Out In Henderson Jan/Feb 2021

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Out in Henderson

Henderson Equality Center By SARAH MITCHELL


he Henderson Equality Center is a community supported organization created to engage, empower, enrich, and advance the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, allies, and queer community of Henderson, Nevada. It provides a safe space, a place to pursue resources, and provides courses focused on educational, social, support, skill building, and job assistance classes for at-risk, lowincome LGBTQ youth and adults. The Henderson Equality Center first opened its doors on June 8, 2020 in a 900 square foot office space. In less than three months, however, the Center expanded and moved into a new office space with 3,000 square feet. What a huge accomplishment for such a new foundation! This new and bigger space has provided the Center with many more opportunities to help the community. There are many programs offered, such as youth tutoring services, NA and AA support groups, Youth in Recovery support groups, GSA Youth Group, Trans Youth Social Group, Bisexual Youth Social Group, Adult Trans Social Group, Lesbian Social Network, LGBTQ People of Color Peer Social Group, Asian/Pacific Islander Social Group, Bisexual Social Group for Adults, and Reiki Circles.

Coming in February of this year, the Henderson Equality Center will be adding an HIV/STD testing clinic. This is going to be an amazing addition and service provided to those in need. Another service offered by the Center is the Youth Food Pantry, open every Tuesday and Thursday. Teens in need of food only need to show their school ID card to take advantage of this service. Along with the food pantry, there is also a Clothing Room for those community members who may be in need of more clothes. Some exciting events you can look forward to at the Henderson Equality Center during 2021 include monthly Bingo nights, a youth Easter Egg Hunt, job readiness programs, Pride Fest, National Coming Out Day, Toy Drive, meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and more! The Henderson Equality Center has had an incredible first year of being open, and has already provided for hundreds of families. We are hopeful that the year 2021 will bring even more help to those in our community.

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Self Love Empathy Vs Sympathy Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Equality Center is Expanding Toy Drive

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AA, NA, & Youth in Recovery The First 100 Days

Pride OUTside Depression and Covid-19 Tutoring Services

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scar Wilde once quoted; “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” In today’s society, heterosexual stigmatism has strong implications towards the LGBTQ community for many counterfactual reasons. These kinds of implications have caused many individuals to spiral downwards when it comes to their self-esteem. A 2017 study by a Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that 6

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“within the nation, more than 30% of all high school students who selfidentify as lesbian, gay or bisexual have been bullied on school property and continues to grow each day.” In my humblest opinion, the truest way to overcome the stigmatism that has been created over the years by the heterosexual norm is to practice the beautiful art of self-love by including the following: stop comparing yourself

to others, voice your emotions, and let go of toxic people. The first step to start the art of selflove is to stop comparing yourself to others. Life is about the journey and not the process. Comparing yourself to others’ goals and interests would only allow yourself to believe that there are other human beings that are superior to yourself. You have to willingly feel and believe that you are your own person and nothing has the power to suppress your spirit. With the influence of social media involved, society’s rules have governed the idea that in order to be perfect, we have to fit into their box of how people should look. No one on this planet Earth is the same as you. The next step is to take the initiative to voice your emotions. Practicing your voice in every aspect of your life including relationships,

friendships, people you work with, etc., will strengthen your ability to not suppress any conflicted feelings or emotions that are tied to the constant daily wear and tear of life. The last tip I would like to share is being open to the tactics of letting all toxic people go. Not all people in this world tend to think about the kind of energy they put out into the universe. If there is anyone in your life that seems to bring toxicity and drains you of your energy, it is not a selfish act to remove them and separate yourselves permanently. The overcoming of any turmoil that we as a community may face on a daily basis will only make us stronger in the long run. Rome was not built in a day, therefore, taking these tips and adding them to your daily regimen will not only improve your self-esteem and selfconfidence, but it will bring you to your fullest potential with what you have to offer to the world. People in the LGBTQ community thrives off of change, uniqueness, and love. Reflecting back to the quote by Oscar Wilde: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance,” with the entire community honing in on the theme of self-love, we as a whole would be unstoppable!

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How to Connect with a Problem Instead of “Fixing It” By CHRISTOPHER BRACE, LCSW


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mpathy has become a buzzword that is used interchangeably with sympathy, and while these two terms are related, there are big differences in practice and the outcomes that follow. To get a good handle on how these concepts differ and how they are used, let’s take a step back and define them.

SYMPATHY Sympathy is more of an intellectual, cognitive concept that responds to a problem with understanding but without experience. An example could be trying to comfort a friend after losing a pet or close relative without having any personal experience to relate to.

