History

The Center’s Programs & Milestones

LGBT History

1971
1971

It started with…

It started with…

In 1971 our world was a very different place. Being “out” simply wasn’t an option for many. Just being a member
of the LGBTQ community could be dangerous, and there was no place to turn for help.

We are proud of the history of The Center’s service. Originally just an answering machine in a borrowed closet that served as a lifeline for those looking for compassionate connection, it is now one of the largest and most vibrant LGBTQ Community Centers in the nation, providing our community with more than 84,600 direct service visits each year.

1972
1972

The Planning Committee

The initial 1971-1972 Planning Committee for what would become The Center included Patricia Byers, Thom Carey, Patricia Cluchey, Peggy Heathers, Jess Jessop, Clint Johnson, Bernie Michels, George Murphy, Jerry Peterson, Gary Rees, John Senter, Jerry White, John Eberly, Gary Gulley and Cynthia Lawrence. The Chair of the Planning Committee was Bernie Michels

1973
1973
1980
1980
1981
1981

HIV in San Diego

Diagnosis of the first case of HIV disease in San Diego

1998
1998

Behavioral Health Services

The Behavioral Health Services RVTIP program received credentialing, and became one of the first same-sex domestic violence programs in the nation

1999
1999

The Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center

The LGBT Center San Diego

The Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center moved from Normal Street to Centre Street and began plans for renovations

2000
2000

Hillcrest Youth Center

The Hillcrest Youth Center opened its doors and became a critical resource for LGBTQ youth in San Diego

2001
2001

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs

Delores Jacob

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs named interim executive director June 2001 and is selected as executive director in January 2002. Jacobs serves a historic, 17-year tenure as the longest serving chief executive, and retiring on June 30, 2018

2001
2001

No on Prop. 22

The Public Policy department was established after the No on Prop. 22 campaign

2002
2002

The LGBT Community Center

The LGBT Community Center

The Lesbian and Gay Men’s Center was renamed The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center

2003
2003

The Women’s Resource Center

The Women’s Resource Center was established, providing LBT women and their allies access to important health
and social resources and referrals

2003

AIDS Walk & Run

AIDS Walk & Run San Diego returned to The Center as a Center program

2003

Senior Services

Senior Service

Senior Services and 50 and Better Together were established, providing important health, financial and social resources for LGBTQ seniors

2004
2004

The Community Leadership Council

The Community Leadership Council was established, bringing together more than 40 LGBTQ and allied community organizations each month to address the needs of the community

2004

Wall of Honor

LGBT wall of honor

The Wall of Honor was established, honoring community members and allies who have had a significant positive impact on the San Diego LGBTQ community

2004

Latin@ Services

Center Latin@ Door Decal

Latin@ Services was established, providing a culturally-affirming drop-in space, support groups, and social programs for LGBTQ Latin@s and their families

2006
2006

The Sunburst Youth Housing Project

Sunburst Youth Housing Project

Sunburst Youth Housing Project opened, with a special focus on LGBTQ youth and youth living with HIV

2007
2007

The Center Advocacy Project

The Center Advocacy Project was established, a nonpartisan 501(c)4, whose mission is to secure equal civil and human rights for the LGBTQ and allied communities through public education and issue advocacy

2007

Family Services

Family programming was re-established at The Center, providing programs and services for LGBTQ-headed families and those considering parenthood

2008
2008

Equality Voters

equality voters

The Equality Voters program was established to encourage community-wide voter registration and full, non-partisan, participation in elections

2009
2009

The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast

Nicole Murray Ramirez, Robert Gleason, Dr. Delores Jacobs, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and a broad coalition of civic and business leaders established the first Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. Since then it has grown to become one of the largest, most diverse events of its kind, bringing together more than 1,000 San Diegans annually

2010
2010

Engage San Diego

Engage San Diego was established, forming a nonprofit network of local civil rights, social justice, health and environmental organizations focused on nonpartisan civic engagement

2010

San Diego Food Bank

San Diego food bank

The Center became a monthly distribution site for the San Diego Food Bank

2011
2011

Senior Housing

Senior Housing Needs Assessment completed

2012
2012

Senior Housing

The Center began working with Community Housing Works to establish an LGBTQ-welcoming affordable senior housing project in San Diego

2012

The Young Professionals Council

Young Professional Council

The Young Professionals Council was established in 2009 to develop and empower young LGBTQ professionals and their allies. As part of that effort, in 2012 the YPC Academy was established to help prepare young leaders to further equality through board service for a variety of agencies, not-for-profit organizations and government commissions

2012

The LGBTQ Veterans Wall of Honor

The Benjamin F. Dillingham, III and Bridget Wilson LGBTQ Veterans Wall of Honor, first envisioned by Nicole Murray-Ramirez, was established in 2012 to honor and celebrate LGBTQ veterans who have served

