INCEPTION OF VISUALITY, INC.
In 2010, Arlene Goldberg reestablished PFLAG in Lee County as it had previously been disbanded. PFLAG is an organization focused on uniting parents, families, and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, Arlene had realized there was a need for a support service in the SWFL community. Carrie Koehane started to attend the monthly meetings seeking support for her transgender daughter and support for herself. Not long after, Carrie and Arlene discussed there weren’t any services, at all, in Lee County focusing on LGBTQ+ youth. Together, they spoke with The Unitarian Universalists Church of Fort Myers (UUCFM) and asked if they could utilize space in their facility and hold an LGBTQ+ youth social event. They agreed as they thought it was a great idea and did not even charge for the space.
At this point, Carrie and Arlene needed a name for the community center and it didn’t take long to decide on one. Another mom and her son, who was gay, also attended the PFLAG meetings. Her son simply suggested it should be called Visuality and we decided Visuality it was…It just worked.
Visuality held these events several times and the community seemed to enjoy it. It also gave LGBTQ+ youth a safe space to be. Carrie and Arlene discussed taking it a bit further by starting a community center for LGBTQ+ youth. Visuality applied for a 501C3, Employee Identification Number. Which was approved shortly after the applications were submitted. Visuality became incorporated and everyone was ready to get to work forming the board of directors and start programming.
At first, Visuality continued to hold our events at UUCFM. Shortly realized there was nowhere to store supplies for events and were limited to times Visuality could utilize the space. So, Arlene and Carrie looked for space to house our Community Center. So that was the beginning of what we have today. There is one exception…. several years ago, Visuality realized the entire community needed services, so it expanded services to include all ages in the LGBTQ+ community.