The Rio Grande Valley has a diverse and vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) community. From immigration, to health, faith, politics, and housing, community members have been hard at work building a strong movement to create a safer place for queer and trans people in the Rio Grande Valley.
If you have been wanting to get involved with an organization that serves the LGBTQ community in this borderland, here are 11 groups you should know about.
A+ was created by Adrian Castellanos. A+ is a space for Castellanos to “share [his] story and views as an AIDS survivor, HIV positive person, and advocate/activist in the HIV industry.”
Aquí Estamos is a youth led, queer and trans people of color organization. AE organized the first queer and trans people of color conference in the Rio Grande Valley in 2015 and is hosting it again in August of this year. the conference is one of the only completely free events of its kind in the U.S. AE engages in conversations surrounding intersectionality on LGBTQ issues.
Mount Calvary Christian Church is an open and affirming congregation with LGBTQ members from across the RGV. They gather every Sunday in Harlingen for worship.
Open, Equal, and Free is the first LGBTQ club at South Texas College. In March, they hosted an Equality Seminar and invited guest speakers from across the Rio Grande Valley to talk about issues impacting the LGBTQ community.
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy. Click here to view the chapter in Harlingen, or click here to view the one in McAllen.
Pride Home is an initiative to house LGBTQ youth in need of emergency housing. They are located in Edinburg, Texas, and are scheduled to open in summer of 2016.
RGV Trans Support Group is for the RGV Transgender and gender non-conforming persons and their allies who come together for outreach and awareness for the trans/gender non-conforming community and for monthly support meetings and camaraderie.
South Texas Equality Project (STEP) is a partnership of LGBTQ organizations and individuals focused on advocacy and visibility of the LGBT community.
The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus (TSDC) is a general-purpose political committee and is the official Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party. TSDC was formerly the Lesbian/Gay Democrats of Texas, an organization formed in the early 1970s to work on behalf of the lesbian and gay community within the Texas Democratic Party.
The Student Equality Alliance is the LGBTQ club at University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. They are in both the Edinburg and Brownsville campus. Check out their annual LGBTQ prom that is coming up in May by clicking here.
VAC is a private, non-profit organization which provides HIV prevention education, free confidential HIV/STI testing, primary outpatient care and support services for anyone living with HIV/AIDS in South Texas.
Author’s note: This is not a complete list of all the LGBTQ organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. If you’d like to have your organization added to this list email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comments to let others know!