OCEANSIDE — The North County LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning) Resource Center will celebrate its newly opened, bigger facility on Mission Avenue with an open house Oct. 1.
The event aims to show off the center’s new digs, and inform the community of its services.
During the open house program facilitators will be available to answer questions on teen, senior and adult support services, and community education as visitors tour the 2,400-square-foot facility.
“Come and explore our new location and find out what we are up to,” Max Disposti, the center’s executive director, said.
The new building is double the size of the center’s original location on Coast Highway, which opened in 2011.
Operations were moved to the new Mission Avenue site in July.
The center consists of seven meeting rooms that serve multi-purposes. Uses range from group meetings to one-on-one counseling and yoga classes. Larger rooms can be sectioned off with sliding doors.
Upon entering the center there is a lounge area in the front room and an adjacent library. Laptop computers with Wi-Fi access are available to use on site.
“The environment gives a sense of acceptance,” Disposti said. “It’s open to the community.”
While the the center is welcoming and accepting, the world outside its doors is not always LGBTQ-friendly. Services are needed to educate the public, and help those in the LGBTQ community find coping mechanisms to deal with discrimination.
“We still have a lot of issues (with discrimination) even with legislation (that has helped set standards),” Disposti said.
Research data shows that LGBTQ individuals suffer a high amount of discrimination in the workplace, and are often targets of hate crimes.
Disposti said it’s a reality seen at the center every day.
LGBTQ services include youth programs, HIV and AIDS testing and prevention and civil rights advocacy.
Disposti said there has been an increase in people coming to the center, and added programs since the move.
The larger facility has allowed youth and family programs to expand.
Another area that will soon see more services is senior education programs.
“We moved to do better on each one (of the areas we serve),” Disposti said.
The center is also launching a program to aid human trafficking victims in conjunction with North County Lifeline.
The LGBTQ Resource Center serves about 8,000 people a year. It also holds numerous annual festivals and outreach events, including the Pride by the Beach festival slated for Oct. 8.
The North County LGBTQ Resource Center open house takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 1 at 3220 Mission Ave., Suite #2, Oceanside.