Interview with Amanda Keller, Executive Director of The Magic City Acceptance Center, right here in Birmingham!
Q. What is Magic City Acceptance Center (MCAC)?
- The Magic City Acceptance Center is a safe, supportive, and affirming space for LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24), adults, and children in Birmingham and surrounding areas. MCAC initiatives include, but are not limited to: Drop-In Hours, Movie Nights, Access to Community and National Resources, Free HIV/STI Testing and Education, Free Counseling with Licensed Professional Counselors, Self-Care Workshops, Tutoring, LGBTQ Children and Adult Programs.
Q. If someone is questioning their gender or sexual orientation, what should they do?
- We tell parents to try to be as calm as possible during this time because your child is just as confused as you. Parents are typically the last to know, which is OK. Stay patient and supportive. We advise questioning youths to know that whatever you are going through – it is OK, and you are not alone. Find resources and talk with people you trust. The Trevor Project is a 24/7 hotline if you are in need of support. Other resources like The Trevor Project can be found on MCAC’s website and Facebook page.
Q. If someone is questioning their gender or sexual orientation, what can MCAC provide for them?
- MCAC acknowledges that no two cases are the same. Therefore, no blanket statements are offered for any circumstance. If it is within MCAC’s power and resources, we will find a way to help in any way we can.
Q. Why are places like MCAC necessary?
- Every day is proof of why safe spaces like MCAC are needed. Youths have expressed that without us, they may not have had the courage to continue life and that MCAC provided them with hope and a reason to exist. Experiencing the strides and successes people have made because of the center is extremely rewarding. Members know that MCAC will affirm them and use the pronouns they wish. (65% of our members identify as transgender or non-binary.) MCAC provides a safe space for people to escape the lack of knowledge that surrounds them. The public desperately needs to be better informed, and the amount of information needed is endless. We see the bigotry and it is clear that change is crucial.
To learn more about the Magic City Acceptance Center, click here.