San Diego LGBTQ center reopens with resources and renovations

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The doors are once again open to the epicenter of San Diego’s LGBTQ community.

The Hillcrest Center closed its building in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Over the past two years, staff members have done their best to provide services online where possible.

The food distribution never stopped. In fact, the Center has grown from 600 people per month in 2020 to over 2,000 today.

“We are so proud to be part of this community and to continue to grow our power, help those in need, and make a real difference,” said Cara Dessert, CEO of The Center.

On Saturday, the Center held its official welcome rally with hundreds of people showing up to once again walk through the front doors and see thousands of dollars in renovations and upgrades.

San Diego LGBT Community Center

Visitors tour the newly renovated San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest, San Diego, California, May 14, 2022

A new state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system has been installed to provide the cleanest air for staff and the community. Although the doors are open, current COVID-19 protocols and protections remain in place, including the requirement to wear a mask at all times inside the building.

There has always been a belief at the Center that knowledge is power. “We support the LGBTQ community by providing access to educational resources here at the Center to ensure they are educated and know how to protect themselves (and) their loved ones,” said Gus Hernandez, Senior Director of Communications.

This includes sexual health education and related services.

Founded in 1972, the Center is one of the largest LGBTQ community centers in the country and at the heart of this center are the resources and programs to support marginalized people, including immigrants and people living with HIV/AIDS. .

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San Diego LGBT Community Center

A reopening celebration on Saturday at the San Diego LGBT Community Center included a resource fair for visitors to learn about what’s new at the renovated building, San Diego, Calif., May 14, 2022

The recent threat of Roe’s reversal against Wade and a growing number of attacks on the transgender community make the mission here even stronger. Dessert said the Center will continue to support the protection of constitutional rights.

“The rights of not only our reproductive community, but also the privacy rights (on which) LGBTQ rights are based in this country, are at risk.”

The next phase of reopening will be on June 1, when most services return to in-person meetings by appointment.

The Center also plans to have a significant presence at this year’s San Diego Pride Parade in July. “Post-pandemic, we’re all looking to connect and be part of a community that makes us feel bigger than the individuals we are,” Dessert said.

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