” program coordinator Irene Tsikitas said. “We will have programs to bring people together.”
Some of the proposed programs are a summer kick-off; a mingle by SAGE-LI, Senior Action in a Gay Environment; a family-fun event; networking for East End professionals, and other socials and mixers.
In addition to the social events, a Gay-Straight Alliance networking night will bring GSAs to the East End to create safe and supportive schools. Moreover, there will be a parents support group to create a safe space to meet other parents, share, listen and be heard.
Brad Bender of Flanders, a candidate for Southampton Town Council, said there is a need for a dedicated space for people to gather. “We are married, but we’d like to meet others on a social level,” he said.
The next meeting for the GLBT community on the East End of will be on May 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the community meeting room in Bridgehampton.
For more information, visit www.liglbtnetwork.org.