LGBTQ youth center coming to Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A new youth center is in the works for kids and teens in Panama City.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, in Panama City is working with "Free2Be," an advocacy group for people in the LGBTQ community.

According to the Free2Be website, organizers plan on beginning with a youth peer support group and moving from there as the effort receives funding for more services.

Free2Be has operated out of Alabama until now with Panama City being the first out-of-state office.

Mario Burton, the Executive Director of Free2Be, believes there is a need for this resource in the community.

"There are not a lot of resources, for youth especially, who are LGBTQ-identified to find support systems, whether or not that's clinical support or therapeutic support or just peer support, and sometimes peer support is all that's available, but it can change lives," Burton said.

The Free2Be youth center will have its grand opening in Panama City in April.

Burton said without PFLAG, Free2Be would not be able to serve the Panama City community.

He also explained that although Free2Be offices focus on the LGBTQ community, the centers are open to anyone.