OUT 2 Dance Fuses Fun With a Good Cause For LGBTQ Women in Pittsburgh

One pervasive myth about Pittsburgh is that there isn’t enough things to do. Longtime community member Cindy rose to the challenge by organizing a twice-year dance for LGBTQ women, to benefit the Gay & Lesbian Community Center and provide a social opportunity. Out2Dance

Out 2 Dance is scheduled for Saturday April 6 from 4-11 PM at Buffalo Inn at South Park. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and be purchased on-line.

(Please note: Some responses are in all caps because I’m having a bad hand day – carpal tunnel – and could not retype. Think of it as joyful exuberance!)

What does it mean to be “Out 2 Dance?”   Out 2 Dance is an event I started, with my wife, Kathy, in the Fall of 2009. We wanted to have an event that would be inexpensive for the community, but still be a fundraiser for the GLCC. We wanted to keep it simple, rent a space, hire a D.J., and have a dance. The event has grown quickly and in many ways. We started out at the Absolute Ballroom with 100 people, and now we average 250 with the event at the Buffalo Inn at South Park. It is so much more than a dance. We have gay/gay friendly vendors, and we have a coffee cafe. We do a Share the Bounty buffet, where people bring everything from crock pots of food to beautiful displays of edible art. BYOB really helps keep the cost down too. We have played several games over the years, like Oldywed / Newlywed, and this year will be FLINGO BINGO. The event was getting to be more than we could handle on our own, (with the help of friends) so this year, we now have a committee. Fresh ideas are always good.

The event is a fundraiser for the GLCC. Why do you support that organization? And tell us about the other beneficiary organization, too. I started helping out at the GLCC about 11 years ago, by helping out friends at events they were doing. I have met many wonderful, giving people, who all volunteer their time, creating a space for all. I wish I had a place like this when I was coming out, OR had known about it.

As for the other beneficiary organization, this year being Pet Friends, we actually started this idea back when you approached me about doing the Tote Bag drive. Since then, we have had several other groups, including a coat drive and Planned Parenthood, Frankie’s Friends and now Pet Friends. We set up a card table for them, and ask for 2 volunteers from their group to come and collect from our generous patrons. It’s a win – win! Editor’s note: Out2Dance added a tote bag drive to their September 2010 dance and raised quite a bit of food/totes.

Your event targets older LGBTQ women. Is there much available for that demographic (I should include myself in this as I’m 42.) in Pittsburgh?  I’m not sure we “target” older LGBTQ women, everyone is welcome. We have ladies from 21 – 75 come to these events. I think maybe, because Kathy and I are both in our early 50’s, started doing events in our early 40’s, so of course most of our friends are around that age, and then they invite friends, etc, I think because of that, we just kinda fell into that category. Fortunately, over the past couple years, I have seen more groups for women popping up. Lez-Do-It, Impulse Pgh, Women of Pride, Wilderness Women, Silver Threads, etc, I like to think that everyone is welcome at all of them.

What other sorts of activities/events would you like to see for women in our community? How about a LGBTQ retirement community 🙂

Is this a good opportunity for single women to meet new friends? THIS IS A GREAT PLACE FOR SINGLE WOMEN & COUPLES TO MEET NEW FRIENDS! IN FACT, WE WILL NOW HAVE GREETERS AT THE DOOR, SO IF YOU ARE NEW TO THE EVENT OR AREA, ETC, SOMEONE WILL SHOW YOU AROUND AND WE ARE RESERVING A TABLE FOR PEOPLE WHO COME BUT DON’T KNOW ANYONE ELSE THERE. IN ADDITION, WE HOPE TO HAVE DIFFERENT COLORED BRACELETS FOR THE SINGLES, COUPLES AND FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO IDENTIFY AS EITHER.

How can local businesses support your event?  THEY CAN MAKE A DONATION AS A DOORPRIZE, I ALWAYS SUGGEST A GIFT CERTIFICATE TO THEIR BUSINESS, THAT WAY WHOEVER WINS WILL GO TO THEIR BUSINESS, MAKING IT A WIN – WIN. IN RETURN FOR THEIR DONATION, WE WILL PUT OUT THEIR FLYERS AT THE EVENT AND ADD THEIR BUSINESS INFO AS A SPONSOR TO THE WWW.OUT2DANCE.ORG WEBPAGE. OR THEY CAN BE A VENDOR AT A FUTURE EVENT.

What’s the most popular song at this event? THAT WOULD PROBABLY BE BEST ANSWERED BY D.J. ADELE, WHO HAS BEEN WITH US SINCE THE BEGINNING, BUT I WOULD PROBABLY GUESS “I AM WHAT I AM” THAT SONG IS TIMELESS AND REALLY SEEMS TO GET THE EVERYONE ON THE DANCE FLOOR.

If you were going to send one person to Dancing With the Stars, whom would it be? SOMEONE WE ALL CALL “DANCING KIM” THE WOMAN LOVES TO DANCE AND IS GOOD AT IT, AND MOST PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME KEEPING UP WITH HER.

What sorts of barriers do you see for women in the local LGBTQ community? How would you address them? I am so blessed. I am accepted by my family, friends, work, neighbors, etc. and personally have not had to deal with many barriors, but I know they are there, which is part of why I want to support the GLCC, I want to pay it forward. I realize that many are not as fortunate as I am, so by doing fund raisers for the GLCC, others who are not so fortunate, will have a place to turn to.

Are you originally from Pittsburgh? If yes, why did you stay? If no, what brought you here and kept you here? I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN NORTH VERSAILLES. I STAYED BECAUSE MOST OF MY FAMILY IS HERE, AND I STARTED WORKING WITH VERIZON SHORTLY AFTER I TURNED 19 YEARS OLD. (BTW, VERIZON IS ONE OF THE FIRST COMPANIES IN PA TO OFFER SAME SEX HEALTH BENEFITS, THEY ALSO DONATE $750 A YEAR TO THE GLCC FOR MY 50 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE.)

 Do you need volunteers for the event? As I mentioned, we just became a committee, and I am so delighted to see so many ladies step up to help, Spring Fling should be the best so far!

You can learn more about Out2Dance and purchase tickets via their website. This is a fun way to meet new people, have a good time with your friends and support the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh.

And let Cindy and her “Leaping Ladies” inspire you to explore what’s out there in the community – and if nothing is quite a fit – start your own activity. Or blog. 🙂

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