‘It’s time’: Executive director of Pride Center San Antonio steps down after 13 years


SAN ANTONIO – For the local LGBTQ+ community, there is one main place where safety, acceptance, and inclusion are guaranteed.

Pride Center San Antonio started from humble beginnings and is now a thriving organization.

Executive Director Robert Salcido has been there through it all, leading the organization for 13 years.

“We are impacting more lives than ever,” Salcido said.

With the organization thriving, he said he’s ready to step away from the position that became his second full-time job.

“It’s time for somebody to take the reins. I am the program director with Texas Pride Impact Funds. I’m still deeply rooted in LGBTQ work. So it’s not that I’m leaving the work. It’s just that I’m reducing the work that I have,” Salcido said.

Rewind to 2011, Salcido was a volunteer for the brand new Pride Center San Antonio.

“Some of my friends that I was meeting were disowned from their family,” Salcido said.

That’s why he wanted to help create a space for people to find their “family of choice.”

They’ve come a long way.

“I remember our first offices that we got and it was literally like a ten by ten room. I always joke to say that, now where we’re located, we moved out of our closet, we came out of the closet,” he said cracking up.

Fast-forward more than a decade, and the thriving organization has a full-time staff, a drop-in center, case management, peer and counseling groups, and a long list of programs.

There are two offices with hallways of rooms, and Salcido said there are several reasons that physical space is crucial.

“One is safety. To be able to bring somebody into a space where they feel comfortable, to be authentic, and to speak their truth,” Salcido said.

One extremely important room is the large, inviting, colorful conference room, where peer groups meet and group activities occur.

The lack of that in-person connection was lost during the pandemic when the organization was faced with its biggest challenge yet.

“We never stopped. We just switched everything to online. We started doing Zoom meetings and Zoom peer groups. Now that we’re even back in office, those dynamics are still there because we found that we were able to reach more people by still offering these virtual convenings,” Salcido said.

Internally in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a huge win.

Yet a continuing challenge that Salcido has worked towards is creating inclusivity within the outside community.

“13 years ago, the way that LGBTQ+ folks were treated and respected, or the lack thereof, it’s a lot different than what it is today. I think for the most part, San Antonio is a very inclusive city in building the bridges and the connections that we have,” he said.

Community integration is a huge goal for Salcido’s successor.

“Taking the visibility of who we are to the broader city building partnerships,” said soon-to-be Executive Director Lex Loro.

Loro is the current director of community health, who’s been with the center for five and a half years.

“I was the first ever paid staff member brought on at the Pride Center, which is such a special thing. I feel grateful for that,” Loro said.

Her passion is in community health, and LGBTQ+ access to basic needs.

“Folks are really struggling. They’re in need of significant financial support, their need of job and education, training, healthcare,” Loro said.

She said these basic resources are more difficult for some in the LGBTQ+ community.

“A lot of our clients here at the center come to see us because they had negative experiences elsewhere, and they don’t know what to do next. Sometimes those resources are just not set up, equipped, or trained to know the unique needs and challenges of LGBTQ-plus people,” Loro said.

Her big goal is to strengthen that inclusion in the local community by way of training and networking.

“No matter where we’re at, where we work, what we do, what church we’re part of, what school we go to, we make sure that our LGBTQ plus neighbors are welcome there. So that’s one of the challenges I see,” she said.

These strong goals make Salcido shine with confidence.

“I know that I’m leaving the center in a very good spot, with our staff for the next generation,” Salcido said.

In the end, what he truly has is pride.