Human Dignity Coalition Lays Off Executive Director

Central Oregon's Human Dignity Coalition celebrated its 20 year anniversary in November with a barn dance. Photo via Human Dignity Coalition.
Central Oregon’s Human Dignity Coalition celebrated its 20 year anniversary in November with a barn dance. Photo via Human Dignity Coalition.
By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

The Human Dignity Coalition — an LGBTQ organization serving Central Oregon — announced late last night that it is letting go Executive Director Melissa Adams Gianoplus. The organization, which celebrated 20 years in November, said it can no longer afford to pay any staff. Gianoplus had been in the position since May 2012.

The HDC provides a number of services to LGBTQ folks in Central Oregon, including weekly support groups for queer/trans/allied youth as well as for transgender adults, mental health counseling for members of the LGBTQ community, and regular social events. In November, the Coalition was working to introduce LGBTQ-specifiec domestic violence response and prevention programs.

In a message to supporters, the HDC’s Board of Directors said the organization isn’t bringing in enough money to pay for staff and programs:

Like many non-profits in Central Oregon, the Human Dignity Coalition (HDC) has struggled with the recent economic downturn and its negative effect on charitable giving.  During the past two years we have seen our revenues decline significantly.  In August 2011 we were forced to lay off our program director in an attempt to keep our budget balanced.  Still, our revenues were not enough to balance organizational expenses. This January the HDC board was forced to make the difficult decision to let our Executive Director Melissa Adams Gianoplus go due to a lack of funding for her position.

When I talked to Gianoplus in November, she described the organization’s role in the region currently and historically:

In addition to mobilizing successfully to defeat 1992 Ballot Measure 9, we have successfully added anti-discrimination ordinances for the LGBTQ community in the Bend City Countcil, We just celebrated our Fourth Annual Queer Prom, our Eighth Annual Central Oregon Gay Pride event and our Tenth Annual Drag Show.  We are starting monthly Gay Disco nights in December.

The board said it will continue to manage the HDC’s existing programs with the help of volunteers while it works to regain its financial footing. Gianoplus has not yet responded to a request for comment. To volunteer with the Human Dignity Coalition, call (541) 385-3320 or email.