The Center began in 1977 as living room gatherings to discuss issues important to the LGBTQ community. The Center was officially incorporated in 1980 as One in Long Beach, Inc. and has been providing a variety of health, social, advocacy, legal, and service programs to the LGBTQ community in the Greater Long Beach area for three decades. As a result of the AIDS epidemic, in 1984, The Center established Project Ahead, the first case management service in Southern Los Angeles County exclusively for those affected by HIV and AIDS. One in Long Beach was, in many instances, the only safe haven where people of all sexual orientations, genders, ethnic and cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic levels could receive HIV information, testing and counseling, healthcare referrals and other support services.In 1985, through the bequests of several individuals who died of HIV and AIDS, The Center was able to purchase a 7500 square-foot building located near 4th and Cherry, in Central Long Beach. The building was renovated and opened in 1986 as a new home of the agency. In 1987, the agency held AIDS Walk Long Beach which continues today as a separate foundation. In 1997, One in Long Beach became the Gay and Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach. In 2014 we became The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach. Today, we serve over 25,000 people a year and include an array of services including support groups, workshops and seminars, youth services, free HIV & STI testing, legal assistance, domestic violence services, employment referrals, mental health counseling, cultural and social activities including the QFilm Festival, educational forums, and a thriving volunteer program with an active database of over 300 volunteers. The Center also provides meeting space for more than 20 community groups each month.
The Center also participates in a number of advisory and community groups including the 4th Street Business Association, Long Beach Police Department’s GLBT Chief’s Advisory Group and the 2nd District Hate Crimes Advisory Group.