Wingspan Community Center Exhibit

This exhibit showcases items pertaining to the Wingspan Community Center, which was a nonprofit resource center that existed in Tucson, Arizona from 1988 to 2014. Committed to providing outreach as well as social service programs, its members served as activists and advocates for the city's LGBTQ community. 

The initial vision of the center involved a space where meetings could be held on a regular basis, a lending library, and an info-line telephone service to share community information. The 50 people who met at the Unitarian Universalist Church on 22nd Street in Tucson in early 1988 brainstormed ways to form a “Lesbian and Gay Resource Center” that would later become Wingspan. Events such as biannual dances, and an annual lesbian and gay film festival would soon be arranged by volunteers.

In 1989 through an affiliation with the Southwest Alternatives Institute, Wingspan successfully applied for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status and received a grant from the Chicago Resources Center to rent a small space in the Pima County/Women’s Commission Offices. The space for Wingspan became larger as the years went on, and by the end of the agency's existence it had headquarters on North 4th Avenue and on 300 6th Street.

Some of the agency's major contributions to the Old Pueblo was the creation of PFLAG, Tucson's first Spanish-language LGBTQ group, and the Bilingual Anti-Violence Hotline. In 2014, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) took over operation of the Anti-Violence Programs and the Eon Youth Lounge program that had formerly been headed by Wingspan.

This exhibit features media generated from the organization's public forum held on June 7, 2008, entitled "The History of Community Activism in the GLBT Community in Tucson." In this series of video clips, speakers discuss their experiences and contributions to the local community from the 1970s to 2008 to commemorate Wingspan's 20th anniversary. The testimony of each speaker in the clips attests to the highly active and supportive LGBTQ community that has existed in Tucson for more than 25 years.


Arizona Queer Archives 2018