2013
2013

Project TRANS

Project TRANS

Project TRANS was established to provide services designed specifically for San Diego’s transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming community

2014
2014

#BeTheGeneration

Be the Generation

The #BeTheGeneration campaign launched, with the goal of ending new cases of HIV within a decade

2016
2016

#BeTheGeneration TRANS

Be the generation trans

The #BeTheGeneration TRANS campaign launched

2016

The North Park Senior Apartments

The North Park Senior Apartments,

Construction begins on The North Park Senior Apartments, an affordable LGBTQ-welcoming housing project

2017
2017

South Bay Clubhouse

The Center’s Youth Services opened the South Bay Clubhouse, a weekly drop-in space for LGBTQ youth in Chula Vista

2017

The Center’s Gala

At The Center’s 45th Anniversary Gala, a $2 million dollar matching campaign opportunity was announced

2017

Dr. Delores Retired

Dr Delores Jacob

Dr. Delores Jacobs announces retirement from The Center. Through more than 200 interviews and focus groups, feedback was solicited regarding characteristics sought in the new Center chief executive, led by Board Co-Chair Joyce Rowland

2018
2018

Senior Housing

Senior Housing

The LGBTQ-welcoming affordable senior housing project opens

2018

The Center reaches $2 million goal

The Center reaches $2 million goal

The Center reaches $2 million goal with unprecedented community support, matching donors Ron Bowman, with his husband Stan Zukowfsky announce a second gift of $1.65 million to pay off mortgage for the Centre Street building in spring of 2018

2018

First Border Campaign

First Border Campaign

The Center embarked on the first border campaign to ensure that legal services, case management, and humanitarian relief to LGBTQ and HIV-positive asylum seekers were provided to those who arrived at the Mexican/U.S. border

2018

New Center CEO

Caroline (Cara) Dessert

The Center Board announces selection of Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq. as the next Center Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2018

2019
2019

The South Bay Youth Center (SBYC)

South Bay Youth Center ribbon cutting

The South Bay Youth Center (SBYC) opens in Chula Vista to support LGBTQ youth 10-24 in need of resources in South County

2019

Town Hall Meeting

Town Hall Meeting

The Center embarks on a Strategic Planning process, engaging a wide variety of community stakeholders to strive to serve our growing and diverse community and ensure that we maximize our organization’s resources to best continue to fulfill our mission in the years ahead

2019

Housing Continuum

To help LGBTQ community members experiencing homelessness, The Center’s housing program went from Sunburst Youth Housing Project to an entire continuum of housing services and homelessness prevention –family reunification, host homes, and  LGBT Safe S.T.A.Y. emergency overnight housing now open 7 nights a week, NPSA, permanent supportive housing programs to include housing for LGBTQ adults, couples, and families New: Project Compassion – a tangible, action-based program that offers direct supportive resources for those experiencing homelessness,  provides clients with socks, toiletries, clothes, food, and water –  connects folks to internal and external resources like medical care, addiction and recovery options, and specialized case management.

2019

Black Town Hall

In an effort to better serve the Black LGBTQ community, The Center hosted a Black Town Hall. This event led to many initiatives including the formation of the Black LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee. This committee, in partnership with The Gender Phluid Collective, the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition, and the Unity Fellowship Church, created and are hosting Brave Space, a peer-led discussion group for LGBTQ folx of the Black and African diaspora community. The Center is helping the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition to obtain its own 501(c)(3) status, serving as the fiscal agent for the Coalition, free of charge, in the interim period, with the goal of this organization obtaining its 501(c)(3) status in 2021. In partnership with the Black LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee, The Center provided several educational opportunities for Center staff and volunteers on anti-Black racism and on how to be better allies to the Black LGBTQ community.

2020
2020

COVID-19 Emergency Services

COVID-19 Emergency Services

The Center closed its doors for in-person services due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 20, 2020 and postponed two major fundraising events: Dining Out For Life San Diego and The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. The Center is currently providing Emergency Services: Emergency Referral and Resource phone line, Behavioral Health Services via Zoom Healthcare, Individual Program Meetings and Check-Ins via Zoom, Virtual Support Groups, Critical Housing needs, Healthcare services including health care enrollment assistance and HIV testing, and Food Resources. The Center set up an Emergency Fund: https://thecentersd.org/giving/

2020

Policy Update

The Board of Directors voted unanimously that The Center will no longer allow armed uniformed law enforcement officers at Center facilities or at Center events, unless as a last resort or in response to a true emergency. The Center works with the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT) in calling for local governments to pass the Police Accountability Now policy reforms.

2020

Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement

The Center’s Advocacy and Civic Engagement work includes the 2020 Primary and General Elections and 2020 Census campaigns with outreach and dedicated and targeted campaigns to our community.

2021
2021

COVID-19 Pandemic Response Update

The Center shares how it has responded to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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