Story By: Patrick Hartley
The North County LGBTQ Resource Center connects with Palomar College Pride Center.
Palomar’s Pride Center, which started in 2011, is the only community college Pride Center in San Diego County. They collaborate with the North County LGBTQ Resource Center on many events and is helping people of all ages, races and genders find their voice by connecting them to supportive services and resources.
“I felt that LGBT people needed to be more visible in North San Diego County, there was nothing there that could represent our families,” Max Disposti, Executive Director and founder of the North County LGBTQ Resource center said.
The center works hard to ensure the rights of people of all races and sexual orientation are respected.
“There are a lot of challenges that are unique to LGBT people. Say if you are transgender women of color, you have challenges from left and right, up and down. What does your voice and your visibility means to you? Your survival. It’s a statement every single day you walk out of your house,” said Disposti.
The resource centers are not just for LGBTQ, but aim to serve anyone facing everyday challenges such as a lack of access to healthcare, poverty, job resources, discriminatory practices and/or mental health.
“They really have expanded their services, it’s really great,” said Abbie Cory Co-Director of the Palomar College Pride Center.
The AmericanJournal-Constitution.com (AJC.com) says that gay-queer teens are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide. Many states have Anti- Bullying and hate crime laws but some of these laws are under attack by conservatives.The support groups help kids not feel alone.
The North County Resource Center has support groups for people that are young, old, Trans, people of color as well as free HIV testing and mental health referrals. They also have activities for all ages like a book club a walk/run club, youth salon and movie night, and talent shows.
“When I started here I kept wondering, where are all the LGBTQ students were,” said Cory. The Pride center located ST-72 in the center of campus. “Now its not uncommon to see same sex couples holding hands and so I think the vibe across campus has really changed as a result of the Pride Center and many of our students go to their youth support group on Thursday evenings” added Cory.
A mural on the wall of Disposti’s office depicts a human figure with a rainbow flowing out from its heart; below it are handprints of children.
“ We lost three kids to suicide, the youth wanted to have a place to remember the people they lost. The kids painted on the wall in one of the rooms, you can see the handprints, the kids wanted to leave an impression of their personal journey” said Disposti.
The Pride Center students will have a booth at Pride by the Beach on October 13th at the Oceanside Civic Center. It will be an all ages event hosted by the North County Resource Center with music, food and games.