The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Centre is the first of its kind in Bogotá, Colombia. It was brought about by two NGOs (Profamilia and Colombia Diversa) and a disco, Theatrón. Together they promote and defend lesbian gay bisexual and transgender rights. This is Clara’s story:
‘I am a transsexual. Initially I was so apprehensive about coming to the LGBT Community Centre for the first time. I contacted them many times to find out about what they did and I even tried to visit twice. Both times I could not pluck up the courage to go in and returned home. It was daunting, and I was scared I wouldn’t be accepted for what I am. I am a woman trapped in a man’s body and I didn’t think the people at the Centre would understand me. Luckily I was wrong.
When I finally managed to visit the Community Centre, it was to my great relief that everyone treated me with respect, and I felt well supported by the staff. I was able to access many services such as counselling about my own feelings being a transgender woman. I am now receiving therapy to help me to understand my own identity.
Even though I look like a man, after visiting the Community Centre several times, people started calling me by my female name. It was a hard personal challenge to make that first move to come, but now there is no looking back. Everyone here has been so respectful, I can’t express how much that means.
I now visit the community centre regularly. There are loads of things to do here such as tuition in other languages and social activities such as yoga, games and movies. I now work as a volunteer at the Centre. I am an artist and enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with the other people who come to the Centre.’