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First Person: Supporting LGBTQ Youth In San Diego’s South Bay

Lucero Camarena, a transgender youth services navigator at the San Diego LGBT Center in an undated photo.
Lucero Camarena
Lucero Camarena, a transgender youth services navigator at the San Diego LGBT Center in an undated photo.

It’s been almost two years since Lucero Camarena turned to the San Diego LGBT Center in Hillcrest for support during her gender transition.

“It was very scary but it was so necessary for me to live my fullest life. The San Diego LGBT Center was the first place where I found my community and it became my only place for quite some time and that’s where I connected to so many of the folks who were fundamental to my transition,” she said.

Since then she's been spreading her message of embracing one's true self across San Diego. In 2018 Camarena was a commencement speaker at UC San Diego and now as a staff member at the newly opened LGBT youth center in Chula Vista.

Lucero Camarena works to empower trans youth at the newly opened LGBTQ Youth Center in Chula Vista.

The center, she said, opened in response to an increase in demand for services. It offers a range of programs from bilingual family support groups to tutoring and counseling.

"The South Bay Youth Center represents an expansion of services...and a focus of services on folks from disadvantaged backgrounds, folks from underrepresented backgrounds, Latinx folks, and folks of color across the board who live in the South Bay," she said. "It feels incredibly rewarding to be supporting youth in ways that I needed as well."

As part of our First Person series, Camarena, shares her journey and talks about what this new space means for the South Bay's LGBT community.

Corrected: October 5, 2021 at 11:12 AM PDT
KPBS Technical Director Emily Jankowski contributed to this segment.