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Sacramento's rich LGBT history

June is LGBT Pride month and Sacramento has its own rich LGBT history and culture to celebrate.

June is LGBT Pride month and Sacramento has its own rich LGBT history and culture to celebrate.

In Sacramento, a section of Midtown – known as Lavender Heights – honors this part of the community. One club helped make Lavender Heights the vibrant area it is today.

Over the past three decades, Faces nightclub has undergone major changes. At 16,000 square feet, it is more than double the size it was when it first opened in 1985.

"When I opened it, it was where everyone who was gay could go, that was 33 years ago,” Faces owner Terry Sidie, said.

Faces was the first gay club in Sacramento when it opened its doors on 20th and K Streets.

“It was a very bad neighborhood,” recalled Sidie.

Now, the neighborhood is known as Lavender Heights because of the many gay establishments and resources available. The vibrant area even has its own network of businesses known as the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce.

"Well it started out with a handful, four to five business, and now we reach 700 business on a regular basis,” Paul Weubbe, past president of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, said.

Two years ago, the crosswalks on 20th and K Streets were painted rainbow colors, designating it as Sacramento’s LGBT area. Over the years, it’s become more than just a hangout, but a place for the community to come together, in times of celebration, and in times of tragedy – as was the case last year following the Orlando massacre at Pulse Nightclub.

“I think what the gay people need to remember is our history and the fact that you never know when somebody can take you back 75 years,” Sidie said.

With the setbacks and the progress, there's no doubt that Lavender Heights has made its colorful mark on Sacramento.

Sidie has become known as the godfather of Sacramento's LGBT community and despite his age, there's nothing that can slow him down.

"I'm turning 73 this year, everyone asks me when I’m going to retire. I’m never going to retire,” Sidie said.

More improvements are coming to Lavender Heights - including more signs welcoming people to the colorful district.

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