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“THE GALA PRIDE AND DIVERSITY CENTER SUPPORT AND EMPOWER PEOPLE OF ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS, GENDER IDENTITIES, AND EXPRESSIONS TO STRENGTHEN AND UNITE OUR CENTRAL COAST COMMUNITY.”
This is our brand mission.
It is the mantra that we live by and guides everything that we do. If our activities and attitudes contribute towards this, then we are doing the right thing.
We have designed this specifically to connect with our community and partners who will share in our collective vision and the impact it will have.
Be Bold. Be You.
These are our core 3 values, the underlining pillars that help us ensure we are on track to achieve our mission. They connect us with our community and drive us in this movement.
We are unique, brave, innovative, creative, courageous and beautiful. We each have a strong sense of purpose, an array of talents, and passion for creating a better world. We are a resilient people who are authentic and unafraid to boldly and rightfully exist.
We value the socially transformative impact of our collective efforts and talents. By working together, fostering open communication, furthering understanding, and building caring and supportive environments, we empower the entire community with the power of our PRIDE.
We believe that the diversity of our community is one of its greatest strengths, yet deep disparities exist –especially for those who sit at the intersection of marginalized identities. We believe we cannot fight one form of oppression without fighting all forms of oppression. We are committed to expanding access, equity, and inclusion in sustainable ways.
+ Monthly Support Meetings
+ Community Members Serviced Monthly
+ Business Partners
The Gala Pride and Diversity Center Staff
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 the Gala Pride and Diversity Center 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
Ciana Carmela Costa
Administrative Assistant | Since February 2020.
Ciana is originally from San Luis Obispo County where she was raised on an exceptionally large cattle ranch outside of Santa Margarita. For the last 5 years, she was living in Palm Springs where she was incredibly involved within the LGBTQ+ community. In 2018 Ciana held the title of Ms. Palm Springs Hot Rodeo becoming the first-ever transgender woman to hold the title Locally, Statewide, and Internationally.
Most recently Ciana moved back here to the Central Coast and is dedicated to being a positive and supportive transgender woman within our LGBTQ+ community as well as the local communities.
She brings to the Pride Center a truly diverse educational and work experience. Ranging from a bachelor’s in Psychology, Wildland Firefighter, Correctional Officer, Rock Climbing Instructor, Personal Trainer, and a Hotel/Resort Manager. Just to name a few.
Gala Pride and Diversity Center
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 Pride and Diversity Center, and Chair of Tranz Central Coast.
Presently, he serves as President of the Gala Pride and Diversity Center Board, as well as a member of the Central Coast Coalition for Inclusive Schools.
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 the Gala Pride and Diversity Center 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 Pride and Diversity Center welcomes all individuals regardless of ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation and age.
Stop by the Center for a cup of tea and a fabulous chat!
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 Pride and Diversity Center welcomes all individuals regardless of ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation and age. Stop by the Center for a cup of tea and a fabulous chat!
1060 Palm Street | San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 541-4252