Everybody is welcome at Casa Ruby.
That's the pitch from local transgender activist Ruby Corado, who plans to open an LGBT-targeted resource center in Columbia Heights this month at a to-be-confirmed venue. A ceremonial opening with Mayor Vincent Gray (D) is tentatively scheduled for June 6.
Corado says her ''Casa Ruby'' will cater primarily to the Latino ''LGBTQ'' community, but will also reach out to other non-LGBT populations, as well as work in partnership with other LGBT organizations in the District. Corado says about 20 people have already offered to volunteer at the center, which will have two full-time and five part-time staff members working from about 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Corado says she hopes to reach segments of the population who don't have access to resources or services, including transsexuals, sexual minorities, youth and people struggling with immigration-related issues. She expects the resource center to double as a community center where people can meet and spend time with friends.
''I live in D.C., I grew up in D.C. Many people have opened doors for me, and now I want to be able to open doors to everyone else,'' Corado says. ''Even though some services are going to be targeted to some groups, I envision this as a multicultural center.''
Casa Ruby is being designed to assist people with several issues affecting the LGBT and Latino communities, including employment and economic development, immigration issues and HIV prevention and treatment. Corado hopes to have her center soon offer English classes for second-language learners and Spanish classes for native English speakers, too.
''I have been very blessed to work with a lot of people, and I know there were people I couldn't reach, and now I have a place that could help everybody,'' she says. ''I want this place to feel like a home.''
For more information on Casa Ruby, visit casaruby.org or follow @CasaRubyDC on Twitter.