When Carole Lender and Leslie Johnson started our PFLAG GVL chapter nearly 30 years ago, an LGBTQ+ community center in the Upstate was just a dream. That dream came to fruition last fall with the opening of the Queer Wellness Center.
Three organizations serving local LGBTQ+ folx announced last June they had partnered to secure a 6,000-square-foot building that would become the home of the QWC — the first community center and wellness clinic for LGBTQ+ people in the Upstate. The center opened in November, housing Pride Link, Amaryllis Counseling, and 864Pride.
“Not only is it historic to have such a center in Greenville,” said Larry Candler (he/him), one of PFLAG GVL’s founding members, “it is vital to the future health of LGBTQ people in Greenville and surrounding communities, now and for years to come.”
There are more than 130,000 LGBTQ+ people living in the Upstate, and this community still faces discrimination, isolation, and health disparities today. The QWC offers space for LGBTQ+ people of all ages to access social support, health and wellness services, and connection to LGBTQ+ affirming resources.
“We are just one piece of a much larger message to the community that together we are capable of truly great things,” said Liz Serricchio (she/her), co-owner of Amaryllis Counseling and co-founder of 864Pride. “I am grateful to the community for believing in this vision with us, and humbled to be part of answering a very real need that will change lives.”
“Greenville is my hometown,” said Laura Davis (she/her), co-owner of Amaryllis Counseling and co-founder of 864Pride, “and it feels surreal to be able to bring a much needed resource like this to the place I grew up. We have built this space with enormous help from the community and are ready to keep following our mission!”
Ethan Johnstone (he/him), lead community builder of Pride Link, said, “As a trans person who has lived in the Upstate my whole life and navigated the barriers in healthcare, employment, and social support, I’m so thankful for all the community members and leaders before us who paved the way for this type of space to exist.”
PFLAG GVL is grateful to have the QWC available as a site for our monthly support group meetings, while our longtime home at the Red Cross building remains closed to the public during the pandemic. If you haven’t visited the QWC yet, plan on coming to our April meeting.
At our March meeting, we invited attendees to bring donations of business and professional clothing for the QWC’s upcoming LGBT Career Extravaganza job fair, taking place April 6. Our generous members completely overloaded the table that was provided to collect the items.
How to help
Additional donations of many kinds are being accepted on an ongoing basis for the QWC’s resource pantry. No donation is too big or too small. Consider giving the following items:
Gently used clothing in various sizes and styles
New undergarments — socks, underwear, etc.
Gently used or new compression binders
New tucking gaffs
Hygiene products and toiletries — full size and travel size
To make a donation, please contact Keona Prude at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 864-655-5193 ext 265.