Q Center is active, but needs a home

11/21/2015

By Sue Cody

 

MarcoThe Lower Columbia Q Center was born from the idea of a place to serve the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community. “We wanted something tangible – a place where people could go and feel comfortable,” said Marco Davis, chairman of the Q Center Steering Committee.

 

“There has been a shift in our country,” Davis said in an interview. “We’re in new terrain. We are finding ways to communicate and be more supportive and understanding. We want to be ourselves and not apologize for being ourselves.”

 

“We want the Q Center to not only be a support, but a resource for this community,” Davis said. Transgender people can’t get their drugs in Clatsop County, he said. The Q Center is gathering information such as which doctors are comfortable serving the LGBTQIA community.

 

“This is an important time for us to have a physical presence as a group,” Davis said. The center serves Clatsop County and surrounding areas, including Ilwaco and Long Beach, Wash.

 

The Q Center is still looking for a physical space. It planned to connect with The Harbor, but with shifts there, things are uncertain. 

 

“Our seed has been planted, we have good fertilizer on the soil, and now we have to see where we sprout up and grow,” Davis said.

 

“Our services go hand in hand with the mission of The Harbor, so we will be involved with them in some way. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ community also has to deal with sexual assault, abuse and domestic violence,” Davis said.

 

More than a resource center

 

A singing group is in formative stages. “There is something so lovely about voices blending together,” Davis said. The group would meet once or twice a month and work on show tunes and contemporary music.

 

“If we get our ducks in a row, we would like to perform,” Davis said.

 

Ideas for the Q Center include a library, spiritual groups, gay movie nights, social mixers and other activities.

 

A Big Gay Skate Night is planned from 9 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Astoria Armory, 407 17th St. All are welcome after the Shanghaied Roller Dolls bout. After 9 p.m., the event is for adults only.

 

KK Q CenterReaching out to teens

 

An Astoria High School student saw a flier with a rainbow on it in Counselor Andrew Fick’s office. The flier was about the Q Center. Kaheawai Kaonihi, nicknamed KK, was intrigued and attended a Q Center Steering Committee meeting in September. He then volunteered as a member.

 

“I was blown away when KK showed up at the meeting,” Davis said. “It was so beautiful to see him show up with his mom. She left and came back with his stepdad.”

 

KK said he was nervous going to the first Q Center meeting. “People assume you are straight,” KK said in an interview. “It’s hard to think you are different.”

 

He said he would like to create a LGBTQIA youth group outside of high school. The school has a Rainbow Club, but some teens aren’t comfortable there.

 

“If a teen is having a hard time, they can go to the Q Center meeting or go to a member on the steering committee,” KK said. “It’s a good way to talk to others going through the same thing.

 

KK has big ideas. He wants to start a web design business and change the world to better the environment with products and services.

 

Last summer, he attended a business camp at the University of Oregon, where he worked from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. building a business that was put into simulation to see who could make the biggest profit. He designed a wheelchair that simulated making $8 million in the first year.

 

KK is the Astoria Student Body treasurer, president of the Key Club and takes honors classes at Clatsop Community College. An internship with a web design company is pending.

 

He has volunteered with Project Homeless Connect and worked with foster parents and kids with the Department of Human Services.

 

KK said he likes to bring spirit to the school. For Halloween, he dressed as Michael Jackson in the music video, “Thriller,” and played the soundtrack on the scooter he rides. He is thinking of decorating the scooter as a sleigh and playing Christmas music in December.

 

Meetings

 

The Lower Columbia Q Center Steering Committee meets at 6 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at The Harbor, 1316 Duane St. in Astoria. All are welcome.