STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- The Pride Center of Staten Island provides much-needed support and a range of services for thousands of members of the LGBTQ community who live in the borough.
Those resources are especially critical at a time when Staten Island is seeing an uptick in homophobic incidents.
Born and raised on Staten Island, Lisa Sloan didn't have a care in the world playing with her twin sister Christine.
But years later she had a very specific ah-ha moment when she asked her mother if her great-aunt Reenie and her partner Steph were lesbians.
That acknowledgement played a role in her decision years later to come out.
She's now dedicated to creating a safety net for others in the LGBTQ community.
"Had this been here for me when I was 13, 14, that I might have been able to recognize myself a little bit sooner and that's one of the things that keeps me motivated to be here," Sloan said.
The team provides a range of services in a borough that tends to be more conservative and where there has been an uptick in homophobic incidents.
"Having to go across a ferry or a bridge can be daunting, so having the resources here is really important, I think especially because of what's happening with legislation," said Carol Bullock with the Pride Center.
As for Sloan, in 2017, she met and married the love of her life. The couple is a central part of the gay community which she considers a small but mighty force.
"We're not a traditional gay population center in the way that Greenwich Village has been, but the people who are here deserve to be their whole selves and deserve to be safe and accepted and loved for doing that," Sloan said.
Channel 7 is your home for Pride. Join us Saturday at 7 p.m. for our special "Pride 2023: Strength in Solidarity" and on Sunday starting at noon, Sam Champion, Lauren Glassberg and Kemberly Richardson will host live coverage of the Pride March. Watch it wherever you stream ABC7NY.