Canton woman founds city’s 1st-ever LGBTQ+ Resource Center

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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CANTON, Ohio (WOIO) - A Canton woman has founded the city’s first ever LGBTQ+ resource center.

Abby Henry, Queer in Canton Founder & Executive Director, said she wants future generations to have the support that she never had growing up.

“I grew up here in Stark County, and I didn’t have a lot of queer role models. So I didn’t really feel like I had a community here or felt like I belonged,” Henry said. “I decided to move out of state to try and find that. And I ended up finding that at college in my LGBTQ resource center. I was able to ask questions and figure out my identity.”

When the pandemic hit, Henry moved home to Canton.

“I really wanted to make a difference moving back here, and so I started Queer in Canton in 2021. It just started as a website about resources in the area because a lot of people have to travel to Akron or Cleveland to access resources for the lgbtq+ community.”

“Then when the pandemic started to lift a little bit, we did some social gatherings. We did movie night, drag brunches things like that,” she said.

The center, located on Cleveland Avenue, is an inviting space that offers support groups, lounges and a community closet.

“We have a community closet that is geared toward someone who is going through a transition. And they need some new clothes to help affirm their gender identity and presentation. Another resource we provide is free safer injection kits,” Henry said. “They’re geared toward people who are going through hormonal replacement therapy. So maybe they can’t afford or their insurance doesn’t cover the syringes or needles they need to do their injections.”

The center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I think it’s really amazing for people to walk into somewhere that says Queer in Canton, and not feel ashamed or scared,” said Henry.