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Local History

GLO Center opening

"Gay men, lesbians and their friends and families have a new place to gather for social activities and support. 

"On Sunday, about 300 people helped christen the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks, GLO, at 518 E. Commercial St.

"‘I think it’s great. It’s something we’ve been working on for 20 years,’ said Jim House, education director for AIDS Project of the Ozarks and one of the center’s 14 board members. ‘It’s a dream come true for a lot of people.’

"Now that the dream is housed in an 1,800-square-foot rental space, organizers hope the center becomes a resource for gays and lesbians of all ages.

"The center’s mission is to support gay men and lesbians in the Springfield area and to create greater public understanding and appreciation of gay and lesbian citizens, said Rob Long, the group’s vice president.

"Membership is open to anyone who supports that mission, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"Organization of the center began in earnest earlier this year after president Linda Thomas wrote a letter to TRI-LIFE Magazine, a local gay-issues publication, in which she expressed an interest in starting a community center.

"Organizers began monthly meetings in March and conducted an auction in August, which raised $1,500. The center is now filing for nonprofit status.

"The center has a library and space where members can gather for meetings, to play games or to watch television. Organizers also plan to get a computer and establish a helpline for people who have questions about the center or just need someone to talk to.

"Long said GLO will provide an alternative to bars as a meeting place. It also will be a place for generations that often are overlooked.

"Said Springfieldian Mike Dobbs, 39, a volunteer at the center: ‘This is going to help a lot of the youth and a lot of the older gay people…" News-Leader October 28, 1996

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