REXBURG — For years, one Rexburg woman has wanted to create a safe place for LGBTQ and minority students, and now she’s a step closer to achieving her dream.
Grey Woodhouse, a Denver native and Brigham Young University-Idaho alumnus, plans to open Rexburg’s first LGBTQ and Minority Resource Center at 12 College Avenue in Rexburg. Woodhouse tells EastIdahoNews.com the goal is to provide a safe place where groups such as Understanding Sexuality, Gender, and Allyship (previously Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) and the Black Student Union can meet.
Woodhouse also hopes to provide resources such as therapists, counseling groups and attorneys to all community members.
She says a resource center is more necessary than ever, given the current political and social climate.
“Queer people have come out more than ever and shown up and same with the black community and people of color, and we’re ready to be treated as equal here. We’re ready to stand up for that,” Woodhouse says.
USGA Chapter President Cailin Russell said they’ve been bouncing around to different locations over the last two years, and she’s looking forward to having a place where her group can rely on having meetings.
“I think having a solid meeting spot will help grow our numbers and it’ll help people feel safe to come,” Russell says. “If we’re meeting in a place that’s designated for them (and) for the safety of our group, then they’ll feel safer to be who they are and explore who they are.”
Since the announcement about the center, Woodhouse says the response has been “absolutely crazy.”
“I’ve never seen Rexburg come together as a community so well,” says Woodhouse.
Part of what shocked Woodhouse was how quickly the GoFundMe that was set up for the center took off. In a span of five days, she raised well above her goal of $3,500.
She says the most important way people can help with the project is to donate funds. The donations will go towards legal fees to become a non-profit organization, copyrights and trademarks, security cameras for safety, as well as other necessary items to create a safe place, according to the GoFundMe.
“Our budget will be posted. It’s going to be very transparent,” Woodhouse says. “We’re going to post everything we’ve purchased.”
Another way the community can get involved is to go to her weekly planning meetings, she says. Everyone is welcome to attend and ask questions about the center or volunteer to help with renovations to the center. The planning meetings are held at 7 p.m. Thursdays.
Support groups will be able to start meeting at the building this fall, but everything else won’t be functioning until mid-Jan. 2021.
“I think this town is really waking up and I’m really happy,” Woodhouse says.
For more information and to track the center’s progress, follow the GoFundMe.
Local woman planning to open Rexburg’s first LGBTQ and Minority Resource Center