LGBTQ support group establishes Medford office

Lotus Rising Project, a local social justice organization benefiting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 14 to 25, has leased its first office location in Medford's Woolworth Building.

Lotus Rising programs will be based in a central office for the first time, including Not Straight Not Sure, which offers a safe space for youth to meet, and the Southern Oregon Gay Straight Alliance Support Network, said Lotus board president Julian Spalding.

"We've been operating out of board members' homes, although we've used public spaces for meetings," Spalding said.

Grant funding stipulated the organization find an office, he said.

Lotus Rising provides networking and social justice training for its alliance groups in high schools. Its Teen Theater group presents dramatic reenactments addressing oppression, bullying prevention and social issues, he said.

"Our Not Straight Not Sure program provides qualified therapists for kids who have experienced bullying," Spalding said, adding the Gay Straight Alliance provides peer support and relief from bullying.

Lotus Rising's Del's House offers organic food, household items, clothes and emergency housing assistance to homeless teens, Spalding said.

Spalding said 40 percent of the Rogue Valley's estimated 1,200 homeless youths are teens who came out to their parents and were kicked out of their homes. That follows the national average, he said.

"Sadly, not all families are loving enough to accept their children just as they are," Spalding said, adding the project is dedicated to "youth empowerment, equal rights and social change for all ages."

Lotus Rising Project's new website went live Feb. 11 at, Executive Director Kathy Bates said in a press release.

The organization's first community fundraising campaign will kick off March 18 to enlist a broader base of local support for its programs benefiting LGBTQ youth, she said.

Lotus Rising Project can be contacted at or at 877-577-2244, or call Spalding at 541-301-3616.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email

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