ST. LOUIS (AP) — A transgender advocacy group is getting ready to open its new headquarters thanks to the donation of a 19th century, two-story house in St. Louis.
The Metro Trans Umbrella Group will officially open its headquarters next month at the Benton Park West house, which used to belong to Vickie and Tom Maxwell, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The Maxwells said they donated the house because their daughter lived there during her transition.
"It was a no-brainer," Vickie Maxwell said. "We knew we were going to give it to (MTUG) and hope it could bring some love to the people who come there."
She said she wants the house to symbolically say to those facing challenges, "Maybe other people wrote you off, but there are people who care about you and want the best for you."
The new headquarters replaces a leased space in an office basement and will allow the nonprofit to grow. The group's mission is to provide a private, comfortable space for people to socialize and access support services.
The basement of the house will serve as a laundry, food pantry and place to store personal items for those transitioning. The home will provide lots of space for meetings, social gatherings and the organization's growing number of support groups.
The house "feels integrated into a larger community but is a space unto us. That's what's exciting to me about it," said Rin Henderson, a volunteer helping set up the new headquarters.
"This is what we were meant to do — give to this organization," Vickie Maxwell said. "It's wonderful to think about the kids who come in there. Their hopes and dreams are exactly the same. Like everybody else, they just want to be accepted for who they are."