As Pride rolls around, North County LGBTQ Resource Center says its work is year-round
“Our Pride by the Beach used to be on Coming Out Day in October, so this is actually our first in-person celebration in the month of June," said Lisa Nava, the events director.
But staff said Pride month isn't their busy season because they work year-round to provide community resources.
"When we talk about what we do here, we serve, advocate, and empower our diverse LGBTQI community and we see the impact every day," said Allan Acevedo, the center's director of operations.
Although the center is based in Oceanside, it serves all of the surrounding North County cities and offers services to everyone, not just the LGBTQ community.
“We recognized early on here in North County that we needed more representation to bring our community together," Acevedo said. "and we also needed a place where people could stop by and share and hold space for one another and have it be an easy, low barrier way for people to come in, understand what we do here at the center, and then be connected to the services that we offer."
The center's vision is a community where everyone lives in equality, feeling accepted, valued, safe and free from social stigma.
The nonprofit offers programs and services for youth, adults, and organizations looking for LGBTQ awareness training.
“To people who need help in services navigating housing, mental health services, we also have a food distribution program that's open to everybody and we offer STI navigation and HIV testing on site free," Acevedo said.
But the center’s real impact comes from being a safe space open to all, he said.
“We know in just having this space here and letting people come in here to use a computer, to have a free library, or even just hang out and get to know other people," Acevedo said. "It creates a safe space where people can begin to unpack some trauma and connect with us about their actual needs.”
The center is looking to expand into a bigger place because its site is "bursting at the seams" with all of the services and support they offer, he said.
Nava saif "Pride by the Beach" celebrates the resources the center has access to.
"Fighting for resources, fighting to be recognized, fighting against police brutality ... and that is at the heart of every Pride celebration," she said.
Pride by the Beach takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday near Oceanside’s Civic Center.
The free event is family-friendly and alcohol-free.
San Diego Pride prepares for a safe celebration next month in the wake of recent threats against the LGBTQ community.