David R. Parks Lending Library experiences continuous growth thanks to community donations

When The Center moved into its previous home in Commercial Center, a small room was dedicated to establishing an LGBTQ-focused library in Las Vegas, named in honor of openly gay State Senator David R. Parks. The shelves were soon stocked full of books generously donated from our community. After The Center moved downtown in 2013 and became more visible, the number of books donated each month steadily increased. Located in The Center’s spacious MGM Resorts International Great Room, the library shelves are now full of nearly 5,000 paperbacks and hardbacks as well as hundreds of DVDs. The David R. Parks Lending Library is a little-known treasure that covers every corner of our LGBTQ community.

Mama Dragon Story Project Comes to The Center May 23



The community is invited to join us next Monday evening, May 23 at 6:30 p.m., to hear the Mama Dragons tell their stories of love and acceptance for their LGBT+ children.

About the Mama Dragon Story Project:  Twenty women, many with LDS or Mormon ties, share essays of love and support to their LGBT+ children. Portraits of each mother show her fiery resolve as each of them bears the title of Mama Dragon. Loving our LGBT+ children within a strict religious environment poses some challenges. Reconciling those challenges and moving forward in peace is the focus of this book. Showing mothers, and other allies, that they can wrestle with these challenges, soften attitudes in homes and openly accept their LGBT+ child is the reason for these essays and portraits.

All are welcome to come and be affirmed regardless of category, creed or belief.

Designer Picnic Tables and Baskets Up for Auction Through April 25

In partnership with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) will host the second annual Picnic by Design fundraising event, themed “Parasols in the Park,” at Symphony Park on Saturday, April 30. Fifty-six local designers have created over-the-top picnic baskets and tables currently being auctioned at www.thecenterlv.org/picnic, which will then be enjoyed with a gourmet style buffet picnic dinner in the shadow of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (361 Symphony Park Ave.).
 
Songstress Toscha Comeaux, Gary Fowler, Rick Arroyo and male quartet These Guys will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. Lawn games and a VIP cocktail hour begin at 4:30 p.m. with the buffet-style dinner and live entertainment to follow at 5:30 p.m. Catering is provided by downtown restaurants Chow and Rock’N’oodles as well as Palms Casino Resort favorite N9NE Steakhouse.
 
“Since DIFFA directly targets the design community, Picnic by Design is a chance for us to show how we can use our craft and creative problem-solving abilities to bring awareness to the cause of HIV/AIDS education. DIFFA's events all celebrate design and create an opportunity for us to focus on the positive side of fundraising," said Executive Chair Cray Bauxmont-Flynn.
 
“It is important for the design community to support one another and come together. DIFFA provides this outlet and allows us to also support an important local organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS outreach and testing,” said Co-Chair Cory Sadler. “Because of the generosity of our sponsors, almost all proceeds will go to The Center and DIFFA to support their work.”
 
Gold Sponsors for the 2016 Picnic by Design event are Wynn Las Vegas, The Roger Thomas Collection and Las Vegas Design Center. Additional top sponsors include Christopher Guy, JBA Consulting Engineers, Robert Allen, Elan Collections, Shawmut Design and Construction, The Ascot Group and Forma Design & Architecture. Along with Bauxmont-Flynn and Sadler, International Market Centers President and CEO Robert Maricich serves as Honorary Chair.
 
To purchase baskets, tables or tickets to Picnic by Design, please visit www.thecenterlv.org/picnic no later than midnight on Sunday, April 25. Picnic baskets that serve two are being auctioned starting at $300 each, and picnic tables that seat and serve eight start at $1,500 each. Exclusive VIP chef tables are also available for purchase. For $125 per person, guests may also enjoy the dinner and activities without purchasing a basket or table. All guests must be 21 and older.

The Center Brings DIFFA’s Popular Picnic by Design Event to Las Vegas for Second Year at Symphony Park April 30

In partnership with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) will host the second annual Picnic by Design, themed “Parasols in the Park,” at Symphony Park on Saturday, April 30. Local designers are creating over-the-top picnic baskets and tables to be purchased online at www.thecenterlv.org/picnic and then enjoyed with delicious food and fine wine in the shadow of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (361 Symphony Park Ave.). Songstress Toscha Comeaux, Gary Fowler, Rick Arroyo and male quartet These Guys will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. Lawn games and a VIP cocktail hour begin at 4:30 p.m. with the buffet-style dinner and live entertainment to follow at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit The Center and DIFFA.

“Our vision was to create a fun event that exudes a casual elegance and celebrates design,” said Cray Bauxmont-Flynn, Picnic By Design Chair. “We were aiming to target a cross-platform demographic of talented individuals and it was important for us to keep ticket costs low and bring in new awareness to DIFFA and The Center. In past events only interior designers and architects have participated — for the picnic, we invited floral designers, graphic designers, culinary masters, event designers and producers, set designers, stylists and photographers to participate, bringing a whole new audience to the event!”

"We are very excited to have such a committed and dynamic group of creative individuals and sponsors on board for Picnic By Design 2016," said Bauxmont-Flynn. “With this group of talented individuals DIFFA and The Center will be able to raise significant funds to provide preventive HIV/AIDS education and direct care services — the fight is not over.”

