Merced, Calif., a city with a population of 81K located about 130 miles south west of San Francisco has opened the doors on the community’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
From the Sacramento Bee:
“We hope to act as the hub for just about any question the community can come up with, whether it be about the process of coming out, or about how to get involved in advocacy work in the area.” [center Board member, Jordan Cowman said]
In addition to connecting members of the LGBT community to a wide range of resources, organizers say the center is geared toward providing an environment that’s safe, where people are met with kindness, understanding and compassion.
“If they’re dealing with sexual assault or domestic violence, we want to
let them know that Valley Crisis Center is LGBT-friendly, and that’s a place they can go to,” said Chavez, who works for the Merced County Mental Health Department’s Alcohol and Drug division.
Cowman added, “If someone walks in and says ‘I’m transgender, I need to know how to change the sex on my driver’s license,’ we can say go to this address, this is the form you fill out. We hope to do that with just about everything.”
The new center came about after Merced Full Spectrum, a local LGBT support group, reached out to Gay Central Valley, its parent nonprofit group in Fresno, to inquire about opening a center in Merced. Together the groups worked on fundraising and obtained a $20,000 grant from the California Endowment.