In October of 2015, Dr. Brenda Risch began co-facilitating a support group for the families of transgender youth. When she realized the hosting agency was going to close its doors, she was motivated to develop more resources for LGBTQ people and their families. She launched an LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment to find out what form these resources should take. The findings showed that almost no needs of the LGBTQ+ community were being met. Therefore, she formed a coalition of interested people and launched a campaign to found the Borderland Rainbow Center (BRC).
Within months, the BRC had found a temporary home, had acquired non-profit 501(c)3 status, and established a board of directors. The doors to the BRC officially opened on September 2, 2016 on Silver Street. We moved to 2714 Wyoming in May 2017 after outgrowing our first site.
The community needs assessment guided the initial services and activities of the BRC:
provide drug- and alcohol-free social space for queer people;
provide support groups;
create meeting space for queer organizations;
provide educational and cultural workshops;
create better access to health and mental health services.
We also quickly added food pantry services, since food insecurity is a chronic problem in El Paso.
Respect - we do not practice or permit any discrimination on the basis of basis of race, color, gender, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, veteran status, physical handicap, disability, socioeconomic status, language, or source of income.
Warmth- we value the power of a friendly greeting and a genuine spirit of helpfulness. We treat all clients with warmth, while maintaining professional boundaries.
Financial transparency and responsibility - Financial misconduct is a preventable failing for any agency. We track and monitor revenue and spending so that as much money as possible supports our programming and services and donor-designated money is used for the desired goals.
Evidence-based Services/Interventions - We aim to provide services that are effective and and empowering. To this end, we focus on methods and models that have scientific evidence of success - adapting them as necessary to a Borderland context.
The Borderland Rainbow Center is an LGBTQ Community Center that serves queer people of all ages. We promote healing and empowerment through support groups, therapy on a sliding-scale, casework and referrals, and by providing healthy social and educational events. We transform our community through advocacy and training so that allies in the educational, medical, mental health, social services, legal, and business fields are better equipped to serve the LGBTQ community.
Our logo was designed by Mason Castillo and represents our vision of an equitable world, where all people are given the respect and opportunities to fully realize their potential.