Incorporation and Bylaws
Pride Lafayette incorporated in May 2003. The latest version of our Bylaws is available here.
Pride Lafayette obtained 501(c)(3) status in April 2004, making your donations tax exempt. For more information, please use our Contact Form to send us a message.
Pride Lafayette, Inc. and the Pride Lafayette Community Center has a history that spans back to the late 20th Century. The roots of the organization can be found in the post-Stonewall LGBTA civil rights era. The sense of freedom for LGBTA community members to be who they are led to increased community organizing in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area. Our local civil rights battles of the 1990’s solidified bonds across all segments of the community. This energy spawned interest in establishing a welcoming organization that would continue to promote strong connections among LGBTA people and allies in Tippecanoe County. The results were the formation of Pride Lafayette, Inc. and the opening of the first LGBTA community center in our local community.
Starting in 1998, a conglomeration of community organizations in Lafayette assembled to host a booth at pride events in Indianapolis. After the 2000 event, volunteers expressed a desire for participating organizations to stay in contact and continue to associate with one another more closely. They also wanted to create a safe space for individuals to come together to support one another, thrive from the strength of common experiences, and work together to build a stronger community.
In July 2000, the Pride Lafayette email discussion list was introduced to facilitate communication among local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally (LGBTA) organizations and other community members seeking information about events and resources in the area.
In August 2002, after another successful Pride Lafayette booth at the Indy Pride Fayre, some individuals decided it was time to develop Pride Lafayette as an organization. Planning meetings began and the organization started to form.
In April 2003, Pride Lafayette, Inc. was born. The same month, the organization opened its first community center at 646 Main St., Lafayette.
In 2004, the Pride Lafayette Community Center was moved to a new location at 658 Main St., Suite 218. The new location fostered growth in the organization and provided a comfortable space for social events, meetings, and educational seminars. The Center’s library was also born in this space.
In 2008, Pride Lafayette, Inc., in conjunction with Citizens for Civil Rights (CCR), Lafayette’s chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and other local community organizations, hosted the first-ever pride celebration in our community. OUToberfest 2008: Tippecanoe County Pride Celebration took place on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2008, and brought over 3,000 people to the street festival held between 6th and 7th Streets on Main Street, Lafayette.
In 2009, the Pride Lafayette Community Center changed its address yet again. On May 30, 2009, a large group of volunteers moved the Pride Lafayette Community Center to its new home at 640 Main St. This location offers 50% more space, an accessible entrance and restroom, and a beautiful interior that welcomes everyone who enters it.
On August 29, 2009, Pride Lafayette, Inc., in conjunction with Citizens for Civil Rights (CCR), Lafayette’s chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and other local community organizations, hosted OUTfest ’09: the 2nd Annual Tippecanoe County Pride Celebration. The festival’s name was changed from OUTobefest to OUTfest and moved to August due to scheduling conflicts with other community events. While the change caused some initial confusion, in the end the expanded festival brought over 5,000 people to Main Street Lafayette between 6th and 9th Streets.
In December of 2009, we decided to participate in the Lafayette Christmas Parade. We felt this was an opportunity to reach the a segment of the public who would not normally attend a Pride event and it gave us an opportunity to show the community that we are, in fact, “normal”. Our theme for the parade was “There’s No Place Like Home.” We featured Dorothy’s red slippers and a rainbow of balloons. The streets of Lafayette and West Lafayette were filled with Judy Garland singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow. We won 1st Place. No one could believe it! How could we? But we did.
In 2010, we developed a new program: instead of National Coming OUT Day, we launched National Coming OUT Week. One of the highlights of the week was Family Art Day, held in conjunction with the Indiana Youth Group. All of the participant’s art was hung in the Spectrum Art Gallery inside the Community Center and a special gallery opening was held to unveil the work to the community; both Mayors and other local elected officials were in attendance. The gallery also became a member of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, allowing our participation in the Taste of Tippecanoe. We were also invited to work the Uptown Jazz & Blues Festival by the Chamber of Commerce, which provided another means of raising funds for the organization. OUTfest continued to grow and saw a restructuring of the planning team to more evenly distribute responsibilities among the Chairs. This was the first year we participated in Operation Trick or Treat. We went all-out: we held a Halloween party inside the Center, which included a carry-in, costumes, and, of course, a little Charlie Brown. We did encounter some concerns and resistance from various community members regarding our participation, but we opted to participate and were very glad we did. We received a lot of positive feedback from the community. 2010 also saw the inception of another new tradition: Thanksgiving at the Center. We wanted to give everyone who otherwise would not have a place to go a safe space to enjoy some food and socializing. We also repeated our 1st Place finish in the Christmas Parade!
In 2011, after 8 years as an organization, we elected our first female President. There was an almost instant change in the atmosphere; in the past the organization was mostly lead by all male individuals. For the first time the Board, was split evenly among male, female and transgender individuals. The Board split the Vice President role into two positions, with one responsible for Programming and the other for Volunteers. We expanded our host staff from 6 to 14 and were invited to work at Dancing in the Streets. This was also our first year participating in the Holocaust Conference at Purdue. 2011 saw bullying and teen suicide became a national issue among LGBT youth. We partnered with the ACLU, PFLAG, and other community organizations to hold two community showings of the film “Bullied.” In December, we were fortunate enough to host Lafayette native C.D. Hullinger for a reading and signing of her latest illustrated book, Snakes Wear Socks.
We began 2012 with over 30 hosts. The growth and interest in hosting we saw this year was amazing. Many new regular programs were launched: the LGBT Parents Support Group, the Bisexual Support Group, a book club, and a craft night. Additionally, we launched special monthly programming facilitated by a Board Member. The programming included “Get Yourself Tested” (in partnership with Planned Parenthood), “Milk in May”, “Red White and Gay”, “Trans Awareness: a viewing of Transamerica”, “LGBT Youth: The Trials and Tribulations of Coming Out in High School” and many more. Greensburg Indiana made national news this year when a video was leaked to the public depicting a young child singing a derogatory song directed at the LGBT community as the congregation cheered him on. We were asked, and agreed, to participate in a peaceful protest at the church; this was the first protest we officially participated in as an organization. 15 of us dressed in our Sunday best traveled to Greensburg to show our support and educate the community; we want Indiana to be a welcoming place for all and teaching hate is not OK. OUTfest was expanded into a 3 day event, starting with the film “We Were Here” on Friday, OUTfest on Saturday, and Sunday Brunch. We also began charging a small admission fee to cover the cost of the event due to its explosive growth and positive reception in the community. We began working at Germanfest this year and are proud to say we now work at every festival in downtown Lafayette. Our Christmas Parade float, “Island of the Misfit Toys”, took first place!
We invite you to come for visit and become part of these exciting times in our history!