LGBT Community Center brings back Big Night OUT

Molly Snyder for OnMilwaukee

Last summer, reported that The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center had a new board and was making some changes after struggling with numerous challenges including financial difficulties.

To celebrate the accomplishments, raise funds for programming and to unify the community, the group will sponsor a Big Night OUT event for the first time in several years.

Big Night OUT takes place Friday, Oct. 11 at the Potawatomi Expo Center at 5:30 p.m.

“We are celebrating National Coming OUT Day in a big way. It is important for members of the community and our allies to come out on a regular basis. We are excited to celebrate with so many members of the community,” says board member Denise Cawley.

Tickets are $100 and available online or at the door.

The evening includes dinner, cash bar, raffles, a silent auction and an entertaining cabaret of comedy, song, dance and drama. Scheduled performers include Robin Pluer, The Squeezettes, BJ Daniels, Danceworks and more.

According to Cawley, previous galas attracted around 200 guests.

“We already have 400 paid attendees and with performers and volunteers we are looking at 475 easily for attendance Friday,” says Cawley.

The mission of the gala was to make it nothing like previous galas. Instead of the usual sit-down dinner there will be food stations and there will not be any long speeches.

“The goal is to celebrate the astonishing accomplishments of this comeback. This is the big event of the year where we ask folks to help support the center with their paid attendance,” says Cawley.

With the new board that took over in March 2012, the center has added programs like SAGE (a senior LGBT group) and built up its youth program, Project Q, to offer more diverse activities like art and theater.

The center also offers free Healthy Relationships classes and family events to reach out to younger LGBT community members and LGBT parents.

“Staying on top of current events is a big part of our mission. Many say we are the leading LGBT organization in the state in speaking to the press on current events,” says Cawley.