Creating Unity in the Local LGBT Community

By Alyssa Pflug

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly claimed that Full Spectrum Community Outreach was the first LGBT resource center in Youngstown.

Full Spectrum Community Outreach is a new support center aiming to make the LGBT community in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties feel welcomed and supported.

The organization is not affiliated with the university, but YSU students Tim Bortner, Marnie Cram and Emily Coelho form its board of trustees. They brainstormed the program years ago, and in January they began reaching out to prepare for Full Spectrum’s July launch.

Bortner said the organization is currently focused on events, support groups, training and bringing awareness to the community. In the future, they have plans to serve as a mental health and emotional support center. The center has recently opened a physical space in St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“We are creating a home for those that need it or don’t have one or are in search of one and want answers and support of those who have been through what they’ve been through,” Cram said.

The meetings are important, because they provide a home to those who don’t have support in their lives and are seeking understanding, Cram said.

“We have people that come and are relieved that Full Spectrum exists, because they haven’t had resources to access,” she said. “They’ve felt alone, and they always express a sense of relief that they know where to come, that this exists.”

While YSUnity caters to students on campus, Full Spectrum is meant to be geared towards the community as a whole. Cram said they’re working to get the ball rolling on mental health counseling.

“In the long term we want to have the mental health agency running, the community groups running and strong, but we are also looking at creating emergency shelter,” she said.

Sarah Deiger, a volunteer with Full Spectrum, said everyone in the group is working together to help the LGBT community.

“There is not really another organization like this out there,” she said.

Full Spectrum hosts monthly support groups at St. John’s. A transgender support group is held on the second Sunday of every month from 6-8 p.m., and a sexuality support group is held on the second Thursday of every month at the same time. They are also open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

They’re holding a pancake dinner this Thursday at 6 p.m. for $6. And on Oct. 29, a mindfulness class is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m.

On Nov. 2, they will hold a candlelight vigil at the Courthouse at 6 p.m. to remember people who have committed suicide or been murdered, because they are transgender.


For more information, visit Full Spectrum’s Facebook page.