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DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION STATEMENT OF The Gala Pride and Diversity Center (GPDC)
In working with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, Indigenous identities, and similarly identified (LGBTQ+) communities in San Luis Obispo County, The Gala Pride and Diversity Center (GPDC) commits to proactively working in solidarity against white supremacy, settler-colonialism, xenophobia, ableism, capitalist exploitation, religious bigotry, and all forms of cisheteropatriarchy.
TO READ OUR FULL DEI STATEMENT, SELECT YOUR PREFERRED LANGUAGE BUTTON FROM THE SELECTION BELOW:
“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
They/them | she/her
Director of Operations | Since December 2020
California born and raised, Serrina is a non-binary, bisexual, polyamorous firebrand who, when faced with picking their gender and sexual identity, decided to go with “yes”. They grew up in San Luis Obispo, though a piece of their heart is still in Santa Cruz, where they earned a degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Her professional background is in laboratory science, but she’s been moonlighting as a volunteer and event organizer with the Gala Pride and Diversity Center and other local LGBTQ+ groups since 2016. They are a passionate educator and have developed and taught a wide range of LGBTQ+, kinky, and sex positive classes for groups seeking either personal or professional development.
Serrina is committed to an intersectional understanding of the needs of LGBTQ+ communities and inclusive dialogues in advocacy efforts. She is particularly interested in the rich (and often forgotten) LGBTQ+ histories across different cultures, eras, and communities. They are dedicated to furthering the cause of education, outreach, and support, and they look forward to being a positive, supportive member of the local LGBTQ+ community.
Administrative Assistant | Since January 2022
A SLO native since childhood, you may already know Lola. It’s the hair. Everyone remembers the hair. This proud transfeminine lass was a regular contributor to the SLO New Times for over four years; using wit, empathy, and various collegiate connections to carve a niche for herself as writer of the now-defunct column Cougars and Mustangs. Coming out to the area at large in that weekly piece, she sought to use her platform to provide whatever resources she could find for at-risk individuals.
Lola’s personal mission is to combat the stigma around difficult but necessary topics such as mental illness, sexuality, gender, and much more. By refusing to give the taboos power, she hopes to make it that much safer for those who come after her. Lola is a polyamorous, neurodivergent pagan. She is very excited to put her skills to use at the Gala Pride & Diversity Center, helping how she can to help who she can. She leaves here a thought from her literary hero, Rod Serling: “…Any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man… is obsolete.”
Gala Pride and Diversity Center
Board of Directors
Dusty was born and raised in SLO County, and after a seven-year stint in San Diego for school and shenanigans, returned to the area in 2008. With a passion for building connections, he has made his career in marketing and community relations, currently with the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Engagement & Inclusion.
Always with an eye on making the San Luis Obispo area more welcoming and inclusive, Dusty has served on the City of SLO’s DEI Task Force and Human Relations Commission, as well as committee work for The Pride Center. Dusty is tremendously excited and honored to serve on the Pride Center Board and looks forward to the organization continuing its phenomenal work for the greater LGBTQ+ community.
Proudly polyamorous with his husband of 10 years and their partner of 6 years, Dusty is an adventurous foodie and well-known cocktail aficionado and crafter. His household is completed by their four feline overlords: Luna, Arya, Nymeria, and Albus.
Elissa is a Mexican-American, queer, neurodivergent, elder millenial. They grew up in the Inland Empire of California, and in their adolescence quickly fell in love with life on the coast. Elissa works in retail management where they bring their creativity and passion for team building & shared success. Fueled by Elissa’s interest in mental health, body-liberation, and fostering community, they co-facilitate F*ck Eating Disorders, a pro-recovery group for LGBTQIA+ folks with disordered eating.
Elissa enjoys live music of any genre, journaling (on paper and online) and painting, and spending time with their husband, kids, and animals.
Originally from Southern California, Gary moved to the Central Coast in 2010 after visiting many times and absolutely falling in love with the area. Gary calls Templeton home and loves to explore the area, whether it be hiking, kayaking, or tasting the amazing food, wine and spirits the region has to offer.
