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San Diego LGBT Center Urged to Hire Armed Guards After Hate Attacks

San Diego

Two recent hate-based attacks prompt leaders in the community to call for sweeping changes.

Following two separate shootings -- both seemingly targeting marginalized groups -- an influential San Diego City Commissioner is calling for the city's LGBT center to hire armed guards.

Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez grew concerned following this weekend's shooting at a San Diego-area synagogue where one woman was killed, as well as a shooting in February at a San Diego restaurant heavily patronized by LGBTQ customers. The former shooter was an anti-Semite and the latter had written antigay comments on his Facebook page.

In response, Ramirez launched a fund to pay for armed guards in and around the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

"It's long overdue that our LGBT Community Center hire professional security guards," Ramirez told the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. ''The Imperial Court de San Diego and the GLBT Vote 2020 [committed] $1,000 apiece and Eddie Reynoso and the San Diego Equality Business Alliance [committed] $1,000 apiece towards this effort."

Ramirez, who serves on the LGBT Advisory Board for Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the San Diego County Sheriff, said he's long been concerned about the San Diego LGBT Community Center, citing an incident from 2015 when a transient entered the facility and punched a staffer in the face.

"But the Center has refused to hire armed security guards," he said. "It is time that our LGBT Center, the Metropolitan Community Center, and San Diego Pride reaccess their security situation as many of our LGBT bars have in view of recent growing anti-gay incidents in Hillcrest."

While the San Diego LGBT Center did not provide comment to the SDGLN, Ramirez said the Center was wary of hiring uniformed security guards because some of its clients found such individuals triggering.

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