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New Haven Pride Center relocates to larger, more visible storefront

State and local officials joined New Haven Pride Center employees and community members at the ribbon cutting.
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
State and local officials joined New Haven Pride Center employees and community members at the ribbon cutting.

The New Haven Pride Center has officially moved into its new space. It moved to 50 Orange Street, about a block away from its old headquarters.

Community members said it’s not just an inclusive place to hang out — it’s also a food pantry, clothing closet and support system.

And according to Executive Director Juancarlos Soto, it’s a symbol of resilience and unity.

“This space is more than just walls and floors,” Soto said. “It is a symbol of our commitment to visibility, inclusivity and community empowerment. It's a place where we come together to share our stories and uplift each other. It is a beacon of hope, love and acceptance that shines brightly in our city and in the rest of the world.”

Advocates said the center now has more space for events and services that will support the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies, including one-on-one counseling.

The center has a food pantry and community closet for those in need.
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
The center has a food pantry and community closet for those in need.

The center has served the city since 1996.

Previously, it was located in the basement of a building. Now, it’s much more visible to the community.

“You took a huge leap forward for the Pride Center in prominence and in dignity, creating a space that represents the dignity that everyone deserves in our community,” Mayor Justin Elicker said. “And you have created a space that you just can't miss if you're walking down the block.”

At the center's ribbon cutting, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysieiwcz pointed out that it’s one of only two LGBTQIA+ community centers in Connecticut.

She said she’s proud of the state’s progress, but there’s still work to be done. She referenced multiple cities, like Darien, Wethersfield and Enfield, declining to fly the Pride flag during Pride Month last year.

“We do this work at a time when there are darker forces, trying to fight against the progress that we are making,” Bysieiwcz said. “And what I love about this location is that the New Haven Pride Center and New Haven is very clear about where they stand. And that is that everyone is in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.