I’d like you to meet Javier. From an early age, Javier knew he was gay. In fact, while attending elementary school in Mexico he – like many of his classmates – had crushes on fellow students. The only difference was that he liked some of the boys. And like most children, he would draw hearts around their names in his notebook. One day his teacher saw what he was doing and told him to stop because that wasn’t allowed and absolutely not okay. A little shaken, Javier stopped drawing hearts in his notebook even though the other kids could continue. And instead he drew something else – cars, animals, and other things that meant little to him.
As he grew up, Javier noticed that he might not be “normal.” He even realized that people like him might even be hated. He heard people on the TV talk about homosexuality. It was worse than he thought. Then he remembered what his teacher said. From then on he promised that he’d change and “grow to be straight.” Javier quit drawing. He held back from singing and dancing. Ultimately, he learned to grow up hating who he was.
At 13 Javier gave up. He didn’t realize why he was gay and thinking about it only seemed to bring him more pain. It gnawed at him so much that he attempted to end his life. Still wrestling with his sexuality, Javier eventually found the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. It was the first time he felt like he was home. A place where he could thrive.
When he left after his first visit he thought “I wish I knew about the Center when I was 13. It would have made my journey to loving myself easier. But I’m thankful that I’m finally here.” Javier is just one of 852 youth that accessed our drop-in services at the Q-Spot Drop-In Center. He and countless others sought and found community, an advocate, and hope for a healthier and happier life.
In addition to drop-in hours, the Center offers free community resource navigation, mental health respite, HIV/STD testing, PrEP navigation, and housing services. Whatever your need there is chosen family and a home for you here at the Center. And as we approach the holiday season, if you are thinking about giving back please consider making a gift to the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.
Mark your calendars as #GivingTuesday falls on December 3rd, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving! Last year $190 million was raised for deserving charities on that day. And you may be able to double the impact of your gift! Did you know that $10 billion of employer matching funds go unclaimed each year? I highly encourage you to learn more about matching gifts here.