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Hartford LGBT community finds solace at local safe space

HARTFORD – After a safe space for LGBT community in Orlando was attacked, the leaders of a safe space in Hartford reacted in several ways to protect and provide...
lgbt place hartford

HARTFORD – After a safe space for LGBT community in Orlando was attacked, the leaders of a safe space in Hartford reacted in several ways to protect and provide for the local LGBT community.

The Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective was founded in 1983 and currently provides medical services, dental services, support groups and health education tailored to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

“My first reaction on Sunday was I want to take care of my staff and our clients and volunteers,” said Executive Director Linda Estabrook. “We’re a visible organization. Our name is Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective.”

Click here for complete coverage of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Estabrook said she called Mayor Luke Bronin, who got in touch with the Hartford chief of police to talk about making sure their safe place is actually kept safe. She told FOX 61 officers have increased patrols in the area.

The collective’s second response was opening up their regularly scheduled Tuesday night support group called MpowerCT to the broader LGBT community so people could talk openly about how they’re feeling.

“There are vigils. There are memorial services, but there aren’t necessarily the opportunities for attendees to talk and participate,” said Estabrook.

MpowerCT facilitator Bill Petrosky said, “We want people to feel comfortable to say, ‘Hey, this is what’s bothering me.’ ‘Here’s how I feel about the situation.’ ‘Here’s how it’s impacting me right now.’”

So many people signed up to attend the Collective staff had to refer them to other events in the Greater Hartford area. They did not have any other meetings planned, but said they continue to be a resource to anyone in the community struggling to cope with Sunday’s tragedy.

“This is my family and you hurt my family. My response is to take care of my family,” said Estabrook.