By Hannah Fisher
Although the city of Worcester seems to have a lot of diversity in terms of the LGBTQ+ community, the city actually does not have many resources supporting that community. When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community nightlife is a very important aspect in bringing the community together, yet there is only one dedicated gay bar in Worcester. This gay bar is the MB Lounge, which is mainly dedicated to a gay and male audience. This leaves everyone else in the community with nowhere to go to let off some steam, especially young people that cannot even go to bars. This is a huge issue within the community: the youth of the LGBTQ+ community have few places to go to be themselves. Worcester can grow so much more as a city if they begin to provide more opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community to gather.
Although I may make it seem like there are no resources for the community, there actually are some already in place. For example, there is an annual pride parade that takes place in Worcester, but the community needs more. There is also an event in Worcester called “Airspray”, which is a party held for queer people and allies two times a month. This event is an example of something that needs to occur more often in Worcester because it brings the community together as well as giving queer people the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and have fun with people like them. With Worcester being a large city, there must be advocates for the LGBTQ+ community to gain more resources and events for the group, and one of the biggest advocates is Dale LePage. In 2019 Dale won the Harvey Ball Smile Award, because of the huge impact he had on the LGBTQ+ community of Worcester. Dale united the queer community and has been one of the biggest advocates for LGBTQ+ individuals Worcester has ever known.
With nine colleges in Worcester, there is a huge opportunity for these schools to give resources to their LGBTQ+ students. Worcester State being one of them with a good amount of resources, such as their LBGTQ+ Alliance group. This group’s goal is to not only help people in the community feel united, but also attempts to educate the campus so that we may further understand and accept people in the community. Having a group like this on all campuses would be helpful with uniting queer people, as well as making sure all students on campuses know they need to accept all people. WPI, another college in Worcester, also has an alliance group as well as many more resources for people in the community with mental health issues. This can be very important because a lot of the time being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can coincide with having a mental illness, or just needing support. Commenting on what the schools in Worcester have for resources is very important to me because these schools can be the only places young adults in the LGBTQ+ community have to be themselves.
Next, I am going to discuss the medical/health resources Worcester has to offer for the community. The Central Massachusetts Health Center has a guide on the Planned Parenthood website describing what services they offer for the LGBTQ+ community. They offer educational resources specifically for people in the community, as well as service referrals for things like gender hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery. Although these resources are great to have, it can be very difficult for people in the community to receive them because of how expensive they may be. This is why I believe that there needs to be more resources put into place that help the LGBTQ+ community cover their health services and needs.
Compared to other cities/towns Worcester does offer a decent amount of resources for LGBTQ+ members residing in the community, but there is a need for more. Young adults, especially those not in college have little to no place to be themselves and unite with people that are members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a huge reason why Worcester needs to hold more events involving the queer community. As well as giving a place for young adults in the community to be themselves, adults in the community need more places to socialize too. With there only being one dedicated gay bar in Worcester, the LGBTQ+ community only has one place meant for them, and this needs to change. Worcester as a whole offers healthcare resources, Alliance groups at local colleges, and many more events involving the LGBTQ+ community. Although Worcester does already have some resources for the queer community, having more events and health resources would benefit the LGBTQ+ community greatly as well as uniting the community as a whole.