Aug 05, 2022 |

Client Spotlight: Q Center Builds Resilience for Queer and Trans Communities in Portland

Even in a place as friendly and welcoming as Portland, Oregon, Queer and Trans folks need spaces that provide resources, support, and opportunities to meet and connect. Q Center provides safe spaces, community building, and empowerment for the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and allies in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2022-2023, Q Center is focusing its programming on Queer Joy and Queer Need. Queer Joy includes creating space for community-building and providing space and resources for artists and creatives. Queer Need supports the community with resources to address the conditions leading to houselessness, as well as barriers to Queer and Trans-affirming resources and shelters.

A place of resilience

Q Center is a gathering place where Queer and Trans Portlanders can connect and network. “Not everything happens at Q Center, so we try to support folks in finding their people and then creating success outside our walls,” says Ian Morton (he/him), Executive Director. “We bring folks together to build their power.”

“Portland is majority white and cis, so we’re mindful of how we reflect and amplify our entire community within Q Center,” says Ian. “We’re building programming with and for four key groups in our community: artists and creatives, Queer elders, Trans, nonbinary, two-spirit, and gender expansive folks, and BIPOC folks. These groups come together and self-determine what programming and resources they want and need from Q Center.”

TK stands in front the Q Center float. They are leaning backward excitedly and holding up a double peace sign. They are wearing a KN95, black pants, and the t-shirt described in the caption. The words are in black text. The float is a truck decorated with rainbow fringe, green balloon arches with a few pink, red, yellow, marble pink, white, blue, and marble blue yellow white balloons. The trailer on the back continues this decoration.
TK (they/them), Facilities and Volunteer Coordinator getting everyone organized for this year’s Pride Parade. They are also wearing one of the items of the Q Center’s official merch, featuring art by a trans youth artist.

Resources and support in a trusted community space

Accessibility is a top priority for Q Center, from the accessibility of the building to online accessibility tools and more. “We think about all forms of accessibility, including where and how people access services and support. We bring various services into our building to help people access the support they need more easily and safely. Having resources in our building, where people may already be and feel safe, makes those services more accessible. We’re trying to eliminate barriers wherever we can,” says Ian. In addition to finding the right services, Q Center also allocates money in every program budget for accessibility.

Q Center leases and provides office space for organizations that support the Queer and Trans community. Ryley Copans (they/them), Development and Communication Coordinator, says, “We are intentional about who we include. All the organizations operating in our building provide direct services that support Portland’s Queer and Trans community.” The People’s Pantry Emergency Food Project makes healthy food available to those who need it, focusing on serving the LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC communities. Equi provides resources for folks experiencing houselessness and has Community Health Workers and Peer Support Specialists available on-site. Oregon Pride in Business will also be on-site, assisting with resumes and eventually hosting job fairs. In addition, Q Center is developing a career closet with gender-affirming professional clothes to help folks in their job search and their careers.

Six people in front of a tall white closet. Full-length mirrors are on the middle doors. They are all wearing masks, t-shirts, and either jeans or jean shorts. One person holds a medium-sized black dog on a leash. A person kneeling on the right side of the group holds a hammer.
Q Center is ecstatic to announce their Gender Affirming Career Closet is officially accepting donations! Q Center hopes to make a wide range of sizes available, as well as be able to offer gender-affirming items.

Banking that supports community

In addition to providing space, Q Center is also a fiscal sponsor for community projects and organizations that are not independent nonprofit organizations. “One of our fiscally sponsored projects just incorporated into their own 501(c)3, and Craig Hill [VP, Client & Treasury Manager at Beneficial State Bank] has been hugely helpful as we transition their finances into separate accounts,” says Ian. “The Beneficial State Bank team is responsive, and we’ve had great service there.”

Q Center works to make its space and programming available and accessible to all. Donate to support their work so they can continue to lower the barriers and increase access to resources that support Portland’s Queer and Trans community.