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Ten Questions with Dorothy Award recipient Triangle Community Center

Triangle Community Center recently marked 25 years in serving the LGBTQ community in Fairfield County. Starting as an all-volunteer organization, their first full-time staff member was hired in 2013 and has now grown substantially, serving a growing number of community members. Former Center co-president Tom Donato returns this year to interview our honorees, starting with Conor Pfeifer, of Triangle Community Center.

  1. Tell us about the TCC. TCC is Fairfield County’s LGBTQ community center. Founded in 1990, TCC provided support groups, youth groups, and social outlets for Fairfield County’s LGBTQ community. TCC operated until 2013 without full-time staff and was entirely volunteer run. Since then, TCC has brought on staff to start to grow vital services, including case management, navigation, housing, and outreach. 
  2. What role does TCC play in Fairfield County? TCC is Fairfield County’s LGBTQ community hub. We put on Fairfield County’s biggest Pride festival, Pride in the Park each year since 2014. We are a source of support and networking for all.  
  3. Talk about the case management program. How can people in need inquire about the program and what it offers? TCC’s case management program is the only social service program exclusively focused on the LGBTQ community in southwestern Connecticut. Our case management staff will meet with an LGBTQ person in need, create a care plan, and then follow up with them after referring them to services we identify to be truly affirming of LGBTQ identities. In the toolkit of our case management program is our housing program, emergency financial assistance program, and food pantry services. To read up about our case management program, folks should visit http://www.ctpridecenter.org/case_management_referrals
  4. What does the TCC see as the biggest challenge facing the Connecticut LGBT community today? Connecticut’s LGBTQ community faces many myths that are barriers to full equality. Discrimination still takes place here. The LGBTQ community still faces higher rates of homelessness than its peers. Conversion therapy still takes place in Connecticut. There (are) so many inequities that take place in our state and it’s our job to make sure that, in spite of the progress we have seen for our rights in Connecticut, there’s still work to do. We are proud to continue to push back against perceptions that hide the reality so many LGBTQ people face. 
  5. How does the Center stay connected to the ever-changing needs of the community? TCC prides itself on the fact that it listens to its public. We encourage our members, volunteers, and those who are just plain-old interested in our cause to provide feedback. Our staff cares and listens, especially to those in need and to those who we are positioned to help. 
  6. Do you see anything positive about the current political climate? LGBTQ people and our allies are stepping up in the face of the national political climate, and people are listening. Seemingly, people have, to an extent, shed some complacency we have had here in Connecticut over the past few years. Our rights cannot be taken for granted, and as is proven time and time again in this country, each generation has the responsibility to fight to preserve and expand our rights as they’re handed down. That’s why we are so proud to do what we do, and we are seeing more of that as people see what is at stake in the new national political climate. 
  7. What do you have planned for this year’s Pride in the Park celebration? Is it too early to give us a preview? Save the date: Pride in the Park is slated for June 10th here in Norwalk. We do have an exciting set of entertainers and activities just for you!…but it’s top secret for a little while 🙂 
  8. How can the community best support the TCC? You can support TCC however you see fit! Get to know us and our staff. Volunteer. Donate if you have the resources. Your cares and concerns are our passion, and we will fight for you every day. Whichever way you see fit, whether as a volunteer at Pride, as a donor, or just someone who wants to pitch a program idea that will help people in our community, your buy-in, your investment in our mission will go a long way. We are here for you!
  9. What is one thing that everyone can do to improve the climate for LGBT people in this country? To support the LGBTQ community, people have to stand up, and we’re seeing it already. Attend marches, stay involved and engaged in your community centers and in politics – not just every four years but every single year. Your voice must be heard as much on the local level as it is on the state level as it is in the halls of congress. When you stand up, you will give courage and hope to others who are too afraid. When you stand up, people will listen. They will see your passion and (see) that you care. 
  10. What are the goals of the TCC for the next 5 years? TCC’s goals over the next five years are to increase its capacities to serve those in need across Fairfield County, and to build permanent, meaningful presences throughout the area. Already, TCC has over the past year brought programs to Bridgeport and Greater Danbury, and we’re not stopping now.
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