Whenever she drives down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, California Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager lights up as she passes by Center South, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s facility in South Los Angeles.
“It makes me smile every time I see the sign,” she told LGBT News Now following her February 26 tour of the building . “I love the location, I love that it says right out on the front it’s an LGBT center in South LA. I am all for living outside of the shadows and having this organization here.”
Kamlager currently represents the 54th Assembly District which includes nearby Leimert Park neighborhood where Center South is located.
“There’s so many Black and brown families who have LGBT folks in their families, and I wonder about them every single day,” she said. “I wonder if they are being recognized, if they are being loved, if they’re being supported. By being here, the Center is saying ‘I am here for you.’ And that really is important.”
Opened in January 2020, Center South’s programs and services are provided for free or at low cost to everyone with a focus on serving the needs of young gay and bi men of color ages 12 to 29 and trans women of color. In addition to HIV and STI testings, Center South’s services include access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) services; linkage and retention to HIV care; housing and employment navigation; mental health services; legal services; a drop-in space for community meetings and events; and a CyberCenter stocked with new desktop computers, made possible through the David Bohnett Foundation, for community members to use.
The 5,500-square-foot facility recently achieved Federally Qualified Health Center status which means health care services can be expanded there.
“The Center is doing what we need, and we need to be doing it regardless of your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, your age, your ethnicity,” Kamlager said.
Senior Program Manager David Flores hosted Kamlager’s tour. She presented staff with a Certificate of Recognition before departing.
“We will be coming back and finding ways to support,” she told them. “I’m a true ally, and that’s why I’m asking questions about ways the state can honor and recognize and celebrate our LGBT community.”
Follow Center South on Instagram @centersouth_
(Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, Kamlager declared victory in the race for the 30th Senate District seat, which stretches from Century City to South LA. This district includes Center South.)