EMPATHY Empathy is more of an emotional, experiential concept that goes a step further than sympathy by acknowledging someone’s suffering and building an emotional connection with that person’s suffering. Empathy isn’t easy or comfortable, but being willing to sit with someone in their pain without trying fix it ultimately has a stronger impact than sympathy.

is to become skilled at listening to understand as opposed to listening to respond. The difference might seem subtle, but the impact is huge. When someone confides a problem in you, it is understandable to want to rush to a solution and skip the pain of the situation, but this is not helpful to the person who is suffering. Unless someone specifically asks for solutions, it may be that what they need most from you is to sit in the muck of the problem and suffer with them in silence.

IN CONCLUSION Empathy has a greater impact in supporting someone through a problem than sympathy because it aims to eliminate isolation and promote connection. The next time a friend is suffering, try to practice empathy by leaning into their pain/ discomfort rather than trying to solve it for them.

ACTIVE LISTENING The first step in practicing empathy

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Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve By SARAH MITCHELL


ith the emergence of COVID-19, the social lives of millions of people were completely thrown off. Still to this day, there are many people who are still not leaving their homes because of this. The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is a great way for you to get out of your house and enjoy the


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about 140 acres.

beauty that nature brings, and still maintain social distancing. The preserve is home to thousands of migratory waterfowl, as well as numerous resident desert birds. There are nine ponds available for birdwatching, with a path that takes you to the different ponds. The path is about 3/4 of a mile long, and the preserve is

Different seasons will bring different birds. According to the preserve, “During the winter and early spring, you can expect to see many species of duck such as the northern shoveler, green wing, cinnamon and blue wing teal, pintail, bufflehead, and one of the most beautiful of all North American ducks, the wood duck.� Go enjoy the beauty of nature and the refreshing air! 350 E. Galleria Dr. (at Moser Drive) 702-267-4180

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Henderson Equality Center is Expanding By SARAH MITCHELL


n June of 2020, the Henderson Equality Center officially opened its doors. Within only three months, the Center was able to move to a new location that provided more options and rooms to utilize. At the new location, Henderson Equality Center was able to expand, adding more rooms and meeting spaces. The Center now has a large event center room that will be used for a multitude of events. They are also working on adding a HIV/STD testing clinic that will be ready later this year!


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The Henderson Equality Center will being using the larger event space for its job readiness training programs to prepare participants to get, keep, and excel at a new job. Basic employability skills include effective communication, problem solving, resume building, and interviewing. Job readiness training programs also help participants develop good work habits that facilitate their ongoing success. The Henderson Equality Center’s job readiness trainings will consist of three weeks courses that

prepare participants for all of the aforementioned items. Although the primary use of the room will be the job readiness training programs, the room will also be used for other events as well. This space will be available for special events, crafts fairs, and more. This room will also be utilized to help expand the food pantry for large distributions, a larger space for tutoring services, and to provide a larger space for the various groups that meet at the Center to spread out for the various Covid-19 guidelines currently in place. The Covid-19 guidelines have been everchanging over the past nine months, and we honestly never know when a new change is coming, and having this additional room will make any changes possible and easy to accommodate.

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AA, NA, & Youth in Recovery By SARAH MITCHELL


ddiction of any kind is one of the most difficult things some people have to go through. Unfortunately, many people suffering with addiction do not have the kind of support that is needed, either from friends or family. Addiction is not something that anyone should have to face alone. That’s why the Henderson Equality Center has weekly meetings to provide support. The Center has three addiction based support groups that they offer: AA, NA, and Young People in Recovery.

LGBTQ AA SUPPORT GROUP If you, a friend, or a loved one suffers from alcoholism, understand you are not alone. Transitioning to a life of sobriety is a big step, and for most individuals can be one of the most challenging things they ever have to do in life. This is an AA support group for individuals who would like to share their story and support others.. Meets: Weekly on Thursday, 6pm to 7pm

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If you, a friend, or a loved one suffers from drug use, understand you are not alone. Toeing the line of recovery can be challenging; however, by engaging in 12-Step meetings such as those offered through Narcotics Anonymous, those who are attempting to maintain recovery can get the support they need. This is an NA support group for individuals who would like to share their story and support others. Meets: Weekly on Thursday, 7pm to 8pm

YOUNG PEOPLE IN RECOVERY SUPPORT GROUP Members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community face a number of challenges. It is estimated that 20-30% of LGBT+ individuals have some form of an addiction issue. This is a support group for individuals who would like to share their story and support others. Meets: 4th Monday of each month, 6pm to 7pm If you or a loved one is in need of support, please come to Henderson Equality Center! You deserve love and support during this transition. 18

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The First 100 Days By STEVEN MITCHELL


mericans don’t agree on much, if anything, these days. But there is one thing that we probably all agree on – we are ready to bid farewell to 2020 and welcome a new year. We hope to see the waning of the Covid crisis and a return to normalcy. Change is coming; the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. And with that transition could come a multitude of changes. President-Elect Biden has put forth an aggressive agenda for the first 100 days of his administration. Of most interest to those reading this publication are those items relating to the LGBTQ+ community. The Biden campaign has 20

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emphasized that it would defend nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. He plans on lifting the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. He will nominate an LGBTQ person to a Cabinet position and bar federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ job discrimination. The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act. This act provides federal anti-discrimination protections to all 50 states. Currently, only 21 states have such protections. The act covers many sectors, from housing to public services to public accommodations. It is his intention to turn this into law in his first 100 days.

