DANBURY, Conn. -- When the Triangle Cafe on Sugar Hollow Road in Danbury closed last year, New Milford resident Kim Gillece said it was disappointing for the local LGBTQ community.
"The Triangle Cafe was the hub of the social LGBTQ community in the Danbury area," said Gillece, who is program coordinator at the Triangle Community Center. The nonprofit organization in Norwalk provides community outreach, programming, social activities and support for the LGBTQ communities in Fairfield County.
Gillece is making it her mission to establish an LGBTQ community close to home.
Currently, to participate in many LGBTQ programs, people travel to Norwalk, White Plains or even Manhattan. "People who live in Danbury and the surrounding area might not have the time to commute back and forth," said Gillece, who works as an electronic data assistant in Ridgefield.
"We are trying to get a steering committee to organize events in the Greater Danbury area. We want your ideas and input of the types of activities and support you want to see in this area, which is slightly different from the Norwalk area," she said. "The area here is more spread out and because of that, it's more of a challenge to establish that sense of community."
According to Gillece, everyone should feel at home and welcome where they are and not be obligated to search for acceptance miles away.
Upcoming LGBTQ events in the Danbury area include: TWIST Danbury on Sept. 19, a dance party at Empire Szechuan in Bethel; an Out of the Darkness Walk at Tarrywile Park on Sept. 19 in Danbury, which is intended to bring awareness of suicide prevention; and the Connecticut Gay Social Network at the Redding Roadhouse on Oct. 3.
"Everyone is welcome with open arms to all our events. We want to see anyone who is interested and curious to come on out — you can be gay or straight or anywhere in between," she said.
Gillece applauded the great strides made by the LGBTQ community over the past few decades.
"We've come a long way in social acceptance but we still have a lot more to go," said Gillece, who recalled her days at New Milford High School when the school didn't have a Gay-Straight Alliance.
"I recently went back there and I noticed a sign to join this. It's really amazing that 15 years earlier, this wouldn't have been an option," she said.
She hopes that as more LGBTQ events are held in Greater Danbury, faces will become familiar. "We will build that way," she said. "Slowly but surely, we are making a community happen."
Members of the LGBTQ community meet on the second Sunday of the month at the United Universalist Church on Clapboard Ridge Road in Danbury.