The Diversity Center is dedicated to enhancing lives and promoting fairness for LGBTIQ people in Santa Cruz County. Our vision is a healthy, vibrant, and diverse LGBTIQ community in Santa Cruz County that is free from fear, hatred, and prejudice and safe in their persons, work, and their homes; with a spirit of collaborative leadership that fosters the sharing of resources, talents, and gifts with each other and with the greater Santa Cruz Community.
Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a national youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training.
GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to: create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions; educate the school community about homophobia, transphobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
KSCO (1080 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a news/talk format located in Santa Cruz, California. It can be heard over much of Central California during the day. Since 1991, it has been owned by the Zwerling family. Both son Michael and mother Kay Zwerling take an active role in the station with the former regularly hosting the call-in show Saturday Special and the latter writing and voicing politically conservative commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events.
LezCruz is social networking community for lesbians who live and work in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties and surrounding areas.
Now in its sixth year, LezCruz creates and organizes events such as mixers, dances and workshops. LezCruz also maintains a forum for posting events as well as topics of interest to members. Larger events often have a fundraising component.
LezCruz is run by a committee of diverse Santa Cruz women.
LezCruz was founded in September, 2007 by Grace Gallego. It is an affiliate of The Diversity Center dedicated to advancing the causes and priorities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) individuals and their allies in Santa Cruz County.
“Out in Our Faith is a coalition of 22 faith communities, comprised of Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Unitarian and non-denominational congregations within Santa Cruz County. Our mission, to promote the full inclusion of LGBT families, couples and individuals within area houses of worship, you feel best fulfills your spiritual needs. This coalition was founded in 2004 by members of Twice Blessed at Temple Beth El/JCC. We seek to invite congregations to join this coalition.
In 2005, Temple Beth El/JCC was honored for this social justice work, by the Union of Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center with the Irving J. Fain Award, in Washington, D.C. This award given to reform congregations from all over North America, reflects as a core value, our congregations, ongoing social justice work in the greater Santa Cruz community.
PFLAG Santa Cruz County was originally launched in 1991 after the mother of a gay man in Watsonville struggled with finding support in understanding about her son’s sexual orientation. She knew that other parents in the area were probably experiencing similar confusion, pain, and desire for peer support and information. She wanted to make things better and had the determination to do it. This founding member received assistance from other PFLAG chapter leaders and the national organization in forming. With involvement from other parents and a handful of local mental health professionals, the chapter operated over the next 18 years. PFLAG Santa Cruz was a small, but valued support group, primarily comprised of parents of lesbian or gay children. Generally, it operated quietly, with monthly meetings. PFLAG is a national organization with chapters all over the country.
Santa Cruz California queer events at a glance.
SantaCruzGayMen.org organizes social events where gay men can make friends, start relationships, and have fun.
Fab Friday is our monthly event – Held the last Friday of each month at rotating venues in Santa Cruz County.
Come Out and Play Santa Cruz!
The Queer Youth Task Force (QYTF) is comprised of individuals and organizations that work with, or support, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) youth. We strive to improve the quality of life for all LGBTIQ youth in our community, as well as children raised in homes where LGBTIQ people live by:
- Fostering strong inter-generational collaboration by soliciting feedback from, and working with, youth.
- Identifying queer youths’ unmet needs and evaluating responses.
- Strategizing and implementing new resources, and improvements to existing resources.
- Improving awareness of available community resources and fostering collaboration of services.
- Supporting LGBTIQ related education, advocacy, inter-agency interactions and media opportunities.
- Addressing perceptions of queer youth by themselves, their families, their schools and the community.
The STRANGE Program has been in place and under the umbrella of Encompass Youth Services since 1999. Since its inception, STRANGE has worked alongside the Diversity Center, both implementing queer youth programs and collaborating on community events and projects. In spring of 2013, Encompass’ STRANGE Program formalized its partnership with the Diversity Center, making it a program of both the Diversity Center and Encompass Community Services. This partnership has made STRANGE a unique program functioning under the umbrella of two different nonprofit agencies that can bring forth diverse skills and expertise to best serve the target population. Encompass Youth Services’ focus on the youth population and the Diversity Center’s focus on the LGBTQ community has made it possible to maximize resources and provide a stronger program identity for the purpose of increasing youth engagement. This formal partnership provides an accessible gateway to services for LGBTQ youth through-out Santa Cruz County. Each agency has dedicated a staff to create an equivalent of a full time staff for the STRANGE program. Since the formal partnership, The Diversity Center and Encompass split the work of STRANGE- each agency staff providing support to GSAs, sharing the work of community events, and running weekly support groups together.
If you are feeling suicidal,
if you know someone who is,
if you are worried about someone,
or if you have lost someone to suicide…
we want you to know that you are not alone—
help is available.
You don’t have to wait until a crisis occurs. These feelings do not have to last forever; and no one has to experience this alone.