Local LGBTQ+ youth service organization makes plans to reopen community center 

Inside Out Youth Services is working diligently to reopen their community center with increased security measures and an improved experience overall following the the shooting at Club Q in November 2022. There is no set reopening date for the community center at this time. 

Since November, the community center has been operating remotely through mediums like Discord and telehealth therapy while simultaneously reevaluating the security measures they had in place.  

According to Liss Smith, communications manager for Inside Out, this is due to attendees feeling unsafe gathering there. 

Liss Smith, Director of the Inside Out Community Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Photo by Kira Thorne 

“When the shooting happened … we had to make some pretty quick decisions, and our young folks were saying ‘we don’t feel safe gathering in person; we don’t feel safe coming to a place that people know where we are and know what times we’re going to be there.’ That did not feel safe for them, which is completely understandable,” Smith said.  

The community center at Inside Out is a place for people to socialize, play games and access educational programming. According to their website, Inside Out also promotes advocacy and outreach for the LGBTQ+ community in El Paso County overall. 

In an effort to get their community center reopened, Inside Out has been consulting with experts on the subject of violence towards marginalized communities, performing physical security audits, running cybersecurity audits and hiring onsite security. 

Smith is excited about the progress the organization has made and looks forward to offering in-person services again. 

“I’m just excited to see the young folks again,” they said. “It’s weird to not see [the community center] full. Usually we’ll have a Disney movie on the TV, someone playing piano, there’s crafts going on in the fishbowl, and it’s just weird to not have people there.” 

Inside Out also recognizes that they are not alone in this renovation and recovery period. Smith said that the community as a whole has been impacted by the tragedy at Club Q, and people should take all the time they need to recover. 

“We went through a traumatic event as a community, and it is understandable that we have trauma responses related to that,” Smith said. “It’s OK if you’re still scared; if you’re still sad. There is no time limit for getting over something like this.” 

Inside Out works with kids ages 13-24. They offer life skill programming that teaches young adults  how to make a budget, how to file taxes and more. They also offer leadership positions like internships and peer advisor positions. 

For more information on Inside Out, students can visit their website or contact them via email using this online form

Interior of the Inside Out Youth community center. Photo by Kira Thorne.