What is Oasis?
Oasis is a drop-in, resource and support center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 14-24 in Pierce County, WA.
Oasis is the only drop-in and support center dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ youth ages 14-24 in Pierce County and is fiscally sponsored by the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does Oasis stand for?
A. Oasis is not an acronym. The name was chosen by youth to symbolize what the Oasis program is to them. This program was formerly known by the acronym U.G.L.Y., which stood for "United Gay and Lesbian Youth."
Q. When is Oasis open?
A. Oasis is open on Mondays from 5:30 pm until Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm until 10pm, and on Saturdays from 6pm until midnight. Check out the calendar page for upcoming events.
Q. Where is Oasis located?
A. Oasis is located at 2215 Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma.
Q. I am a parent, and I need to know where my child is going and what kind of supervision is being provided.
A. That's great! We love to meet parents who have an interest in what their children are doing. Please contact Oasis staff to make an appointment with us, and we can answer your questions about Oasis and give you a tour of our center during non drop-in hours.
Q. Can anyone come to Oasis?
A. Oasis exists for LGBTQ and questioning people ages 14-24. It is important for young LGBTQ people to have a place that is just for them, where they can feel safe and accepted and have access to resources that are specific to this population. Our funding sources support this model, and youth who attend Oasis frequently attest to the positive impact having a place like Oasis makes on their lives. Oasis offers different events each year where straight allies and community members can see what Oasis is all about. If you are interested, please contact Oasis staff for more information.
Q. What is check-in?
A. Check-in is a Thursday night tradition at Oasis that has been going on for nearly 28 years. During check-in, we sit in a circle in the living room and everyone says their name, their preferred gender pronoun, how their week has been, and answers a question that we decide on that night. The question could be anything from "What are your views on gay marriage?" to "What is the song that represents your week?" Check-in is one of the best times to get to know other youth and to hear announcements about what is going on that week at Oasis.
Q. Why do we say our gender pronoun during check-in?
A. We say our preferred gender pronoun in order to let everyone else know if we go by "she", "he", or another pronoun.
Q. What is the connection between Oasis and PCAF?
A. Starting in 1997, Oasis became a program of PCAF. PCAF stands for Pierce County AIDS Foundation. For more information about PCAF, please see www.piercecountyaids.org. Now PCAF is our fiscal sponsor.
Q. Who pays for Oasis?
A. Oasis receives funding from private foundations, government contracts, and individual donors. Our funders include Bamford Foundation, City of Lakewood, City of Tacoma, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Board, Marco J. Heidner Charitable Trust, Pride Foundation, Rotary Club of Tacoma No. 8, Washington State Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, Women's Funding Alliance, and hundreds of individual donors.
Q. How many people come to Oasis?
A. In 2012, 432 unduplicated youth attended Oasis. Of these youth, 45% identified as female, 3% identified as transgender or genderqueer, and 49% identified as male. Of those youth, 4% identified as Asian or Pacific Islander, 10% identified as Black, 2% identified as Native American, 5% identified as Hispanic or Latino, 24% identified as multiracial, and 57% identified as white. Additionally, 45% of youth served are between the ages of 14-18, and 55% are between the ages of 19-24.
Q. What is a typical night like at Oasis?
A. There isn't really a "typical" night at a place like Oasis, but you can generally expect that during the first two hours Oasis is open, people trickle in from school or work. This is a good time to talk with staff, do homework, or check email. A little later on, Oasis is a busy place, with lots of people hanging out, playing pool, listening to music, eating dinner, or playing games. If there are any scheduled programs or activities, these usually take place between 7pm and 9pm, and the expectation is that everyone who is present will take part in the scheduled activity. During the last part the evening, it is generally less busy at Oasis, and people can be found having conversations, playing games, cleaning, or just relaxing together. If you are interested in finding out what scheduled activities and events are coming up, please see our calendar, located on the News page.
Q. What kinds of resources can I find at Oasis?
A. At Oasis, you can access many kinds of resources. We have brochures and cards that you can take with you, and online links on our resources page. Oasis staff offer resources and information about: HIV testing and counseling, smoking cessation, depression and mental health, safer sex and STIs, suicide prevention, sexual assault prevention, coming out issues, legal issues, employment and housing, family issues and relationships, health care, academic help, and support around gender identity. Please talk with staff to find out more about these resources.