Since Bryan Bebb founded the Glacier Queer Alliance roughly two years ago and operated out of a closet-sized space at the former Kalispell hospital, the nonprofit recently opened an 1,800-square-foot community resource center at the Gateway Community Center in Kalispell where it will host a full schedule of small groups and educational events.
“Our main goal was to move toward a space that’s a community space that could be walk-in accessible to gain access to resources,” Bebb said.
The rainbow-splattered facility now has nearly 200 LGBTQ and non-binary works of literature for community members to check out, while offering a space to host social and educational groups like a games-plus group and a trans-plus group for those who identify on the non-binary spectrum.
There are about nine different groups on the Glacier Queer Alliance’s Facebook page, some of which are not currently active because there wasn’t a space to host them, but Bebb plans to reactivate those groups and add more.
“We’re hoping to expand the attendance of those groups,” Bebb said.
The Glacier Queer Alliance also recently started a peer-to-peer group for families of kids ages 8 to 13 to offer support for those who are starting to identify or question their identity.
Over the past few years, Bebb has cultivated positive relationships with other nonprofits like the Abbie Shelter and the Sparrow’s Nest, and Glacier Queer Alliance recently partnered with Flathead Family Planning to get access to home HIV testing kits.
In addition to providing resources for the LGBTQ community, Bebb hopes the center will also be an educational tool to help change the overall environment of queer acceptance in the Flathead Valley by offering courses called “Decoding the Alphabet Soup,” which emphasizes the importance of using pronouns.
“It’s a safe place for the community to connect and access education,” Bebb said. “We feel like for this community, that’s the best approach … This physical region can be behind a decade or two compared to more urban areas.”
Resource center hours are on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours will gradually expand.
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