Sexual health services with a civic mission—that’s the goal of Marsha P. Johnson Center South, the Sacramento LGBT Community Center’s new location in South Sacramento, which opened in June. “The new center was built as an extension of the health services we already provide at our midtown location,” says Aaron Armer, lead sexual health testing counselor and case manager at the location. “The main intention was being able to have it in South Sacramento so we can reach the communities we want to be able to reach.”
The LGBT center has long offered testing services for the queer community, including rapid HIV testing and three types of STI testing. (A lot of health care centers offer just one.) However, the new center, located at 7725 Stockton Blvd., Ste. O, also is ramping up services to include syphilis testing (for which staff was sent to phlebotomy school), COVID-19 testing, overdose prevention services and hormone therapy. Continued support is part of the formula, with case management services aimed at ensuring all patients receive the ongoing care needed for HIV, medication, STDs, hormone therapy and more.
“We want it to be intentionally for communities of color,” Armer says. That’s a huge part of the reason the location was chosen, in a part of town where the majority of community members are Brown and Black, and a large percentage also identify as queer or transgender. To make that mission clear, the center enlisted the guidance of a new Black leadership council to ensure the center would focus on the needs of this population. They were also instrumental in naming the center after a famous transgendered activist.
Additionally, the center is a space where those in the LGBTQ community can come for education, support or even just a place to sit and read a book, surrounded by large murals painted by Black artists and photographs of those instrumental in the LGBTQ+ rights movements.