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Localize, the AI-driven site that makes sense of the massive amounts of city data, has issued a report listing NYC’s most LGBTQ friendly neighborhoods and its findings for The Bronx aren’t a surprise (to us at least).

Melrose, Mott Haven, and Fordham were listed as the top LGBTQ friendly neighborhoods in our borough.

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With Melrose having been the home of The Bronx’s LGBTQ Center in one incarnation or another for well over a decade, it’s no wonder it was one of the areas in the list.

Having grown up in Melrose myself, there was always a strong queer presence here in Melrose and adjacent Mott Haven.

Localize writes:

Melrose/Mott Haven
The borough kicked off its recent Pride Festival at 149th Street and Third Avenue, on the border of these two South Bronx neighborhoods that are seeing an uptick of LGBTQ-friendly events and services. The festival was organized by the Third Avenue Business Improvement District, which held a fundraiser for it — called the “Big Gay Bronx Brunch” — at Charlie’s Bar & Kitchen in Mott Haven’s hip, historic clock tower building. The resources for the area’s LGBT community, however, are not just focused on the artsy newcomers.

The five-year-old nonprofit Destination Tomorrow has an array of services including, from an LGBT Youth Drop-in Center to free coding programs (called Haus of Code) for LGBT+ youth of color. It also has support groups like “Bois do cry” for trans men and trans masculine individuals, as well as a weekly Kiki event. Its space on Third Avenue also hosts the Bronx Trans Collective. It launched in 2016 as the first transgender-specific center in the borough, bringing together health, counseling, legal and other services that had been spread out previously.

“While the Bronx is the only borough that does not have an LGBT center, change is on the horizon,” Kancilia noted.

Earlier this year Destination Tomorrow announced plans to build an LGBT center in Melrose to further provide safe spaces for the Bronx LGBT community and work to end homophobia and transphobia. City Councilman Ritchie Torres, the borough’s first openly gay elected official, led the push for the project.

Melrose also has an LGBTQ health clinic operated by the renowned Chelsea-based Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The center opened the Bronx outpost, noting that it had more than 1,000 clients coming from the Bronx to its Manhattan location and recognized that that the LGBT community needed a closer option.

Fordham
This western Bronx neighborhood is home to one of the city’s leading grassroots organizations for LGBTQ youth of color as well as the borough’s first LGBTQ senior center.

The youth membership group FIERCE — Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment — was founded in 2000 in response to increased policing and arrests of youth of color on the Christopher Street Pier in the West Village and is still working to get a 24-hour LGBTQ youth drop-in center near the pier. The Fordham-based group also host events in its Morris Avenue space, like social justice-minded open mic nights, Vogue Kiki dance practice, queer yoga and safe sex/sex workers safety discussions — a reality that the organization is confronting head on for low-income LGBTQ youth who may be forced out of their homes by their families. The neighborhood also has the second outpost of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” supportive housing for LGBT youth.

Meanwhile, there’s tai chi, stretching and meditative art classes at the borough’s first full-time senior center, at 260 East 188th St. operated by SAGE. Torres, who represents the area, helped get the funding for the three-year-old center.

Torres is working to bring more LGBT resources to the community. Last year, he secured $20 million to help transform a long-defunct Fordham Library into a new community hub, including home to an LGBTQ center. So, the Bronx may soon have two LGBTQ centers. 

Not bad, huh?

Check out scenes from Sunday’s Bronx Pride at the 1 Bronx Pride Festival!

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