MCIL Thanks Lavender

I am writing to thank Lavender for your coverage of the GLBT support group here at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL), and for covering the broader issues of GLBT individuals who also happen to identify as disabled, in Bill Burleson’s article [“Independently GLBT,” Lavender, Feb. 15].

For more than 26 years, MCIL has provided a wide range of services to people with disabilities across the seven-county metro areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, including those who also identify as GLBT. Many of our efforts have been in response to the reality that individuals who identify both as GLBT and disabled very often face a triple dose of discrimination.

First, they often face discrimination from the general public because they are disabled and/or GLBT. Second, they face discrimination from some in the GLBT community because they are disabled. And third, they face discrimination from some in the disabled community because they are GLBT. Dealing with these realities can become quite consuming and devastating without a safe outlet where one can share concerns, successes, and frustrations. MCIL strives to provide that outlet.

One of my first acts as Executive Director of MCIL more than 11 years ago was to respond to an angry letter writer who wrote to share her extreme displeasure that MCIL would host such a group: “How dare MCIL, as a nonprofit serving people with disabilities, validate this ‘abnormal lifestyle?’” I think our response to the letter writer becomes clearer every day with the continued existence of the support group.

Thank you again for shining a spotlight on our attempt to provide a positive resource and support to individuals who, while facing incredible discrimination, continue to try to find a place to simply “be.”

David Hancox

Executive Director
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living

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