William Way LGBT Community Center held a grand opening ceremony last week for its new Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center.
On Nov. 7, Celena Morrison, director of programming at William Way, Chris Bartlett, the LGBTQ nonprofit’s executive director, and Erin Busbee, its director of grants and special events, unveiled a plaque featuring late, local trans activists Charlene Arcila and Jaci Adams to consummate the center’s opening.
More than 100 people attended the event, Bartlett said, including many members of the city’s trans movement.
“The energy in the room was one of excitement and possibility. I was thrilled to see so many people show up to support the opening,” he said, adding, “We promised that we would do justice to the legacy of Jaci Adams and Charlene Arcila through the ongoing work of the Trans Resource Center.”
A highlight, Bartlett noted, was having Marcus Ajani Ecks, Charlene Arcila’s partner, join the crowd. Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room provided the bulk of the funding for the center that will offer health care and therapy referrals, job services and help enrolling in insurance and food assistance programs. Members of Philly AIDS thrift’s board and staff also attended the center’s debut.
Bartlett hopes the new venue serves as a sanctuary for trans people in the Greater Philadelphia region.
“Many of the folks that attended are the very folks leading the movement in and for the trans community,” Morrison said. “The opening of this space will allow our trans and [gender non-conforming] community members to connect to opportunities, services and each other in a safe environment.”
Located on the fourth floor of William Way at 1315 Spruce St., the newly renovated center offers computers and makes staff available to connect folks with in-house and external programs available to trans people across Philadelphia. Morrison previously told PGN the project is part of a dedicated effort at William Way to step away from a reputation of historically “catering to cis gay white men,” adding she hopes the new resource center can spur similar trans-specific programming across the city and state.