About LGBTQ Merced

a chapter of the LGBT Community Network

Our Mission
The mission of LGBT Community Network is to enhance the well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender communities by providing activities, programs and services that create and support community; empower community members; provide essential resources; and embrace, promote and support our cultural diversity.

LGBT Community Network is a 501(c)3 organization, based in Fresno, CA.
Tax ID 81-3066621

Our Story
The Merced chapter of the LGBT Community Network, LGBTQ Merced, was established in order to create a central place for queer folks in Merced County and the surrounding areas to find community and resources. Queer politics in Merced have been contentious and disconnected for too long. We believe that by creating and promoting ethical and transparent systems of democratic, queer leadership, our community can come together to create incredible events, initiatives, and a sense of belonging for all queer residents of the Central Valley, from Los Banos to Mariposa, and from Turlock to Madera.

Our Values

  • Elevating and empowering LGBTQ+ leaders
  • Radical transparency, inclusion and diversity
  • Democratic processes and values
  • Collaboration, and partnership
  • Community development through the ethical, equitable and sustainable use of natural, economic, social, and human resources
  • Valuing the expertise and experience of the local community through promoting civic involvement and participation
  • Scientific data and evidence-based practices

Our Vision
LGBTQ Merced strives to be a leader in LGBTQ+ community development, and active partner in the implementation of strategies to achieve community goals.As such, we will use community meetings, surveys, and scientific research to create and guide local policy initiatives and activities.

LGBTQ Merced’s
long-term goals include the creation of a sustainable and inclusive LGBTQ+ center, expanding over a decade into services for youth experiencing homelessness in Merced County. This is because homelessness disproportionately affects LGBTQ+ transitional-aged youth, and no services currently exist in Merced County that serve this population. We envision strong
partnerships with local agencies in order to realize this goal. We are committed to democratic processes and values, including dialogue. We encourage members to have difficult conversations by putting aside judgment and replacing it with compassionate discourse to cultivate a connected queer community. This means, ultimately, be empathetic, listen, and try to understand
one another.

Those who listen, change the world

– Nobel Peace Center

Meet our team!

Micki Archuleta is a cisgender lesbian and a Merced native who has most recently lived here since 2000. She is the founder of the Merced LGBTQ+ Alliance and has been active in local queer politics for over a decade. She is adjunct faculty at Modesto Junior College teaching writing and is also a student at Arizona State University majoring in Software Engineering. It is her vision of a connected community which has led us to prioritize the convocation of queer town halls on a monthly basis. Much of her organizational experience and wisdom comes from being involved in student government, including as the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association at Washington State University, and from the research done for her dissertation, “A Covenant of Struggle: Constitutional Debate and Ideological Discourse in Antebellum America.”

Eli Sachse, BSN, RN, a transgender man, bought a home in Merced in 2009. He created the first transgender and non-binary support group in Merced, Genderpeers, and ran it on a volunteer basis for three years (2019-2021), connecting trans people to resources that did not previously exist in the Central Valley. He is the founder of GLSEN Merced, and Merced Pride Center, now defunct. He curated the first two LGBTQ+ art exhibitions at the MAC, now an annual tradition. He sewed the 24-foot long rainbow pride flag that was carried down main street during Merced’s first downtown pride celebration in 2019. He is a traveling registered nurse who also deploys to disasters with the American Red Cross. He has experience creating and presenting cultural sensitivity training for all audiences, and is motivated to re-establish an inclusive and sustainable Pride Center for Merced.

Cori Fernandez is a cisgender lesbian who has been an off and on resident of Merced County. She moved to the Bay Area after high school to begin her career with AT&T, and after 30 years she retired and moved back to Merced. After a year of early retirement, she returned back to school and received her degree in Social Services and Drug & Alcohol. She began her career at Behavioral Health and Recovery Services where she enjoyed working with children ages 5 – 24. During this time, she developed a passion for assisting queer youth who found themselves newly rejected by their own families and homeless. It is Cori’s experience which has helped prioritize our long-term vision in seeking queer youth homeless services due to the significant lack of a safety net that she identified within Merced County.

Molly Moon is a cisgender, bisexual woman, and mother of a transgender youth. She is a board member for Madera Action Committee and a volunteer at Valley Crisis Center. She is currently living in Chowchilla and is employed in Merced as an Early Intervention Teacher.

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