How to build your LGBTQ community in San Diego

Jul 11, 2023 - Kyle Winnick

Sometimes overshadowed by San Francisco’s and Los Angeles’ more famous LGBTQ+ history and communities, San Diegans know our region shines in its own right. With our vibrant Hillcrest gayborhood, hotspots like Gossip Grill (one of just 27 surviving lesbian bars in the country), and LGBTQ+ events all year round, BBC even dubbed San Diego an unsung U.S. LGBTQ hub.

Here’s how you can meet friends, find help and resources, and grow your network within San Diego’s dynamic LGBTQ+ community.

Meet your people

Whether a soccer fan or a film enthusiast, you’ll find fast friends in San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community groups.

Feeling sporty? You can stay active and forge friendships through San Diego’s Lambda Rising Soccer Club, an LGBTQ+ inclusive soccer league.

For a cultural moment, Diversionary Theatre is America’s third-oldest LGBTQ+ theatre and fosters marginalized communities’ voices on and off stage.

While you’re still in your festival era, check out the Sum of Us Fest. This wellness festival provides a safe space on self-expression and connection for LGBTQ+ women, gender expansive, and trans identities.

And film buffs can flex their stuff at FilmOut San Diego, a LGBTQ+ film festival that, in addition to its annual flagship event, hosts year-round screenings of LGBTQ+ entertainment and cult classics.

Find help and resources

The San Diego region’s pinnacle event celebrating LGBTQ+ history and culture, San Diego Pride offers a week-long extravaganza of parades, performances, and cultural events in addition to its Pride 365 calendar of events. Whether you love programs or parades, immerse yourself in the vibrant energy and connect with the broader LGBTQ+ community.

San Diego LGBT Community Center also offers a wide variety of year-round services, including housing, family, health, and youth programs. Plus, with movie nights, discussion groups, and cultural events, it’s a great way to form meaningful friendships.

For youth and families, PFLAG San Diego County and GLSEN San Diego County focus on the wellness of young LGBTQ+ individuals. PFLAG is driven by unifying family and friends, and GLSEN helps ensure that local school and educational environments are safe places for LGBTQ+ students to thrive.

And when looking for assistance for transgender individuals and their loved ones, TransFamily Support Services offers guidance and compassion through educational workshops, a network of resources, and exciting events for all.

For an even more personalized experience, San Diego offers specific resources and communities tailored to your identity, cultural background, and community:

  • As San Diego’s central hub for LGBTQ Black life, the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition provides resources, events, and outlets that support and enrich Black LGBTQ+ individuals and families.
  • San Diego Pride offers a number of year-round affinity groups, including the Latine Coalition, QAPIMEDA (for Desi, Middle-Eastern, Pacific Islander, and Asian San Diegans), Military Department, and SheFest (for women, non-binary people, and folks who find community within these identities).
  • When you’re live, laugh, loving along the 78 corridor, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center provides resources, events, advocacy, and support groups for everyone in the community.
  • San Diego State University students can take advantage of the university’s LGBTQ+ studies program, living space, campus resource center, and more, ranked among the nation’s best in 2023 by Campus Pride.

And for those interested in learning and sharing the rich history of the LGBTQ+ experience in San Diego, The Lambda Archives of San Diego is dedicated to collecting and preserving this history in the CaliBaja binational region.

Build your professional network

Whether you work in tech, finance, marketing, or more, Out Professionals San Diego hosts networking events and educational sessions to foster your professional growth. And reflecting San Diego’s R&D strength, science professionals can find an inclusive network in OutBio San Diego.

Are you an entrepreneur or business owners? Founded in 1979 and the second oldest LGBTQ+ and supportive chamber in the nation, San Diego Equality Business Association (SDEBA) elevates local LGBTQ+ businesses like yours through pride mixers, luncheons, and weekly business networking groups.

Note: San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community is dynamic and ever-evolving. For the most up-to-date information on San Diego events, resources, and organizations, please visit their respective websites or reach out to their teams directly.

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