Empowered in Mount Pleasant

La Clinica del Pueblo welcomes gay youth to new drop-in center

On June 8 La Clinica del Pueblo welcomed members of the local LGBT community to see the site that will house its youth drop-in center, Mpodérate!, at 3055 Mount Pleasant St. NW. And at noon on Saturday, June 26, La Clinica del Pueblo is using the space to host another open house — this one strictly for those who will be using it: ”queer youth” between 13 and 24.

”We’re going to have deejays, massages, Zumba classes, and we’re going to have somebody come and give some strip-pole lessons as well,” José Ramirez, youth program coordinator at La Clinica, says of the upcoming free event.

Notably, the “Mpodérate!” moniker is a play on two Spanish words, roughly translating to “empower yourself.”

La Clinica, a nonprofit clinic catering to the local Latino community, will also provide HIV testing and educational workshops during the open-house event. Topics range from ”how to de-stress,” tips on putting on makeup, and how to have safe sex.

”We’ll be teaching people how to put on condoms with their mouths, and we’ll be doing things around female condoms as well.”

Ramirez describes the drop-in center on Mount Pleasant Street as ”colorful.” The space includes a library, a gymnasium and a computer room.

Ramirez says La Clinica is currently developing programs for Latino youth about immigration reform and intimate partner violence (IPV).

”A lot of our young people are in situations with their partners where there’s a lot of domestic violence going on and it’s not really talked about.”

Other long-term goals include working with the city to provide twice-monthly testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

And while funding for the drop-in center from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is intended to specifically target males and transwomen, Ramirez says lesbians are also welcome.

”It is a CDC-funded program, so they ask that we work specifically with trans, gay, bi and questioning youth, but we do have lesbians who come to the center. We don’t turn them away.”

La Clinica del Pueblo’s Mpodérate! is located at 3055 Mount Pleasant St. NW. It’s open Monday-Friday 12-8 p.m., and Saturday 12-5 p.m. For more information visit lcdp.org.

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