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LGBT Center in Oceanside vandalized, Pride flags stolen

North County LGBTQ Resource Center had its flag pole pulled down and Pride flags stolen.
Photo credit:
Max Disposti

This past weekend someone vandalized the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside for a second time in as many months according to its Executive Director, Max Disposti

Disposti went on Facebook and posted pictures of the damage saying the vandals "successfully achieved to destroy our main entrance rainbow and trans flag pole." He thinks the next time "is going to be bigger and stronger."

In the photos you can see the tall pole located at the front of the Mission Avenue location is completely bent toward the ground, the ever-present Pride and trans flags were also stolen. 

"Maybe it occurred during the weekend at night, we are not sure," he tells San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. "It is a job that required more than one person since the pole was not cemented down but strongly attached."

The Oceanside police and its LGBT liaison were called and they are investigating it as a possible hate crime says Disposti.

Thinking back, he believes this isn't the first time the LGBTQ Center was the target of hate. Two months ago he discovered the pole had been tampered with but thought it was due to the strong winds at the time and both flags were still intact.

"We did not make a report last time because we were not sure of the nature of the damage itself," he said.  

This latest occurrence comes on the heels of another Oceanside incident last week when a vandal spray-painted a homophobic slur on an elderly gay man's garage. 

"We can't say the two incidents are connected but we do not like the climate and we hope this not to be a trend," said Disposti.

Oceanside police are increasing their presence in the area as the Resource Center figures out what steps they can take to increase security. 

Disposti is staying strong and hopeful for the community and is trying to keep a positive attitude, but he is also determined to send a message to those involved in the destruction. 

"Whether this was an intentional message of hate or we were just considered an easy and socially acceptable target of opportunity, our community stands firm on the ideals of visibility, equality, and justice," he said. "We reject this and similar acts of aggression and seek to replace them with more visibility, more services for our community, and more organization."

In an update to his original Facebook post, he doubles down on the above sentiment. 

"Our work continues," writes Disposti, "no one is hurt and our...flag [pole] will be bigger and better."