OCEANSIDE — The annual Pride at the Beach celebration focused on support services for youth on Oct. 9. In addition to all-day entertainment, information booths and children’s crafts, there were youth speakers and teen support groups on hand.
“This year we’re putting more of an emphasis on support for all the youth who are bullied throughout the year,” Max Disposti, chair of the North County Lesbian
Gay Bisexual Transgender Coalition, or LGBT, said. “This is about everyone.”
Groups that focus on youth crisis were on hand to share resources. The Trevor Project works with cities, equal rights groups and school districts to prevent youth suicides. Phone hotline support is available around the clock in Los Angeles and New York; and online resources, Facebook posts and chat rooms help youth across the United States. “It’s a dark subject, but a lot of good things are coming out of this,” Glen Wellbrock, co-chair of the San Diego chapter of The Trevor Project, said.
The event provided a safe, supportive gathering place to enjoy entertainment and get information. “The idea is we’re open to our own diversity and it shouldn’t be something to hide,” Morganna Miodoch, North County LGBT social justice coordinator, said. “I feel a change from the mayor’s office on down.”
A proclamation was awarded by Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood that declared October Diversity Month and called for open and fair employment of all citizens regardless of race, religious belief or sexual orientation. Council members Esther Sanchez, Jerry Kern and Chuck Lowery presented the proclamation at the Pride at the Beach event.
“It wasn’t until I was 30 that I came out to my family,” Laura Jane, performer and event emcee, said. “They said they knew this. It’s more than sexuality, it’s who we are.”
Numerous organizations that serve the gay and lesbian community were on hand. The Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages lists gay and lesbian friendly businesses in San Diego and 30 other cities. “It’s less of a chance of facing discrimination,” Kate Stemmer, co-founder of Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages, said. “Luckily North County is becoming more open.”
2 Men and 1 Camera create and sell scenic calendars to raise funds for neighborhood support groups. The team of model Mark Hollan and photographer and stylist Benson are taking a year to travel across the United States to take photos and put together the cowboy and Indian themed calendars.
Awareness and support is key. One goal of the LGBT is to establish a center in North County where gay and lesbian community members can go for support, resources and services. “It establishes a firm sense of community to have the bricks and mortar place we can call home,” Miodoch said. The organization is holding fundraisers and seeking grants to raise money to establish a center.