A Word From The Center

Stop The Hate: San Diego’s LGBTQ+ Community Stands Strong

By Gus Hernandez

As the vibrant colors of Pride season paint the streets of San Diego, our LGBTQ+ community comes together to celebrate love, resilience, and acceptance. However, amidst the festivities, we must also acknowledge a troubling reality: the rise of hate crimes and incidents targeting our community. 

The Alarming Trend

Recent years have witnessed a surge in hate crimes and incidents across the nation, and San Diego is no exception. 

San Diego saw an increase in hate crimes last year, primarily targeting groups based on race, religion, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Acts of violence, discrimination, and prejudice continue to threaten the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Whether it’s verbal harassment, physical assault, or online vitriol, the impact is deeply felt.

What is a Hate Crime

A hate crime is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group. You may be the victim of a hate crime if you have been targeted because of your actual or perceived: disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Hate crimes are serious crimes that may result in imprisonment or jail time.

What is a Hate Incident

A hate incident is an action or behavior motivated by hate but which, for one or more reasons, is not a hate crime. Examples include name calling, insults, displaying hate material on your property, posting hate material that does not result in property damage, distribution of materials with hate messages in public places.

The Role of The Center

At The San Diego LGBT Community Center, we stand as a beacon of hope and support. Our mission is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, nonbinary, immigrant, and HIV communities to the betterment of our entire San Diego region. We empower, educate, and uplift our community. 

Here’s how The Center is helping to address the rise in hate in our community.

Crisis Support Services

When hate strikes, immediate assistance is crucial. The Center’s Crisis Support Services provide a lifeline for those affected. Whether you need emotional support, safety planning, or referrals to legal resources, The Center’s compassionate team is here for you. Clients are connected to additional resources in the community, including financial assistance, medical care, mental and behavioral health support, housing, and legal aid.

When someone reaches out to Crisis Services at The Center, they will connect with an LGBTQ-affirming staff member who understands that people do not react the same to being harmed. Regardless of your response, talking to someone always helps.

For anyone in need of crisis support, The Center is here for you, offering Crisis Support Services Monday–Friday from 10am–7pm. You can walk into The Center, email onduty@thecentersd.org, or call 619-692-2077 ext. 129. 

Report Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents

The Center has established a dedicated email inbox—stopthehate@thecentersd.org—for reporting hate incidents and hate crimes. If you’ve experienced discrimination, witnessed an act of hate, or need guidance, don’t hesitate to send a message. Your voice matters, and together, we can create change.

It is up to each community member to decide if they want to involve law enforcement when they are a victim of a hate crime, hate incident, or abuse like domestic violence. If so, The Center’s staff can act as a liaison with SDPD and accompany clients to court if needed. The Center is committed to creating a safe and affirming space where everyone feels welcome, valued, and supported.

The Center’s Training Institute 

Education is our most potent weapon against hate. The Center’s Training Institute offers a range of programs designed to foster understanding, empathy, and allyship. For example, in the Stop the Hate Trainings, participants learn practical strategies to combat bias and promote inclusivity. From workplaces to schools, these trainings empower individuals to be active allies.

Community Engagement

There is power in community, and The Center offers a variety of opportunities to engage. Attend events, workshops, support and discussion groups, and more to connect with fellow community members, share experiences, and learn from one another. Together, we amplify our voices and create a united front against hate.

A Call to Action

As Pride season unfolds, let’s remember to look out for one another! Report hate crimes and hate incidents promptly, seek support, and engage in dialogue. By standing together, we send a powerful message: Hate has no place in our city.