WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– A new clothing store has opened in Williamsport, and it’s specifically for members of the LGBTQ community.
There’s a new way for members of the LGBTQ community in Lycoming County to shop without judgment, the Brian Spies Boutique.
“This is a safe place for people to come, get clothes for free. They can take whatever they want, as much as they want, we have a fitting room so that’s really the whole point of it,” says Megan Bloom, a PR Coordinator at AIDS resource.
AIDS resource was inspired to open the boutique after a recent incident with one of their supporters. “I was walking into Lowes dressed how I am today, how I usually dress and someone had taken pictures and then posted them on Facebook. Which kind of opened up this pit of bullying,” says Brian Spies.
The organization decided to name the boutique in Brian’s honor. “I absolutely was just so flattered by that and it really made a great deal to me,” he says.
To ensure shoppers feel comfortable, the boutique’s location is kept discreet. “They can face a lot of stigma and people can be really mean. So we want to make sure that they know they can feel safe coming here,” says Megan Bloom, a PR Coordinator at AIDS resource.
AIDS resource also provides HIV and AIDS resources onsite. Brian hopes this project generates more support for the LGBTQ community. “It’s how you destigmatize, by making people familiar with the people in their community that are different from them but really aren’t,” he says.