Country singer Chely Wright is leveraging her sphere of influence to continue promoting a cause that she cares deeply and personally about. Wright, who came out just two years ago, has since created a philanthropic organization called Like Me that serves to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Now, Like Me is opening a LGBT community center called the Lighthouse.

The goal of the new community center is to foster a safe and inclusive environment where people can go to feel supported and respected. Located in Kansas City, Mo., the center is still slightly under construction, but the eventual plan is to include resources like meeting spaces, a library with more than 2,000 books and videos and a computer lab.

“Everyone from all over the country donated these books because they wanted us to have an LGBT library,” the Lighthouse Director Charlene Daniels told Fox 4 News. Daniels added that she wished she could have gone to a center like this when several of her family members came out, adding, “I think there’s a long ways to go but if people would support a center like this it would help.”

The center’s resources will be carefully targeted to help those who may be coming out, especially young people. “When you’re a young person and you’re 15, 13-years-old, confusion is a word that I think a lot of people throw around when they don’t want someone to be gay,” Wright said in an interview with the KC Forum radio show. “I try to not use the word confusion … When a young person goes to their parents and a lot of parents who don’t want their kids to be gay will say they’re just confused, but sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes the case is that the kid isn’t actually confused — it’s that they’re gay. The kid is trying to say, ‘Mom, Dad, I think I’m gay.’”

Wright added, “Parents need to journey forward and take that step to go to the Lighthouse which is a great resource now for parents and seek out books and counseling … The parent needs to be the parent.”

This Saturday (March 10), the center will host an official ribbon cutting ceremony in the afternoon. That night, the organization will be presenting a benefit concert featuring Wright along with other talents, including Hal Sparks, Alan Cumming, Jennifer Knapp, Thomas Roberts, Tracy Ryerson, Stamie Karakasidis and Kristie Stremel. The Like Me Lighthouse will be open on a daily basis from 11AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday and will also open its doors from noon to 6PM every Sunday.

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