A nonprofit dedicated to providing resources for Northern Virginia’s LGBTQ community has officially chosen Oakton for its headquarters.
After operating as a pop-up for 18 months, NoVA Prism Center opened its first physical offices at 10467 White Granite Drive, Suite 322, on Nov. 1. Open by appointment from noon to 7 p.m. daily, the headquarters hosts a publicly accessible library, a clothing closet and events, along with the organization’s administrative base.
“With the public opening of NoVA Prism Center, we will give our community a place to come together, learn, and thrive with access to stories about queer lives, bodies, and history,” Executive Director Leon van der Goetz said in a statement. “While we will not stop our Library Pop-up programming, our goal is to provide access to our community year-round, because the need for connection and representation doesn’t stop at the end of June.
Founded in May 2022, NoVA Prism was created by local transgender educators and activists after book challenges in 2021 led Fairfax County Public Schools to temporarily remove Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and Jonathan Evison’s coming-of-age novel “Lawn Boy” from library shelves.
With schools and libraries across the U.S. continuing to face pressure to ban books, particularly ones that deal with race, sexuality and gender identity, NoVA Prism wants to ensure the local LGBTQ community has access to books and other resources going forward, its website says.
Prior to opening its headquarters, the nonprofit appeared at local Pride festivals and other events, including ones hosted by Fairfax County Public Library. It has also brought a pop-up library to businesses and community groups, such as Reston Museum.
The organization announced the location for its new headquarters at an inaugural “Coming Out Gay-la” fundraiser in Reston on Oct. 20.
Van der Goetz says NoVA Prism Center chose 10467 White Granite Drive as its headquarters because the building already houses several other nonprofits, including ServiceSource and the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons, “whose communities frequently overlap with our own.”
“The opportunities for collaboration and connection, intentional architecture supporting the Disability community, and access to a shared community classroom and conference rooms to support our programs made the space ideal for meeting our needs,” he told FFXnow.
The nonprofit is continuing to fundraise to bring more events and resources to its new center. In addition to accepting donations through its website, it publishes a zine called The Lantern that focuses on the experiences of LGBTQ teens and adults in the D.C. area.
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