“I’m going to sound like a total cheeseball,” Frankie Sapp said. “But the ultimate goal is for people to see their own value and to feel loved. I hope we can do that in a myriad of ways through all the services, programs and resources we provide.”
Sapp is the program director of the San Mateo County Pride Center, the first LGBTQ+ community center in San Mateo County. Founded in 2017, the Pride Center is a welcoming, safe and inclusive community that fosters personal growth, health and opportunities to thrive for individuals of all ages, sexual orientations and gender identities through education, counseling, advocacy and support.
Sapp began working in that role in February 2020, just before the pandemic changed everyone’s lives, so most of his time with the organization has been away from the physical building. However, from the first moment he joined the Pride Center, he recognized the importance of its culture and what it provides to the LGBTQ+ people who find community there and make use of its resources, from counseling and support groups, to its event space and media center.
“I remember one moment where someone came into the center with the youth group they were running and had a pizza party in the space,” Sapp said. “I was brand new, so they asked me, ‘Is this okay?’ And I said, ‘That’s the point of the space!’ Soon after, somebody was having a nap on the couch, and I was asked, ‘Is this okay?’ And I said, ‘That’s the point of the space!’ Someone else asked me if it was okay to use the computer to do their homework. ‘That’s the point of the space!’”
Looking ahead, Sapp and the rest of the team at the Pride Center are working to ensure that the culture carries on when they are able to reopen and welcome people back through their doors.
Sapp said, “We’re in the middle of adapting, setting up the space so that when we return it will be better for both staff and clients in the community. Not everyone has access to technology or knows how to use it. Not everyone has a safe space at home to talk freely. We’re getting it ready for in-person meetings while maintaining remote services so that everyone has options and the Pride Center continues to be accessible to as many people as possible.”
LGBTQ+ residents, like many other marginalized communities, face existing disparities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout Pride Month and beyond, SVCF encourages you to support the following organizations serving LGBTQ+ communities in our region.
Santa Clara County
PFLAG San Jose/Peninsula Chapter
PFLAG is the nation's oldest and largest family and ally organization, uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer with families, friends and allies. PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy. The local chapter features support meetings, scholarships and a speaker’s bureau.
LGBTQ+ Youth Space (a program of Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley)
This organization is a community drop-in center and mental health program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults.
LifeMoves | New Haven Inn
LifeMoves | New Haven Inn is an inclusive shelter in downtown San Jose with focused support for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. Only the second shelter of its kind nationally, New Haven Inn offers adults a safe and welcoming place to stay. Our staff are LGBTQ+ sensitive and informed, providing gender fluid clients immediate and longer-term services to return to stable housing and achieve self-sufficiency.
Rainbow Women’s Chorus
Rainbow Women's Chorus works together to develop musical excellence in an atmosphere of mutual support and respect. They perform publicly for the entertainment, education and cultural enrichment of their audiences and community. They sing to enhance the esteem of all women, to celebrate diversity, to promote peace and freedom, and to touch people's hearts and lives. In addition to performing two concerts each year, Rainbow Women's Chorus puts an emphasis on outreach, singing all over the Bay Area.
San Mateo County
Outlet Program at Adolescent Counseling Services
Outlet, a Program of Adolescent Counseling Services, empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth, and builds safe and accepting communities in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties through support, education, and advocacy. Outlet services foster the emotional, physical and social development of youth as whole individuals.
San Mateo County Pride Center
The Pride Center is the first LGBTQ+ community center in San Mateo County. The Center provides a broad range of services with three main components: 1) Clinical — individual, group, couples and family counseling, peer support groups, case management; 2) Social/Community — event and gathering space, education, trainings; and 3) Resource Center — library, referrals, web-based media center.
To support LGBTQ+ communities within San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, as well as nationwide, learn more about Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Mar Monte improves and transforms the lives of over 220,000 women, men and chidlren every year throughout mid-Callifornia and Northern Nevada. With over 30 health centers, they provide a range of reproductive and general health services in cluding birth control, pregnancy testing and options counseling, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screening, abortion, pediatrics and adult primary health care.