San Francisco’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center is reaching the gay community in every way possible. The center’s mission is to keep the community strong and active by providing resources, connections, and specialized events for its diverse audience.
Resources, networking opportunities, education and art programs are just a handful of offerings at the Community Center. This multi-faceted organization has active connections with over 70 groups, including Adoption SF and the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment.
The center provides housing, employment, health and legal resources for their LGBT clients and informs endless opportunities and possibilities to help strengthen the LGBT community.
“The work of the center is really to connect people to each other and to opportunities so that together we can have the strongest and healthiest LGBT community possible and the most welcoming and equitable world for all,” The Center’s Director of Development, Roberto Ordenana, told 429Magazine. “The way that we fulfill that mission is really by providing innovative services to those most in need in the community and [also]fabulous cultural programs to unite our diversity.”
One program, FREE YOUR MIND, is an arts program designed for LGBTQA youth to express themselves and explore queer issues using a variety of mediums.
The Center prides itself on making sure that every demographic is included and welcomed within the community. Ordenana explained, “we have a groundbreaking program that ensures that transgender people in our community have access to safe work environments and are able to put their skills and their talents to work.”
Additionally, The Center has a unique program designed specifically for LGBT youth called “Center Youth Council,” which is dedicated to helping kids find their way, develop self-reliance, strengthen the community, and network.
KidSpace is another program which is designed specifically for young children of LGBTQ and allied families by helping to provide fun and interactive learning tools to engage and develop young minds.
“We have launched some of the most groundbreaking work in the country around economic development…” said Ordenana. One program, The Lending Circles, is designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs with their finances. Ordenana said that the program provides a platform where, “…people can build on their assets and have the opportunity to support one another in realizing their dreams.”
The Center also has a program designed to help first time homebuyers make educated decisions. They provide a monthly course created specifically for new homebuyers to help guide them through the home buying process and lend advice on applying for mortgages.
This year marks San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center’s eleventh year anniversary, and they are celebrating with a Studio 54 themed event.
In honor of the 11th year, The Center is calling this year’s Annual Soiree “Studio 11” and is meant to take on the feel of a “chic discotheque experience.”
“Think Liza Minnelli, think Andy Warhol, think Grace Jones, think Studio 54! This year we are paying tribute to the incredible sights and sounds, not only, of studio 54 but of that era,” said Ordenana. “The opportunity that Studio 54 provided its guests, to come and be as free as you want to be, is something The Center really embodies. The Center is about providing opportunities for people to celebrate their vibrancy and for our community to celebrate their vibrancy.”
The event will take place on March 23 from 7-11pm at the SF Design Center Galleria. Tita Aida, a major LGBT “mover and shaker,” will be the emcee. Additionally there will be live performances from Ambrosia Salad, Dia Dear, and Miss Rahni, among others. DJs such as Sergio Fedasz (Go Bang) will be spinning, and Bus Station John (Tubesteak Connection) and Doc Sleep (Dial up) will perform as well.
The event is also a fundraiser in support of The Center. Tickets are $125 each, and the profits enable The Center’s various programs to thrive.
“The money goes to our young people ensuring that they have the opportunity to grow and thrive through The Center,” said Ordenana. “Children of LGBT families have the opportunity build a sense of pride in their LGBT families so that we can help employ people who are out of work, so we can help local businesses grow, so we can help our artists exhibit their work…”
Ordenana added that The Center’s mission is to “give them the resources that they need to be the best person they can be. We call that the freedom to be the best person you can be: the freedom to be fabulous.”