Netasha wears many hats in the Frederick Center Community: volunteer, client, game master, creative mind. She is also one of the longest standing members of our community. She has attended Frederick Center programs since the first Pride picnic in 2013. At the time, she was 30 years old and had just come out of the closet.

“I was really scared to come out.” She recalls. “I came from a very conservative upbringing, specifically on my mom’s side. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good little girl, good little daughter, to protect my parents’ sanity, but it was so taxing trying to hide myself and who I truly was. It felt like if I didn’t come out, I was denying a large part of who I am.”

At the time, The Frederick Center was a small, tight-knit group of a dozen volunteer individuals running programs for youth and young people. For Netasha, helping it grow from a fistful of youth and volunteers to a community center with over a dozen programs has been one of her greatest joys. From volunteering with programs, to joining adult support groups and social events like LGBTQ+ Dungeons and Dragons, Netasha has been a staple in the Frederick Center community.

In building up this community, Netasha found something she didn’t expect: a second home. Through programs like Worth the Wait, our peer support group for adults who come out later in life, Netasha found friends and built a staple network of support for herself. “My dad went through surgery recently and he’s unable to eat solid foods. Worth the Wait came together and started making soups for me and my dad. I’m still flabbergasted. I have had friends before, but this feels different.”

“I didn’t always like myself at home. I was hidden away, because of TFC I was able to be myself and find that safe space. Knowing that this place is here, that I have a group I can go to anytime and say ‘I’m having a problem’ and 10-15 people will get up and ask ‘how can I help?’ Is amazing. It warms my heart.”

The Frederick Center exists so that every LGBTQ+ person in Frederick has a chance to home to belong to. Thank you to everyone, our clients, our donors, and our supporters for helping us build this amazing and supportive community.