Advocacy and Civil Rights

The Center works with civic leaders, community-based organizations and members of the community to advance fundamental freedoms such as the right to marry, safe and secure communities for all, equal treatment at the workplace and safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ-identified youth and children of LGBT-headed families.

Combatting overpolicing and collectively increasing community safety in our region is core to The Center’s advocacy work. Read the The Center’s Op-Ed of November 30, 2020 in The San Diego Union-Tribune by CEO Cara Dessert and Board Chairs Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D. and Lisa Sanders – an important step in informing the public and stopping these practices.

Read The Center’s January 4, 2021 letter: Recommendations for Councilmember Budget Priority Memoranda for FY 2022 

The Center values our right to vote – Click for voter information from the past  election

See The Center’s work with CPAT:  Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency


The Center has recently supported the following bills, policies, letters & briefs.

Great strides have been made locally, statewide and nationally in the ongoing effort to secure safe communities for all and vigilantly prosecute crimes motivated by hate. In 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, making hate-motivated crime against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression a federal offense, granting the federal government more latitude to investigate hate crimes otherwise dismissed by local authorities and requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track hate crime statistics against transgender people. This is the first act of Congress to extend protections to transgender Americans.

The Center works with local law enforcement, civic and community leaders to encourage the reporting of hate-motivated incidents, connect victims of hate crimes to supportive resources and educate the community about the investigation and prosecution process. In addition, we monitor local and national trends, and collaborate with other communities vulnerable to hate crime to raise public awareness.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, call 911 or report the incident to the San Diego Police Department online.

To file a report with the FBI, click here.

To learn more about local resources for victims of hate crime, visit the San Diego County District Attorney’s Hate Crimes webpage.

If you’d like information about national hate crime trends, click here.

To learn more about the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, click here.

You may also contact The Center’s Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer at 619.692.2077 x103 or for further assistance. 

Immigrant rights are LGBTQ rights. We are an intersectional community that is deeply impacted by immigration policy, particularly our communities of color and transgender communities and we will stand together. Immigration issues and changes touch our LGBTQ community deeply, not only our families, friends and loved ones here – but also the LGBTQ folks fleeing countries where they have been unsafe, harassed and threatened. For information and assistance, contact the director of Latin@ Services at

School-based bullying is an insidious phenomenon that has been linked to lower academic performance and achievement, truancy, absenteeism and suicide. With the advent of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, these effects have only been amplified.

California is one of several states that have taken major steps to address the pervasive problem of bullying. Legislative mandates range from requiring publicly-funded schools to adopt a basic nondiscrimination clause to more robust solutions such as remedial bullying intervention programs and inclusive curriculum with positive depictions of LGBT people.

The Center works with stakeholder groups including the GLSEN, The Trevor Project and the Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network to educate administrators, teachers and parents about the implications of bullying when left unchecked, and about the variety of resources at their disposal.  

To learn more about California safe school laws, visit Equality California or the California Safe Schools Coalition.

To learn more about proposed federal safe schools legislation or safe schools laws by state, visit the Human Rights Campaign.

For resources such as model policies and data-driven anti-bullying programs, visit Welcoming Schools or the California Department of Education.

Feel free to contact The Center’s Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer at 619.692.2077 x103 or for further assistance. 

#LoveWins– On June 26, 2015, after a long-sought victory for the LGBT rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

In the Opinion of the Court, Justice Kennedy wrote that “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Their plea is that they do respect [the institution of marriage], respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

It’s been a decades-long, hard-fought fight for the freedom to marry. Learn more about how we got here with this beautiful video.

To learn more about relationship recognition laws in California, visit EQCA.

For information about relationship recognition by state, visit Freedom to Marry.

Close Menu