San Diego Gay Men's Chorus Partners with SDSU & UCSD

Being a university student is tough. And it's even more difficult for LGBT students just embarking on their journeys of self-discovery and personal identity.

Which is why the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus is saluting The Pride Center at San Diego State University and the UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center at its 2016 spring show California Dreamin' on April 23 and 24 at the Balboa Theatre.

"We're celebrating in song everything California, so we wanted to highlight our new generation of LGBT Californians and the incredible work being done on San Diego's largest campuses to help them succeed," said Bob Lehman, SDGMC Executive Director.

A College Area Oasis

Situated just across from the beautiful KPBS studios on the SDSU main College Area campus you'll find The Pride Center. From the moment you open the door, it's a flurry of activity with students answering phones at the front desk and others hanging out erupting in occasional bursts of laughter and conversation.

"I just enjoy the company and the people here," said Geovanni Elias Hernandez, a Pride Center Assistant. "I think the good thing about The Pride Center is it offers a bit of an oasis for queer students to feel comfortable and unwind between classes."

In addition to offering a welcoming and safe space for LGBTQ students, The Pride Center hosts events such as movie nights, dances and barbeques. It also links students with campus-wide offerings such as the recent Trans Week of Empowerment and the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness.

All of these activities are overseen by Coordinator Christopher Lujan who recently took on the role, drawing upon his experiences at the Los Angeles LGBT Center working with LGBT youth.

"Building a community here at the SDSU campus has really been the focus of The Pride Center," said Lujan. "I like being a voice for the community on campus and getting feedback from students and staff about what the LGBT community needs and wants."

SDSU is only the second college or university in North America to offer an LGBT Studies major, a prime resource for Lujan. "Our programming has grown significantly and we cross promote among diverse groups," Lujan added. "We're kind of the intersection of the LGBT community."

Head westward along La Jolla Village Drive and enter the cool eucalyptus groves of UC San Diego's campus. This is where you'll find the UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center directed by Dr. Shaun Travers, just past the General Store and campus bike shop. With its sunny floor-to-ceiling windows, the feeling is of a modernistic tree-house-the perfect place to relax and be yourself.

"Our students come to the LGBT Resource Center to find a sense of community, to find others that are like them, that are similar to them," said Travers. "So many students are just beginning to understand who they are and what that means for their future."

This is exactly how The LGBT Resource Center is most valuable-starting with its Q Camp orientation in the fall for new students interested in learning more about the LGBT community. From that point on, The LGBT Resource Center provides a host of services from its state-of-the-art Cyber Center underwritten by gay philanthropist David Bohnett to social spaces with room for various LGBT groups to meet. And in June, of course, is Rainbow Graduation!

"The LGBT Resource center is a home, is a hub, is a place of gathering, a place of celebration," said Travers. "It can create a real sense of family and connection for everyone who is part of our community at UC San Diego from faculty and staff to students."

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