What is Community?

Posted by Michael Dale Kimmel in lgbt 18 Oct 2019

When Gay San Diego was for sale, I wondered “What will happen to the Gay San Diego community if the paper goes under?” Luckily, Terry Sidie bought the paper and it has been renamed/revitalized/ relaunched.

It’s hard to keep a paper going in these online/social media-saturated times. Need evidence? Look at all the local LGBTQ periodcals that are no longer around, many folding in the past year or two.

Before Terry bought the paper, I was thinking of all of us who have contributed to Gay San Diego over the years (writers, editors, advertisers, publishers, office staff) and how – together with the readers – we created a community.

Or did we? “What is a community?” I began asking myself, friends and colleagues. I got a variety of answers: a community can be a bar, a club, a group of people, an organization, people with shared goals, social ties and/or common values.

I started to do some research. One of the questions that piqued my curiosity was: “What is the purpose of a community?” My favorite answers? To provide safety, a sense of belonging and opportunities so that people can grow and be fulfilled.

Sounds good (and idealistic), doesn’t it?

A wise and supportive community reaches out to like-minded individuals and invites them to become part of something bigger than themselves, with messages like:

“Hey there! You are not alone.”

“There are other people who see the world as you do.”

“We have similar goals and purposes: come and join us!”

I also wondered: “How do you ‘grow’ a community?” To “grow” a community, you need a group of people who are working together for a common goal.  This is where I think we are with LGBTQ San Diego County News.

Under the leadership of Terry (publisher), Nicole (associate publisher) and Albert (editor), we have a brilliant opportunity to create a new community. We can take the best of what Gay San Diego created and build upon it.

Everyone plays a part in the growth of a thriving, successful community: the publishers need income to pay the printer, staff, writers and contributors. This is where advertisers come in. We need you, small and large businesses of San Diego to become part of our community. And we need you readers to patronize these businesses, so they can see their investment in LGBTQ San Diego County News will bring new customers to them.

We welcome feedback from readers, letting us know what you think of what we’re creating. Please become part of our community by giving us feedback: when you like something, please tell your friends about it. When you don’t like something, please tell us about it.

LGBTQ San Diego County News can help to create a happy, thriving and successful LGBTQ community here in San Diego. Here are some other characteristics of a positive community:

People Work Together Toward a Common Goal: The most effective communities share similar values and belief systems that cooperate to help accomplish their shared goals.

Encourage Freedom of Expression: People feel comfortable speaking their minds and expressing what is important to them. Individuals feel encouraged to give their input about an issue and feel heard when they do speak their mind.

Promote Fairness: Give a voice to minority populations through frequent consultation regarding how the community can best meet their needs.

Maintain Sensitivity Towards Members: Community members feel that they are cared for by the community: the well-being of every member of the community matters and when concerns arise, they are addressed in a timely and sensitive manner.

Celebrate Community Heritage: Every long-standing community has heritage and traditions that have risen during the community’s development. Positive communities embrace their culture by reminding members of the long way the community has come. 

As the LGBTQ San Diego County News begins this new phase of serving and supporting our community, please join me in welcoming Terry, Nicole and other new staff. I am pleased to be a writer for our new publication.