A community center for LGBTIQ was opened in Samara

On March 21, 2015, the first community center “Volga” for LGBTQI and their friends was opened in Samara. It is a comfortable and welcoming space for meetings, seminars, trainings and other events. It is a place not only for LGBTQI community, but also for everyone, who need a space.

The head of the community center Alexandra Korneeva opens the community center, photo by Vera Kruzhkina

Almost 40 people came to celebrate the opening of the community center, and brought their presents, kind words, positive energy and support.

Alina Alieva, photo by Vera Kruzhkina

Not only people from Samara and Tolyatti, but also from St. Petersburg visited the opening ceremony. Tatiana Vinnichenko, the Chairperson of the Board of the Russian LGBT Network and Igor Kochetkov, the board member of the Network, the coordinator of the Association of family psychologists of the Volga and Ural regions Oksana Nikolas and the expert from IREX Europe Mikhail Tumasov were among them.

Tatiana Vinnichenko’s speech  was very emotional: “In so few cities in Russia there are spaces where LGBT people feel comfortable, where there are people they can trust. It is such a treasure these days. I wish the new community center long life, and not only prosperity, but also development. You have the most important thing – you have people to work with and to rely on, you can do so many things together”.

Igor Kochetkov continued: “As Tatiana mentioned, we have really few cities in Russia with community centers for LGBT, but I would like to highlight that not that long time ago there were no such cities at all. I am proud for the Russian LGBT Network, which supported the emergences of such community centers and I am sure that even more such places are about to appear. I am also amazed by your achievements. We all surpassed ourselves. Now so many people are depressed because of the situation in the country, but we are still working and developing. It means that we can overcome everything. I wish you prosperity and to stay together, now you have your own place and it is very important”.

One of the founders of the Samara LGBT organization Avers Mikhail Tumasov continued: “This city needs some safe space for communication, some additional to LGBT clubs space. I want this community center to become the safe space, the space of warmness, hope, peace and adequacy. I am so grateful to you, you are the bricks of our house, and this is just the beginning. There is so much work ahead here and inside of you”.

Games, photo by Vera Kruzhkina