Queer in Oregon: 'It's really important to have safe, affirming spaces'

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon has one of the highest percentages of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

But some people say members of the local queer community have no where to go for support.

Max Jensen and Jesse Quinn are board members for the Queer Center of Lane County.

"For queer people, it's really important for them to have safe, affirming spaces that are catered to them," said Jensen, an LCC student, "because they don't get that anywhere else really."

According to polls conducted in 2012, Oregon is ranked number 4th among the 50 states with the highest percentage of people who identify as LGBT.

"Without a centralized presence, it's really hard for people to reach out and identify what opportunities exist for queer people," said Quinn, a UO graduate.

Quinn and Jensen are working to create a physical place for the queer center to offer services "like counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, queer-friendly legal services," Jensen said.

Quinn said there was a similar effort her in the 1990s that fell through. He said the need still exists.

"I want to reach out to students who haven't had the privilege or the opportunity to go to schools, to find themselves and find their identity, to have a space," Quinn said.