Other areas that he plans on addressing and changing are Trump’s religious exemptions which allow discrimination against LGBTQ people by health care providers, adoption agencies, and others. He will seek to reinstate the Obama administration’s guidance around access to bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity. It will be interesting to watch the first 100 days unfold and exciting to see freedoms, that seem so basic, become a reality.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES Access to Healthcare Network

Golden Rainbow

3085 E Flamingo Rd, Ste A Las Vegas, NV 89121 844-609-4623 AccessToHealthcare.org

714 E Sahara Ave, Suite 101 Las Vegas, NV 89014 (702) 384-2899 GoldenRainbow.org

Aid for Aids of Nevada (AFAN)

Henderson Equality Center

1830 E Sahara Ave Ste 210 Las Vegas, NV 89104 (702) 382-2326 AFANLV.org

1490 W Sunset Rd, Suite 120 Henderson, NV 89014 855-955-5428 HendersonEqualityCenter.org

Aids Healthcare Foundation

Imperial Royal Sovereign Court of the Desert Empire

3201 S Maryland Pkwy Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 862-8075 AHF.org

American Civil Liberties Union 601 S Rancho Dr, #B-11 Las Vegas, NV 89106 (702) 366 1226 aclunv.org

Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada 714 E Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89014 (702) 369-8700

PO BOX 46481 Las Vegas, NV 89114 DesertEmpire.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-784-2433 SuicidePreventionLifeLine.org

Nevada Tobacco Quitline 800-QUIT-NOW NevadaTobaccoQuitLine.com

PFLAG PO BOX 20145 Las Vegas, NV 89112 (702) 738-7838

Crush Socrush.com

Nevada Gay Rodeo Association NGRA.com

Equality Nevada 1490 W Sunset Rd, Suite 120 Henderson, NV 89014 855-955-5428 EqualityNV.org


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Saint Therese Center HIV Outreach 100 E Lake Mead Pkwy. Henderson, NV 89015 (702) 564-4224

Southern Nevada Association of Pride, INC 4001 S Decatur Blvd, #37-540 Las Vegas, NV 89103 866-930-3336

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he PRIDE OUTside Hike began in 2015 at the request of community members looking for activities outside of the bar and nightlife scene. The Las Vegas PRIDE Board created the events as a free activity, offering a variety of locations around the valley and some physical fitness. PRIDE OUTside Hikes are hosted on the second Sundays monthly (breaking in December and January). We meet at a variety of trails at 10:00am, and trail locations can be found by visiting lasvegaspride.org/ las-vegas-pride-outside/, or emailing hike@lasvegaspride.org. Our next PRIDE OUTside Hike will be hosted at the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail in Boulder City. This trail features views overlooking Lake Mead, an easy trail with an even and level surface, and tunnels that were constructed for the train track to bring equipment to the construction site for the Hoover Dam! On this trail, we walk along the lakeside from the trailhead to a rest area for roughly 2 miles before returning to our starting point. All hikes


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are welcome to all-ages and skill levels. The Historic Railroad Tunnel trail is pet friendly and is accessible to those in wheelchairs as well. We encourage participants to wear sunscreen and proper footwear. Please plan to bring plenty of water and snacks if you like. Due to precautions in place for Covid-19, we practice social distancing and require masks. For this trail, distance is easy to achieve and masks do not hinder the enjoyment of the activity since it’s difficulty is on par with a walk. We hope that you join us for our PRIDE OUTside Hike! Location: Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail in Boulder City (locations vary – visit LasVegasPRIDE.org for details) Date: 2/14/2020 (and the second Sundays monthly) Time: 10:00am Contact: Brady – Hike@lasvegaspride.org

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Depression and Covid-19 By STEVE MITCHELL


umans are creatures of habit. We live by rituals. For example, footballs fans have their own way of preparing for football games. They wear their favorite Jersey, have their favorite snacks and beer on hand, and perhaps they have other NFL items in the room that they watch the games in. Some people work out first thing in the morning or after work, religiously. We don’t like to have our rituals changed. We don’t like change in general. Natural disasters,


