The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in San Francisco and the Bay Area has a long history, one of activism, organization and support. It’s no surprise, then, that many groups have developed around the Bay Area to serve this community and its members. Check out some of the best that support LGBT.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center
1800 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center, also known as simply The Center, is a long-standing resource for the LGBT community in the Bay Area. Since its founding in 2002, it has served as both a resource and a clearing house for other, smaller groups. A variety of classes, community groups and programs are provided by The Center, which is located on Market Street in San Francisco. Its over 200 programs include financial well-being courses, funding for business startups, health and wellness services and childcare for LGBT families. The Center is also a nexus for arts and culture exhibits, lectures, programs and political activism.
The Pacific Center
2712 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705
In Berkeley, the Pacific Center serves as a community center for the East Bay LGBT community. It is the oldest LGBT community center in the Bay Area, having been founded in 1973. The Center provides therapy groups and individual counseling, referrals to other community support options and a variety of peer groups. Events are happening constantly and include activities for youths, adults and seniors. The center helps approximately 2,000 people each year with five staff members and a generous group of volunteers. Join in the cause by contributing your time or making a donation.
Billy DeFrank Center
938 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126
The Billy DeFrank Center in San Jose is Silicon Valley’s LGBT community center. A variety of classes and support groups are held at the center, as well as social events and referrals to health and financial assistance. Details of the weekly groups and special events are available on the center’s website. This organization provides HIV testing, meditation and yoga classes and luncheons for the community.
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UCSF Center for LGBT Health & Equity
100 Medical Center Way
San Francisco, CA 94143
The UCSF Center for LGBT Health & Equity is housed at the University of California’s San Francisco campus. Committed to providing health services to the local LGBT community at UCSF, the center also provides training on health and workplace equity issues. Each March, the Center hosts an annual conference focusing on LGBT health issues, and helps train healthcare students on LGBT issues. For more on the Center’s training and upcoming events, visit its website.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Project Open Hand
Project Open Hand San Francisco
730 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
1035 Market St, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
The LGBT community was deeply affected by the AIDS virus in its early years of existence, and while AIDS-related charities provide services to all, they continue to be connected strongly with LGBT groups in the Bay Area. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation, founded in 1982, was one of the first AIDS advocate groups in the world, and continues to provide resources and activism for AIDS care and prevention. The foundation helps run support groups, peer advocacy, free HIV testing and needle exchange and education to help stop the spread of AIDS. Hundreds of volunteers help make the Foundation’s work possible. Similarly, Project Open Hand focuses on one particular need for people with HIV and the AIDS virus, as well as other homebound and critically ill people – access to healthy, home-cooked meals. Project Open Hand’s staff and volunteers provide thousands of meals per week for its clients.
Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.