Pride Center Opens Just in Time for LGBT Pride Month

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Mayor Julián Castro (center left) and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal (center right) applaud the Pride Center San Antonio after cutting the rainbow ribbon. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

Mayor Julián Castro (center left) and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal (center right) applaud the Pride Center San Antonio after cutting the rainbow ribbon. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

A rainbow ribbon was cut in celebration of Pride Center San Antonio (PCSA) at its new offices in the Monte Vista Historic District on Saturday.

“To be a city that is great, it needs to be a city that belongs to everyone,” said Mayor Julián Castro. This center will provide “a central location for community resources and support.”

With thoughts of Castro’s bittersweet departure looming, members of the LGBT community gathered close during the opening ceremony to listen as he spoke of hope and equality. The first Texas mayor to march in the Pride Parade, Castro also endorsed benefits for city employees with same-sex partners and supported efforts for the nondiscrimination ordinance passed in September 2013.

“Our goal is to become the premier resource center for (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) individuals in South Texas,” said PCSA Executive Board Member Robert Salcido. “We will increase our programming offered to the community as well as partner with other agencies to further promote their services. This is our starter space, but we aspire to one day have our own community center large enough to house event space as well as office space for other nonprofits that do not have their own locations.”

Pride Center San Antonio board members thank the community and supporters at their new location in Monte Vista. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

Pride Center San Antonio board members thank the community and supporters at their new location in Monte Vista. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

PCSA originally leased a space near the Woodlawn Theatre. It was determined, however, that the maximum occupancy level was only 13. The PCSA Board of Directors sought bids for the work necessary to increase the occupancy level, but the cost was not within the means of the center. The owners of the property released the Pride Center from its lease with no financial penalty.

Currently, PCSA hosts a handful of community programs. Come Out SA is a monthly social group with a goal to welcome new members to the community, bring people together. and build friendships. These are held at Uptown Studios on the first Friday of every month 6 -7:30 p.m.

Pride Families is a social support group for LGBT parents at different locations on every third Sunday of the month. Safe Zone Training is to increase awareness, exploration of and sensitivity to issues that LGBT persons face. The next training is offered on June 28, 12 –4 p.m. at the Westfall Branch Library.

Attendees celebrate the opening of Pride Center San Antonio's new location in Monte Vista. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

Attendees celebrate the opening of Pride Center San Antonio’s new location in Monte Vista. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

PCSA’s relocation to 147 East Mistletoe falls during LGBT Pride Month – chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Many of the community’s organizations will be celebrating the month with a variety of events including some highlights listed below.

Pride Families, June 15

  • San Pedro Springs Park at 2 p.m.

Pride Families is a monthly social and support group brought to you by Pride Center San Antonio. Come out and meet other LGBT parents and families. Bring your swimsuits because the naturally spring-fed pool will be open.

Poetry in Motion, June 18

  • Uptown Studio at 10 p.m.

Live burlesque and spoken word poetry featuring Jesus Alonzo, Dino Foxx, Jasper St. James, Stephen Gaeth, Keelin Christopher, Black Orchid and the cast of Jotos Del Barrio. Admission $10.

Pride 2014 – Act OUT, June 30

  • Central Library at 6 p.m.

The San Antonio Public Library and The Playhouse San Antonio present excerpts from the 2013-2014 season. Actors, directors, and staff from The Playhouse will bring to life passages from a selection of live theater. Enjoy a personal and up-close experience with the dramatic and literary arts. Act Out is a part of the library’s observation of Pride Month and features San Antonio’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.

Pride San Antonio Festival & Parade, July 5

  • Crockett Park 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Music, food, and booths will fill Crockett park all day leading up to the Rainbow Dash at 8 p.m., the Krystal Kelly Running of the Queens High Heel Race at 8:45 p.m. and the Pride Parade at 9 p.m. I have already signed up to walk and you should too. This year, the festival will feature the musical stylings of Tom Goss. Shangela will perform on the Bud Light Stage and will be the Celebrity Grand Marshal. There will be Championship Wrestling. The festival will close out with Christopher Anton, former lead singer for Information Society.

Another important organization is Fiesta Youth. Also present during Saturday’s event, the group was founded by Emily Leeper in response to her daughter’s experiences as an LGBT youth in San Antonio. Fiesta Youth is fiscally supported by the University Presbyterian Church, where monthly meetings are held, but hopes to gain its 501(c)3 status soon. Leeper says her daughter journeyed to Austin to find support because a youth group was then inexistent in the city.

(Read more: Fiesta Youth: Inviting Honesty from LGBT Students)

Emily Leeper, her daughter and Fiesta Youth volunteers. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

Fiesta Youth founder Emily Leeper (center) sits with her daughter and Fiesta Youth volunteers during the Pride Center San Antonio office opening party. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

Fiesta youth has a 90 percent return rate and is currently the only organization in San Antonio consistently supporting the LGBT youth of the community.

On June 24, Fiesta Youth will be hosting Eric Alva, the first Marine seriously injured in Iraq and human rights activist involved in the repeal of the U.S. Military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

During the opening ceremony, informational booths including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), HIV and AIDS awareness organizationsEsperanza Peace & Justice CenterPride San Antonio and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) lined the parking lot with food trucks waiting in the wings.

Allies are always needed. If you want to be involved, please contact any of the above listed organizations to support.

*Featured/top image: Mayor Julián Castro (center left) and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal (center right) applaud the Pride Center San Antonio after cutting the rainbow ribbon. Photo by Melanie Robinson.

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