CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - When Cory Simpson moved to Champaign nearly a decade ago, he was able to find a welcoming LGBTQ+ community. But after Chester Street Bar closed in 2017, a LGBTQ+ oriented nightclub, Simpson found himself searching for a community again. 

Simpson wanted to create a community where LGBTQ friends could come together to chat, plan and share events and meet other like-minded people in the area. He founded the Facebook group, Chambana Pride Community. The group has members that range in age from 18 to their 60s and is open to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ in the Champaign-Urbana area, including rural surrounding towns where people may be struggling to find like-minded friends.

“I was so lucky to find a loving community when I moved to Champaign and we want to provide the same thing, the relationships just start virtually,” shared Simpson. “Just last week, I had someone message me that was moving here from New York and looking to meet new people. Recently, a couple moving to Champaign from Chicago joined the group because they were searching for an accepting church in the area.”

This group and others like Uniting Pride of Champaign County regularly host events to bring members together. Some upcoming events are down below.

Saturday, June 12 Pride Events:

A Pride Dance Party at Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana

Pound the Payment Pride 5K in Tuscola

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