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GALA of the Central Coast
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast (soon to be renamed the Gala Pride and Diversity Center), has been providing support and encouraging diversity and inclusion since before its incorporation in 1997. For the last 10 years we have owned our beautiful Center at 1060 Palm Street.
GALA reflects the rich social life of the LGBT community in San Luis Obispo County. GALA, an incorporated non-profit supported by membership dues and tax deductible donations, is committed to ensuring a healthy and vibrant network of social gathering groups, events, business resources, and educational services for its constituents. It also aims at being an integral part of the growth of the greater San Luis Obispo community GALA’S MISSION Through education, support, recreation, advocacy, and partnerships, we will promote the well-being of our LGBT community. VISION To have a healthy LGBT community that is respected, embraced by, and of value to, the broader Central Coast community.
GALA brings people together.
+ Monthly Support Meetings
+ Community Members Serviced Monthly
+ Business Partners
Executive Director | Since May 2018.
A British transplant who has lived in San Luis Obispo for the last 20 years – Michelle moved here for the weather! Her background is in senior care working to hire, train, and support caregivers looking after folks in their own homes.
Michelle is proud parent to a nonbinary lesbian teen and an asexual panromantic transmasculine teen and identifies as bisexual, kinky, and polyamorous. She has volunteered for GALA since 2008 – organizing events, facilitating support groups, and teaching consent and negotiation classes. Current presentation topics include: Queer and Kinky, LGBTQ+ Elders, and LGBTQ+ 101 for Parents and Guardians (emphasis on gender identity.)
Michelle strongly believes the Gala Pride and Diversity Center exists as a safe space for everyone on the gender and sexuality spectrum, and that special attention must be given to the most vulnerable intersectional identities. #BlackTransLivesMatter #GayIsGood #Enby #LoveIsLove
Meet the GALA
Board of Directors
As a 30-year active LGBTQ advocate, Doug has served statewide on the Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (California State Bar) and Transgender Law Center’s Leadership Council, plus served locally as Co-President of GALA, and Chair of Tranz Central Coast.
Presently, he serves as President of GALA Board, and member of the Central Coast Coalition for Inclusive Schools.
Jane joined the GALA board in 2017 and tries to be a voice of reason, supporting practical ideas and ties to the larger community. She also currently co-facilitates Lez B Friends and Free 4 All Movie Night at the center.
Locally, she volunteers with the local Democrats groups, for the LGBT Advisory Committee at Tenet Health and now back to her theater roots, at CCAT (Cambria Center for the Arts).
Jeff lives in Morro Bay where he owns a small retail shop and is a USCG Licensed Captain of several of the boats in the harbor.
Jeff also serves as Treasurer and Board Member of the Housing Trust Fund of San Luis Obispo County, seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing, and as a Board Member of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce.
He has a long history of community involvement and volunteerism, driven by a desire to make our society a better place; a place with an abundance of love, acceptance, and peace.
Samuel Neil Byrd
Samuel is a Gender & Sexuality educator, consultant, and national board-certified psychotherapist originally from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. A 1st-gen professional and alumnus of Appalachian State University, Richmond International University of Rome, NC State University, and the Pacific School of Religion Samuel has focused his studies on expanding access to public education, supporting students mental health and wellness, and dismantling systems of oppression through social justice education and community activism. He has served as a public school teacher, college lecturer, college counselor, interfaith chaplain, drag performer and community activist. His current research is focused at the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and religion and Queer, Womxnist, and Postcolonial Theology.
Driven by a desire to build community and share stories, Elissa is a co-facilitator of the Bi + support group and is looking forward to helping GALA expand support services. Elissa is passionate about mental health in the LGBTQIA+ community, dedicated to community wellness, and believes that connection saves lives.
Elissa seeks balance between work, family, and volunteer work, and enjoys live music, metaphysical shops, and SLOQueerdos events.
Rob originates from Sonoma County, CA and has been a resident of SLO county for two years.
Rob brings a decade of experience working for community focused non-profits, providing services for those impacted by traumatic experiences and living with mental health issues.
When not working within the community Rob spends his free time with his partner enjoying the SLO Outdoors, cooking, and engaging in “nerdy” hobbies.
Dr. Denise Taylor
Denise considers herself a self proclaimed drag nerd.
When she is not working at the California Men’s Colony as a prison doctor or seeing patients at the Community Health Center specializing in HIV and Transgender health care or serving on the Trans Central Coast Steering Committee, Dr. Taylor can be found watching reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race, listening to the podcast “What’s the Tee” or riding her bike.
Dr. Katherine Soule is the University of California, Cooperative Extension Director for San Luis Obispo County.
Every day, Katherine brings her passion for inclusion and equity to positively transform our communities. To do this work, she has developed and guided an award-winning diverse, multicultural team who truly understand the culture, needs, and strengths of the people in the communities where they work. She is proud of the innovative programs they have developed that integrate health education with community engagement, knowing this work improves equity for marginalized populations.
She plans to bring this passion and experience to the GALA Board of Directors.
GALA welcomes all individuals regardless of ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation and age.
Stop by the Center for a cup of tea!
1060 Palm Street | San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
William Tomasini Scholarship
Established in early 2014, The William Tomasini Scholarship honors business and community leader and former GALA President William Tomasini.
The scholarship is designed to help empower promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential, despite the many obstacles ahead, and to make a significant and positive impact on their community.
Students who have demonstrated leadership, with a strong record of academic excellence, volunteerism and achievement, and like William, bring beauty into their LGBTQ community, will be considered for this scholarship.
If you wish to contribute to this scholarship fund, please CLICK HERE.
If you are a youth looking to apply please download the application HERE. *Note: Applications are not currently being accepted.
If you have any questions please contact us with the subject “Tomasini Scholarship”
Events & Groups Calendar
GALA welcomes all individuals regardless of ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation and age. Stop by the Center for a cup of tea!
1060 Palm Street | San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 541-4252