Tell Your Story! Tell It Proud!
The moment I walked into the San Francisco LGBTQ Community Center I could see it really lives up to its name. “The Center,” as it’s called by patrons and staff alike, is an inviting multi-level, brightly colored building that’s a hub for events and services to support the city’s diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community.
On any given day at the Center, patrons can find an impressively vast range of direct services and classes, advocacy organizations, and arts events going on. There’s the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative; Aguilas, a supportive, culturally sensitive group for gay/bisexual Latinos; Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits, which offers culturally relevant activities for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Native Americans; and the acclaimed San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, just to name a few groups that call the Center home. Their services are an especially critical support to members of the community who, as the Center’s mission states, often experience additional, intersecting forms of discrimination – people of color, transgender, lesbian, and bisexual women, differently-abled people, youth, elders, immigrants, and low-income individuals.
Every June the Center kicks off San Francisco’s city-wide Pride Month with its now-famous Pride Party to honor the Center’s many services and celebrate their vibrant community of staff, volunteers, clients, and community supporters. This year StoryCorps San Francisco was honored to be one of the featured organizations at the party to join in celebrating Pride by doing what we do best: celebrating and honoring the many stories and experiences that make up the Center’s community.
For most of the day, facilitator Kevin Oliver and I were tucked away in a quiet room to record special conversations between friends, partners, and colleagues who attended the party.
[flickr-set id= 72157627008380103]
We were also on hand to provide information about how anyone else who was interested could come with a loved one to record their stories at our booth in Downtown San Francisco. And, for all the party-goers, we also set up interactive listening stations with some of our most popular LGBTQ stories that have been broadcast from across the country, like this oneÂ between MJ Seide and her granddaughter Genna Alperin.
In addition to all of their great services and programs, the Center also knows how to throw some good ‘ol parties, as we at StoryCorps San Francisco found out this June. After all, what’s community building without some fun and celebration?