Gary has been a professional in the banking industry for 20 + years, his current title being Vice President/Community Banking Manager for Community West Bank in San Luis Obispo. In his free time, Gary enjoys traveling the world with his husband John, spending time with his French bulldog Rhett, cooking fun new recipes, singing on stage in various productions, working out, spending time with loved ones, and adding to his tattoos.
Gary has served on the LGBTQ+ Advisory Council for Twin Cities/Sierra Vista Hospitals assisting in the process of both facilities receiving their “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” Certifications through the Healthcare Equality Index. Gary is extremely excited to join the GALA Board of Directors and looks forward to working toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive world for all.
Arti is a California girl who dreams of snowy East Coast winters. She currently works as a Prevention Educator at a dual Sexual Assault/ Intimate Partner Violence agency. Her work focuses on centering marginalized voices in her community organizing efforts.
Arti holds a Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences and a Bachelors in Psychology. She is passionate about bridging the gap between health care and gender-based violence prevention.
When she’s not working with her youth volunteers, she can be found under her ubiquitous umbrella at the beach, cuddling with her cat, or taking mini road trips with her spouse.
Doug J. Heumann
Douglas J. Heumann is a graduate of the Santa Barbara College of Law and a member of the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Sections of the State Bar of California and San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Bar Associations, as well as, a member of the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association. Mr. Heumann’s practice includes estate planning, probate, conservatorships and LGBT rights.
Mr. Heumann has volunteered with various statewide and local organizations, including the Transgender Law Center’s Leadership Council, Tranz Central Coast Steering Committee, SLO County ACLU, the Growing Together Initiative, and worked with PECG to remove the transgender exclusions from all Cal PERS health care coverage. Presently, he serves as a Governing Board Member of Twin Cities Community Hospital.
Ila is a queer, non-binary Cal Poly student with LGBTQ+ Campus Life. Since fall 2020, they have been working with their campus center in collaboration with GALA. Chairing the 2021 Central Coast Pride committee was the highlight of their experience. Since then, community engagement, education, and visibility have become the focus of his work. They incorporate LGBTQ+ issues into their studies as a Political Science major and minor in City and Regional Planning. Her enduring love for cities inspires her advocacy for equitable access to resources and urban space.
You'll likely find Ila perusing our local [comic]bookstores, or otherwise, rollerblading with fellow skaters and thrifting with their roommates.
Sol is a first-generation Cuban-American currently studying Microbiology. She has worked with disabled seniors for 7 years and moved to SLO in 2017. Sol is a multimedia artist and licensed tattoo artist. Her passion is to continue to empower the community with inclusive advocacy that cultivates a welcoming environment.
Jorge Jimenez has lived on the Central Coast for over 10 years and loves every minute of it.
He lives in the fast lane and never slows down; when he is not at work, he is working on filming, photography, coding, attending events, hosting events, and more.
After returning to help with his high school GSA, Jorge Jimenez has been involved with The Gala Pride and Diversity Center for several years and was particularly involved with the body positive projects including the All Gender Fashion Show and the billboard on Highway 101.
“I cannot wait to get to work making the world a better place for my family, my LGBTQIA+ Family.”
Robert came to Morro Bay to recover from a health crisis, and decided to stay, retiring here almost 7 years ago. He has volunteered part-time at the Morro Bay Community Resources Connections office for the past 5 years and moderates the meetings of EBAC, the Estero Bay Alliance for Care, an organization that is dedicated to community involvement and outreach.
Before retirement, he owned a real estate brokerage in West Hollywood for 10 years and also worked part-time for 25 years as a bartender at the MotherLode, a local gay tavern. He learned jewelry design and manufacture, wrote and published a book about life in LA during the AIDS crisis, and finally opened his own brokerage.
His book, Asphalt Boogie, is a retrospective of his tenure at the tavern.
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 & 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
Provisional statement: The Gala Pride and Diversity Center is located on the land of the yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini – Northern Chumash Tribe of San Luis Obispo County and Region. We are aware that this land was taken from indigenous peoples violently, unceded - without agreement, consideration, or compensation. We are committed to including local indigenous history in our training and we set the intention of relationship with and support of local indigenous peoples. Additionally, we acknowledge our responsibility to protect the natural environment.