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Welcome to Tucson, Jason Cianciotto

Jim Burroway

April 14th, 2008

From this morning’s Arizona Daily Star:

Jason CianciottoJason Cianciotto has been named the new executive director of Tucson’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center. Cianciotto is a former member of the youth group and a grant writer.

… He most recently served as research director for The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Policy Institute in New York City. He also was the Task Force’s primary spokesman at press conferences.

Tucson is pretty small as cities go. When including the suburbs — and every scorpion and rattlesnak — our population just barely made it to over a million recently. But Tucson’s Wingspan LGBT community center rivals community centers in cities four times its size. (Phoenix still doesn’t have one. Heh, heh!)

Wingspan celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, but its roots go back to the late 1970’s following the murder of Richard Heakin. The community’s horror over that hate crime transformed Tucson, making it one of the first cities in the country to pass anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. Anti-violence programs remain a core part of Wingspan’s work, but it has branched out to include youth groups, community outreach, health and wellness programs, senior programs, and transgender support and advocacy.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jason a few times. I’m sure he’ll do a wonderful job with Wingspan.



Daniel Gonzales
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

I LOVE Jason. You’re so lucky to have him in Tucson.

Bruce Garrett
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

(Phoenix still doesn’t have one. Heh, heh!)

Neither does Washington D.C., as a friend of mine complained sadly after I came back from Memphis and told him how nice the GLBT center there was. Large gay community. Lots of resources there to be utilized. Absolutely unable to reach a consensus about building one.

Timothy Kincaid
April 15th, 2008 | LINK

Los Angeles once had a wonderful hands-on community center. You could drop in and read a bulletin board or lounge a while or talk with others.

Now there’s a four story cold impersonal “center” which is inconvenient (no parking and not in a gay part of town) and which tends to restrict its services to those that are reimbursed by the state or insurance. If you don’t have an appointment for something, you aren’t welcome.

While I’m happy they have this lovely structure and I’m sure they do very good work (though I couldn’t tell you what it is), I miss having a welcoming place that you could go to find out what is going on in the community.

April 15th, 2008 | LINK

Washington DC gays raised a lot of money for the community center but it seems it was spent on expensive consultant studies prepared by boyfriends of board members and cocktail parties for same.

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