Who We Are >
The Pride Center of Western New York, an affiliate of Evergreen Health, is a Buffalo-based 501(c)3 health promotion organization specializing in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) health and HIV prevention. Established in 2001, The Pride Center's goal is to promote the lifelong health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people.
Our office is in Buffalo, but we provide services throughout the eight counties of Western New York State.
We’re primarily funded by the NYSDOH - AIDS Institute and our work forms an integral part of the New York State Governor's HIV Strategy - Ending the Epidemic.
The mission of the Pride Center of Western New York is to work with the community to make Western New York a safe, healthy, and satisfying place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people to live, work, and establish their families.
The Pride Center envisions an LGBTQ community in which individuals feel safe, secure, and affirmed where they live, work, worship, and play. The Pride Center will be an integrated part of the social fabric of Western New York, nurtured by those we have served.
OUR CORE VALUES
Courage, Empathy, Diversity, Equality, Partnership, Community, Adaptability
WHAT WE'RE HERE FOR
Thousands of LGBTQ people live in WNY and tens of thousands more visit every year -- check out Pride Week! We’re here to help LGBTQ people take control of their health so they can look after themselves as well as their partners, family and friends. We provide the latest information on health issues affecting LGBTQ people, and we offer a range of services delivered by caring people who genuinely understand the health issues affecting LGBTQ people. Our services cover:
- Sexual health
- Alcohol and drugs
- Safety and inclusion
- Domestic and family violence
- Training and education
- Resources and referrals
Advances in HIV testing and treatments mean we can end HIV transmission in New York State, but only if people test often, find a prevention plan that works for them, and treat early if they test positive for HIV. We’re here to help them do this by:
- Promoting education campaigns
- Operating rapid HIV and STI testing facilities
- Running sexual health workshops
- Providing a range of support services
- Distributing thousands of free condoms every year throughout WNY
- Providing linkage to PrEP
WHO WE'RE HERE FOR
The Pride Center is here for:
- People with HIV
- Gay and bisexual+ men
- Lesbians and same-sex attracted women
- Transgender and gender non-binary people
We also have dedicated services for:
- Young gay/bi+ men
- LGBTQ people of color
- Older LGBTQ people
- Caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias
And through our Training & Education team we work with:
- Service providers
- Community organizations
- Schools, colleges, and universities
WHY WE'RE HERE
The people and communities we serve face the same broad health issues as everyone else. However, mainstream service providers don’t always respond adequately to their needs due to a lack of knowledge, understanding and/or acceptance.
Our communities also have specific health needs that are best met by community-based organizations with knowledge and experience, particularly in relation to HIV, sexual health, discrimination and social isolation.
We meet this challenge by providing information and services which support the specific needs of LGBTQ people and people with HIV, and which improves their access to mainstream services.
HOW WE WORK
We’re a community-based organization. This means our work is done in our community and for our community by members of our community.
We believe that people and communities affected by an epidemic should be included and active in any local or global response. For example, in WNY, gay men are the most affected by HIV and so we consult widely with gay men and involve them in all relevant activities.
We believe the promotion of health-enhancing information, values and behavior is most effectively done by peers, people who share similar social backgrounds or life experiences as the populations we serve.
LGBTQ Sex Positivity
We support and promote a positive, life-affirming view of sexual activity in all its diversity. We recognize that a denigration of LGBTQ sexual activity is strongly linked with homophobia and transphobia, and that mutually consensual sexual activity should be honored and encouraged.
We maintain close collaborative ties with key researchers, HIV/AIDS centers and LGBTQ centers within NYS and incorporate new evidence and research into our strategic, organizational and project planning. Evidence-based responses are essential to retaining the trust of our community, organizational partners and funders.
In 1998, a group of community members and LGBTQ+ business owners concerned by the challenges facing the Buffalo LGBTQ community formed the Gay & Lesbian Coalition. Recognizing the need for a place where the LGBTQ+ community could go for support and resources, they established the Pride Center of Western New York. The Pride Center incorporated in 2001 and received its first funding for staff and programming from the New York State Department of Health in 2002.
In 2008, the Pride Center joined the Evergreen Association, with partners Evergreen Health and Community Access Services. The Association provides fiscal, personnel, marketing and strategic planning to its members. Concurrently, the Pride Center moved onto the Evergreen Association campus in downtown Buffalo, co-locating with Association partners. This arrangement allows a comprehensive continuum of services between organizations to be provides onsite in a safe and secure physical environment. In 2019, Evergreen Health was established as the parent company and the Pride Center is an affiliate of Evergreen Health. Under this new structure, the Pride Center remains a 501(c)3 organization.
Since our inception, we’ve been at the forefront of advocacy around issues relating to LGBTQ health, drawing on our close connections to community to identify emerging issues and create dialogue around these issues with policy makers and researchers. We’ve also worked alongside researchers and our community partners to build a stronger evidence base around LGBTQ health disparities, much of which has subsequently affirmed the issues identified by our communities.