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wars, acts of terror, and other massive disruptions across a population lead to anxiety, fear, and depression. 2020 was nothing BUT change. Any rituals you might have had outside the house (meeting friends for drinks every Friday night, going to the movies, going bowling, attending concerts, going a club every Saturday, etc.) were either cancelled or severely curtailed. On top of that, social distancing and social isolation only exacerbated that sense of disruption. A pre-pandemic study of Americans revealed that 8.5% showed signs of depression. A survey taken from March to April of 2020 showed an increase to 28%, with an additional 25% showing milder signs of depression. Keep in mind, that was at the beginning of the lockdown almost 9 months ago. “Stressors” include

loss of a job or loved one and financial distress. According to a recent CDC survey, 11% of the respondents “seriously considered” suicide in the past month. When narrowing down to people aged 18-24 that number went to 25%. According to the CDC, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24. Consider the changes that have taken place. Businesses were shut down and then reopened to only a fraction of their capacity. Other businesses closed altogether. We are haunted by restaurant and retail buildings sitting empty. Children learn from home and have almost nine months of no interaction with peers. No opportunities to build social skills. Many “A” students are now failing. We are forced to wear masks that hide the identities of those around us. We are to stay 6 feet apart. No hugging or handshaking allowed. This is a complete depersonalization of humanity. Lockdowns force people in bad relationships to be together even more. Domestic violence, substance abuse, alcoholism – all on the increase. Add to that mix the most divisive and hateful election in American history. Social media – the one way that people COULD connect, turned into a battle ground of words

and “unfriending” leading to even more isolation. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The world population is divided on the answer to Covid and we won’t attempt to solve that problem in this article. Let’s talk about what YOU can do to take charge of your mental health. The first thing to realize is that you have tremendous value as a human being apart from all outward activities of life. Apart from how many friends you have on social media, how many “Likes” your posts get, aspects of yourself that you feel separate you from others. You have value as a human being. Spend some time thinking about that. The second thing you can do is learn to meditate. This is not something I did most of my life. About 18 months ago I began meditating. It is lifechanging. And you probably do have the time to invest in it right now. Here are a few easy ways to get started. The Four Fold Breath. Start by sitting or laying down in a comfortable position. Beware that if you lay down, you may fall asleep, which defeats the purpose. I sit on a yoga cushion with my legs crossed. Next, slowly breathe in for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale

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point. I’ve reached a point where the glass is neither half full nor half empty. It is almost full with just enough room for one more blessing. And then when that blessing arrives, there is still room for one more. Meditating and going through a list of things for which you are grateful will calm your mind and body, as well as change your view to one of hope and positivity.

for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Repeat several times. If a count of four is too long, you can make it a count of two or four. As you focus on the count, you won’t be thinking about anything else and you will quiet your mind and relax your body. Start with just a few minutes and build from there. Add “Gratitudes.” Surely everyone has something to be thankful for. Things I mention everyday in my gratitudes are life, my life, this day, my wife, my family, my friends, my job, and my home. Other things I’ve mentioned are music, where I live, the beauty of nature, and a book I’ve read. There are SO many things. The effect of doing this every day is that you will see life from a more positive view 28

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One more thing you can do during this era of lockdowns is to learn something new, especially in the spiritual or esoteric space. My personal studies into a new field of esotericism has had the effect of putting my meditations and gratitudes into hyperdrive. Life has more meaning in the spiritual sense of “Why am I here?” What I’m studying isn’t as important to this article as the fact that I AM studying something new. Pick a subject and dig into it. Deeply. These are just three simple things that you can do to combat isolation and depression during this time. Change happens all of the time. It is inevitable. Some for the good. Some for the not so good. We can’t control everything. But we can control how we respond to it. If done correctly, that puts us in more control than ever before.

Tutoring Services By SARAH MITCHELL


fter school tutoring is one of many services that the Henderson Equality Center offers. Many students struggle with school normally, but this year has seen an increase in those struggles. Most students are in a virtual learning environment due to Covid-19. Online education is not for everybody, and many students are not fully grasping the concepts and lessons that are being taught.

After school tutoring is a wonderful way to get help for your struggling students. Tutoring has many benefits including individual and unique learning experiences, one-on-one attention, improving academic performance, improving attitude towards learning and school, encouraging self-paced and selfdirected learning, improving self-

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esteem and confidence, improving work and study habits, providing a positive work space, and helping to overcome learning obstacles.

students who may be struggling in more than one area in school, and gives students the best tutoring services possible.

Henderson Equality Center offers free tutoring every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4:305:30 p.m. All of the tutors are current teachers who work in either public, charter, or private schools. Each tutor also has a specialty, such as being reading and writing focused or being math and science focused. This provides great options for

No students should have to struggle through school without help and support. That’s why Henderson Equality Center is proud to offer this service to all students who may be in need. Please come check it out and utilize this amazing educational resource!


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