"When you walk in our doors you know no matter what your identity is, you're going to be fully welcomed and embraced and you're going to be treated just like anyone else. You're not going to be treated like an outsider or an other or someone with a complex identity. You're just you," said Anthony Crisci, Executive Director of the Triangle Community Center.
For 23 years, Norwalk's Triangle Community Center has been working on strengthening the culture and visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community in Fairfield County.
Crisci said, "The Triangle Community Center was originally founded in 1990 and it was founded at the time as a safe space for LGBT people to gather and to start to slowly address some of the needs of the community at the time. However the primary goal was just to provide a safe space because in 1990, safe spaces for LGBT people were few and far between."
With programs like substance abuse support and youth groups, TCC works on engaging the community while creating a safe space for LGBT people.
Connor Pfeifer, a volunteer at the Triangle Community Center said, "It's important to have people here for people just to feel safe and comfortable because there's a lot of talk about marriage equality. This isn't a political organization. This is purely about social networking, helping people who need help whether it's throught alcoholics anonymous meetings here or whether it's through networking or a youth group."
Crisci added, "We know what the problems are. The problems are that the LGBTQ community has a higher rate of homelessness, a higher rate of substance abuse, a higher rate of mental health, a higher rate of isolation and depression and suicide. So those are the problems we try to address with our programs and services."
On March 2nd, the Triangle Community Center will be teaming up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to help fight homophobia in sports.
"Homophobia and discrimination still do exist in professional sports so events like the one we're doing with the Sound Tigers and the You Can Play Project, they go a long way. It goes a long way sending the message to the next generation of athletes who are in high school now or in college that it's ok, you can be open about your identity and you can be an out LGBT person and be successful in professional sports," said Crisci.
"We believe that helping people who need help the most strengthens the community as a whole. You can be gay, straight, transgender, whatever you are this is about building a better community," added Pfeifer
For more information about TCC and You Can Play Day in March, visit www.ctgay.org.