Edit ModuleShow Tags

Crisis Center

Oahu’s oldest gay community center ponders its future.


Photo by istock

In 1973, a group of young activists founded Love and Peace Together—a nonprofit now known as The Aloha Pride Center—to help Honolulu’s gay community. It was partly a political reaction to the time. Four years had passed since the Stonewall riots marked the start of the gay rights movement in the U.S., and Hawaii was only beginning to understand what that meant.  

Since then, the center has survived at least a handful of relocations, but it’s still managed to offer the same services to Honolulu’s GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community, including support groups, referrals for medical care and coordination of the annual Pride Parade. In the late ’80s, the center helped educate the public about HIV and safe sex. In the ’90s, it lobbied at the state Legislature for same-sex marriage rights.  

Local filmmaker Connie Florez started working with the center a few years after Hawaii residents voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. “We went out into the schools and shared our stories about coming out,” she recalls. “We had a good dialogue going back forth, even with some folks who had voted against us.” 

With all of the center’s work over the past 35 years, it surprised many of its supporters when it shut down its Kakaako office in March. The center also discontinued all of its programs except for its transgender support group. What happened?

It just couldn’t afford to keep its door open, says board chairman Charles Monoiki Ah Nee. The nonprofit has a history of financial problems, but it wasn’t until about a year ago, when an interim executive director took over, that the board realized how dire the situation was.

“We realized we had a lot of financial obligations, including paying back taxes that amounted to $30,000,” he says.

The board has blamed previous management for the center’s finances, but Ah Nee says it’s more important to figure out how to save the center now, rather than point fingers. So far, the board has hired an accountant to clean up financial liabilities and will continue to ask for donations.

But as the center struggles to get its act together, some people are starting to wonder, “Does Honolulu even need a gay community center?” In the May issue of Da Kine magazine, which bills itself as “the voice of Hawaii’s gay community,” its editor asked readers to consider whether the center was obsolete.

“It’s done good things in the past—especially in helping young people come to terms with their sexuality—but maybe this city can’t really support a center,” says publisher Hans Anderson. “I don’t know if this city is big enough to have enough people participating, like L.A. or San Francisco.”

Ah Nee admits that he’s wondered that himself, and in the coming months, “We’ll ask the community if they think the center has run its course,” he says. “But I really hope not.” 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine February 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags



Here’s How Hawai‘i Responded on Social Media to the False Ballistic Missile Alert

Ward Warehouse

A false alarm caused by human error sent the entire state of Hawai‘i into panic mode.


Twitter is Going Nuts Over Barack Obama’s Backward Hat and Rubbah Slippahs


Vacation mode: Activate.


6 Things You Need to Know About Rat Lungworm Disease Before You Eat a Salad

Rat lungworm disease

Everyone’s talking about the recent disease outbreak affecting the Islands. Find out what it is, where it comes from and how you can prevent it.


Here’s How to Survive a Possible North Korea Nuclear Strike in Hawai‘i

North Korea

What you need to do according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense.


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.



Edit ModuleShow Tags