Along with Bauxmont-Flynn, International Market Centers President and CEO Robert Maricich serves as Honorary Chair. Cory Sadler, a member of The Center’s Associate Board, serves as co-chair. A number of nationally recognized Star-Chefs and name brands have signed on as participants and sponsors of the event.

For more information about Picnic by Design’s mission and ways to support the event, or to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.thecenterlv.org/picnic. Designer picnic baskets that serve two are $300 each, and designer picnic tables that seat and serve eight are $1,500 each. Exclusive celebrity chef tables will also be available. For $125 per person, guests may also enjoy the dinner and activities without purchasing a basket or table. All guests must be 21 and older.

Making Love Last...

One of the folks who comes to The Center was musing about the role of CEO. “You’re like the mayor of Gayville!” he quipped. Well, he’s not far from the truth. This job at The Center puts me at the hub and cross section of so much activity and so many peoples’ lives. It truly is a joy and a privilege to be at the service of so many wonderful people.

One of the extraordinary learnings of this role is getting to know so many LGBTQ couples. Despite the pioneering years of the movement, and despite the lack of role models, so many people have partnered for mutual love and respect. Indeed, being partnered is still a wondrous miracle. And, I’ve been so pleased to learn of LGBTQ couples who have been partnered for 10, 20, even 30+ years. In my relationship with Douglas, my partner, we have partnered for 19+ years and I’m still amazed. How do these folks make it all work?

In a recent article that I read about relationships and longevity, Denise Henry, writing about all types of relationships in Lifescript, notes five distinct tips for making love last:

Play together.
I was surprised to learn that early in relationships, romance has a tendency to cause you and your partner to simply “goof off” with one another. Then life abruptly sets in with the maturing of a relationship. Life then has a larger tendency to steal away the fun and spontaneity of relationships. In order for love to last, couples need to plan simple and creative fun activities. It’s the “glue” to relationships according to Henry. It creates a positivity around relationships. It’s common for couples to forget about dating and playful activities with one another. Making time for play makes a lot of sense in a world in which more and more responsibility challenges us with the obligatory and the mundane.

Make an effort to see the best in your partner.
We’re all human beings, and I’m sure each one of us could start a laundry list of the shortcomings of our partner. Henry suggests that instead of stewing over the failures and weaknesses of your partner, why not try to see your partner’s goodness and success? It’s a plain fact: the way that we see one another affects the way we behave toward each other. Seeing your partner’s goodness and seeing the best in your partner breeds a type of reciprocity. They naturally look for your goodness and the best in you when you are accentuating it in them. It contributes to the positivity of your relationship.

Team up for tasks and errands.
I like this tip. Again, this makes a lot of sense. In the busy lives that we live, it’s easy to get caught up in the errands that we have and the limited time that we have to do them. So, our natural instinct is to divide and conquer—assign tasks and errands that your partner can accomplish, while assigning some to yourself. Again, Henry makes a lot of sense by suggesting that we team up for the completion of tasks and errands together. Earlier last year, I attended the vow ceremony of a longstanding gay couple who had been together for nearly 28 years. I remember being taken aback when they both stated that some of their most fulfilling days together in their relationship is when they spend time doing errands together on Saturdays. Rather than do tasks solo, join forces together to get them done. It feeds your relationship with a mutual support and caring.

Kindle the flames.
Is there ever a lack of sex and sexual expression in the LGBTQ community? We are known for a sex-positive movement and sexual creativity abounds in our culture and in our community. Nevertheless, while sexual sparks fly at the beginning of our long term relationships, over the years there is a settling effect and there needs to be a healthy cultivation of sexual expression between long-term couples. I wasn’t aware but many social psychologists cite research that sex is strong early on in long-term relationships due to the release of neurochemicals in the body. It’s easy to keep sex alive and active because of that release. Then, after a period of two years or so, that stage of neurochemicals comes to an end. But sex shouldn’t. Regular date nights and adding new sexual activities compensates for boredom that comes with the familiarity with one another.

And last, did your partner hurt you? Say so.
It’s amazing at times how we might harbor hurt feelings without ever mentioning it to our partner. Then, when there is a flare up, we go right back to that source of hurt and throw it into our partner’s face. They are often surprised to learn of something that has been festering for such a long time. It comes to them like it’s a smack in the face. Research indicates, according to Henry, that when people share true emotions with their partner honestly and without fear of recrimination, they experience calming and bonding effects. Another neuro chemical, oxytocin, kicks in with securing, reassuring, and anxiety-reducing effects. Partners who merely hide their hurt miss out on this important “cement” to their relationship.

So, bring on February and all its Valentine’s Day wonder. Yes, sparks will fly and the frivolity of love and love-making will abound. We’ll certainly get fatter on chocolates. But beyond the Valentine Day experience, hard work and joyful effort take place to make the love of Valentine’s Day work and endure, for many years. Making love work can be a challenge but a joyful work for ones involved. We have plenty of role models to draw from who have been successful in making love work!