The Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Network held the grand opening of its new Hamptons center in Sag Harbor Saturday.
The new community center had been in the works for years, but its completion was accelerated by the suicide of David Hernandez Barros, an East Hampton High School junior who took his own life in September after allegedly having been a victim of bullying due to his sexual orientation.
“David Hernandez Barros’ suicide was an urgent reminder that has mobilized hundreds of people to say ‘we cannot wait any longer—we need a gay center of our own now,’” said David Kilmnick, CEO and Founder of The Long Island GLBT Network.
The center, located within Old Whaler’s Church in Sag Harbor village, is the first of its kind to exist on the East End, with additional GLBT Network locations in Bay Shore and Garden City. The current location will serve as a springboard space while the Network raises money for a stand-alone location.
Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and Carmita Barros, the mother of David Hernandez Barros, are expected to make remarks and participate in the new center’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Network, which recently marked its 20-year anniversary as an active organization, expects an approximate 1,000 East End residents to participate in programs and activities offered within the new location.