In the summer of 2009, a small group of concerned citizens from the San Antonio area began a dialogue about creating a center to serve the local LGBT community. The group met frequently at the house of founding member Joseph Garrett to strategize and present ideas on moving forward. It became abundantly clear to the group that such a center should be established.
In February 2011, thirteen individuals from the San Antonio area formed a board. Eight of these founding board members had been involved in the project since its inception in 2009. “Pride Center San Antonio” was born with the purpose to promote the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally community in Bexar County. Our goal: to establish the center as a clearinghouse that would work in alliance, rather than in competition, with existing programs and services within our community. Initial contact was made with community members at large to gain a perspective on how well received an LGBT organization would be in the city.
In September 2011, the Pride Center hosted a Leadership Summit for the purpose of seeking input from established community organizations. At the summit, several breakout sessions helped us to assess the needs and interests of the community. This input helped to determine the Pride Center’s direction.
In the spring of 2012, a group of Trinity University students led by sociology professor Amy Stone released the results of a Pride Center community survey designed to assess the needs of the LGBT community in San Antonio. The survey’s most important findings were that:
- Nearly 63% of LGBTQ respondents have experienced discriminating or harassment
- Discrimination most commonly arises from strangers in public, peers at school, and family members
- Transgender individuals experience the greatest degree of discrimination
- Respondents were most interested in an LGBT community center that would provide arts, social, and cultural events and programming.
In July 2012, Pride Center San Antonio became a Federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Texas.
In fall 2012, the Pride Center began accelerating awareness and fundraising efforts and formalizing programs and community activities in anticipation of garnering the support and donations necessary to open our doors to the public. News about the Pride Center has been featured on Texas Public Radio, QSanAntonio.com, and the San Antonio Current.
In June 2014, the Pride Center opened it’s doors at 147 E. Mistletoe Ave. Ste. 106. The small office was opened to serve as the administrative offices. The Center will still hold programming offsite, in partnership with other community groups, through online resources and by appointment in the office.
In November 2014, the board of the Pride Center San Antonio committed to undergo a strategic planning process. With just a handful of active board members at the time, the Pride Center expanded its reach in community and added nine new board members over a multi-month planning period. With a clear strategy and expanded volunteer base, the Pride Center San Antonio is on the cusp and substantially impacting and improving the quality of life for the LGBT community.