CINCINNATI — Cincinnati has a growing LGBTQIA+ community, with multiple organizations putting down roots in recent years. But many advocates feel there needs to be something that unites them. That is where Treehouse Cincinnati comes in.
“People want to feel like they are not alone in the world, and we want to help them with that,” said Joshua Kayes, president of Treehouse Cincinnati. “The LGBTQ+ community here just has a really strong need and desire for more community and connection.”
Throughout the years, there have been attempts at unity that critics say failed to meet the diverse needs of those it promised to represent. Clarity Amrein, vice president of Treehouse Cincinnati, said the organization vows to be different.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed reaction, honestly,” Amrein said. “I think a lot of people are really, deeply excited, but I think a lot of other folks are concerned. They want to know how it works.”
The organization gives multiple LGBTQIA+ centered groups a gathering space to work collaboratively, advocate for human rights, assist with things like transitional housing and have its space serve as a community event venue.
While the pandemic has limited Treehouse’s ability to branch out in person, they’ve spent the past year connecting online.
“I feel like the LGBTQ community is often described as a community of individuals, which can be wonderful, but it can also create a lot of disconnect,” said Dan Davidson, co-founder of Treehouse Cincinnati. “I’ve spoken to people who are in their 60s and 70s who are suddenly realizing that their view of gender and sexuality has been very, very limited.”
Whether it’s age, race, disability or something else that would make someone feel othered, the goal here is to let members of the LGBTQIA+ community know they’re not alone and eventually have centers across the city.
“The hope is that people in the community that have felt separated, that have felt like they’ve not been a part of the crowd, will be able to look at the board or look at the work that we’re doing and finally see themselves and feel validated and feel loved,” Kayes said.
To learn more or get involved, there will be a presentation on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. online. You can find more information at treehousecinci.org.