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Back Out With Benny: Another year … And Dining Out

Right around this time five years ago, I wrote a series of columns on SDGLN.com sharing my thoughts about turning 30. And my how time flies! In just over two weeks, I’ll be turning 35. I’ve been thinking since January about whether or not I wanted to document my “journey to 35” in some sort of blog or column series, but this milestone just doesn’t seem to be as big of deal for me as 30 was.

While most older than me still consider me to be young, I’ve learned a lot in my 30s, and one of the things I’ve learned is to just take life for what it is. It gives us new challenges, opportunities, struggles, and joy every single day. I go with the flow, do my best, and don’t sweat the small things. And I suppose, turning 35 is just another one of those “small things” and there’s really nothing monumental about it. So that’s all I have to say about that!

This time of year is also very exciting to me because there are so many fun events that are happening. One of the most notable events is The Center’s ninth annual Dining Out For Life (DOFL) San Diego on Thursday, April 30.

On this day, dozens of participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, and nightclubs around the county will donate a minimum of 25 percent of the day’s sales to The Center’s HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. It’s an absolutely delicious way to give back!

The hardest part about supporting DOFL is figuring out where to dine! I always find myself eating several meals that day, joining different groups of friends or community organizations to support the cause. As they say, calories don’t count when it’s for a good cause. For more information or to see the list of participating locations to plan your day of dining, click HERE.

Looking ahead to May is the seventh annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, scheduled for May 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. More than 1,000 community members, businesses, groups and organizations come together each year to what is the largest Harvey Milk celebration in the state. Tickets and tables to this event are on sale now, so click HERE to get more information and grab your seat!

Since I’ve been on staff at The San Diego LGBT Center, it’s been incredible to see how busy this place really is — every single day — providing resources, events, activities, and support to a diverse group of community members. Check out The Center’s calendar to see all of the daily events that take place.

Out in the community, the San Diego Multicultural LGBT Literary Foundation has scheduled their second annual “Expressions of Pride” literature and arts festival May 2 at Diversionary Theatre. The daylong fundraising and awareness event will feature artists Manuel Acevedo and Clarione Gutierrez, and authors Rigoberto González, Chinelo Okparanta, and Craig Womack.

Participants will be able to shop from over 400 books by LGBT authors of color —and these titles can’t be found anywhere else. And that’s not all, there are free mimosas with the price admission between 10:30 – 12:30 p.m. More information is here.

Also on Saturday, May 2 is San Diego Pride’s annual OUT at the Park. While most who are close to me know that I’d rather do just about anything else besides attending a live sporting event, this LGBT day at Petco Park is a lot of fun. The San Diego Padres will face off against the Colorado Rockies during the game, which includes a section of seats just for OUT at the Park participants.

Before the 5:40 p.m. game is a tailgate party from 2:15 ­­– 5:15 p.m. including food and drinks sponsored by Urban MO’s and Bud Light. And to top it all off, there’s an afterparty at Baja Betty’s (leave it to our community to turn a baseball game into a huge party!). This event often sells out so get additional information and tickets here.

Finally, on Sunday, May 3, find me out at my favorite #SundayFunday spots in Hillcrest celebrating my 35th year! See you next month!

—Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@thecentersd.org.

(Editor's note: This post was originally published on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego.)