If you’re queer and considering moving to the Capital Region or just recently started living here, chances are you have encountered the familiar stats and info blurbs below on the inclusivity of this place…
Regional LGBTQIA Resources
On our list there are only one or two groups that are specifically built as LGBTQIA resources. Yet more service providers are creating space for the LGBTQ+ community. CapNY reached out to some of the Albany residents who are actually working at these organizations.
The Big Picture
- Based on data from the 2000 Census, Albany ranks 66% above the national average for people who self-identify as gay or lesbian.
- Human Rights Campaign gave Albany a perfect score on its 2017 Municipal Equality Index. The index takes into account non-discrimination laws, hate crimes, pro-equality legislation and a number of other pro-LGBTQ+ indicators.
- The Pride Center of the Capital Region is the oldest continuously operating LGBTQ center in the country. Based in Albany, the Pride Center has been meeting the diverse needs of the LGBTQ community since 1970.
- The Pride Center of the Capital Region hosts the Capital Pride Festival, one of the largest celebrations of pride in Upstate New York every June.
Yet, numbers don’t paint a complete picture of the queer community in Albany. You might identify as gay, lesbian, bi, trans, gender nonconforming, pan, non-binary, intersex, ace, or are in the ‘Still figuring it out’, ‘It’s complicated’ or ‘No labels’ camps. The following LGBTQIA resources are ones you might turn to as queer individual.
HIV/AIDS Support and Other LGBTQ+ Centered Health Services
We see organizations are working to become more inclusive towards an increasingly diverse population of potential clients. A couple organizations specifically serve the unique needs of LGBTQ+ clients. And many more service providers have carved out space for the LGBTQ+ community. They focus beyond HIV/AIDS support, to include access to PrEP and other health screenings .
The Damien Center
728 Madison Avenue – Suite 100, Albany, NY 12208518-449-7119, email@example.com
Founded in 1988, the Damien Center is offers resources designed to improve health, reduce stress and increase the quality of life. Damien Center is a supportive space for individuals and families living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Membership-based, they provide programs and services, free-of-charge, in a welcoming and culturally diverse environment. Their programs include housing for those with HIV who survived chronic homelessness. They provide pathways and guidance for employment, meals and nutrition assistance, pharmacy services, and even support with pet care. 88% of the Damien Center’s budget goes to its programs, overwhelmingly for people living below the poverty line.
Alliance for Positive Health
Multiple Offices in Albany, Glens Falls, Hudson, Plattsburgh, and Schenectady
The Alliance for Positive Health provides a continuum of direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS and their family members. They offer care management to people with other chronic illnesses who are enrolled in Medicaid. Prevention programs offer effective, innovative solutions that make a significant impact on reducing new HIV infections. They connect clients to culturally competent LGBTQ+ friendly health services and resources. Among the care offerings is free and confidential HIV/STI/Hep C testing, PrEP assistance, and help accessing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Staff advocates for your health needs with your providers. They also have an active Facebook page.
Known for its array of free to low-cost health services, Planned Parenthoods have the culturally competent markers of multiple gender identity options. The gender affirming staff know to ask your pronouns. They are more than comfortable listing every kind of partner and sex option under the sun. It doesn’t feel like you’re having to come out to your nurse or doctor. ‘Partner’ is an emergency contact option on their intake forms. Plus, gay or straight, they’re always happy to offer that to-go bag of condoms (and sometimes finger condoms!). Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood covers Albany, Troy, and Hudson. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York covers Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and beyond. Some centers will have specific days or hours to reserved for teens seeking services.
Pride Center of the Capital Region
The Pride Center of the Capital Region is a legacy institution that organizes the yearly Capital Pride event. The weeklong celebration in June features everything from Alt Prom to BBQ’s to a 5K run. The event culminates with a Pride Parade & Pride Festival that always falls on the 2nd Sunday in June. Price Center offers a number of programs including support groups for every age bracket. They have a load of professional trainings and educational programs for health providers, K-12 schools, colleges, businesses, organizations, and government agencies in their 10-county service area. The express purpose is to improve services for LGBTQ individuals and community through education and professional development training.
In 2017 the center’s positions came into question. The executive director shared a controversial article regarding transphobia on the org’s public Facebook page. Still, for some in the community, leadership has still not met with a reckoning over the affair. The community want the center to continue, yet a wariness persists when leadership seems unchanged.
The center is located at 332 Hudson Avenue, Albany, NY 12210. They have a contact form on the website and can be called at (518) 462-6138.
Saratoga Pride is an affiliate of the Pride Center of the Capital Region. The network of LGBTQ community members and allies are dedicated to fostering connections among Saratoga area LGBTQ community members and visitors. Their efforts improve the visibility of the LGBTQ community in Saratoga and the surrounding region. They recognize local businesses and organizations that welcome the LGBTQ community. Increasing awareness of LGBTQ-owned and inclusive businesses and services in the region is central to their mission. Check out their community directory for anything from LGBTQ+ friendly faith communities to hairdressers and bars. Communicate with Saratoga Pride by contact form, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe for notices of their events or find out what’s going on via their Facebook page.
Many organizations, nonprofits, groups, and service providers are based right in the state capital. However, there are plenty of other community-based LGBTQIA resources. OutHudson is one of them – a volunteer-led non-profit organization operating since 2016. Their mission is to improve the quality of life and advance the visibility of LGBTQ people in Columbia County. They organize the annual OutHudson Pride Festival, which includes about 12 events during Father’s Day Weekend.
Throughout the year, OutHudson organizes various social and educational LGBTQ events in Columbia County. This includes movie screenings, intergenerational programming, potlucks, discussion groups, youth/teen support groups and events, drag brunches, cabaret shows, author/poetry readings, Drag Queen Story Time, community town halls, boat cruises, educational workshops, family days at Chaseholm Farm, HIV/AIDS programming, and LGBTQ tourism events. OutHudson also sponsors an annual scholarship award for local high school seniors. Join their Facebook page or reach out via email at email@example.com.
Written by: Mia Nilo
Mia Nilo is an overeducated, self-identified hustler hell bent on undermining the status quo through overly opinionated think pieces and reviews written from the perspective of a queer, woman of color Millennial. Attended Oxford about as long as Gatsby did and has settled for an Upstate New York life despite her Southern California heart. When not writing, hiking, or wine tasting, you can find her at book club or a local protest. Read more of her work on www.miagnilo.com/blog. You can also find her cooking or latest scrabble game on her Insta @mia_bitesoflife and see what’s currently making her laugh the hardest on her Twitter @bitesize_rant.