About the Gala Pride & Diversity Center

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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.

Values

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.

Authentic Boldness

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.

Community Empowerment

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.

Intersectional Justice

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

Corporate Information

Select each link below to view important information about the Gala Pride and Diversity Center.

 

Financial Information

Transparency is paramount for any non-profit organization.

 

Introducing:

The Gala Pride and Diversity Center Staff

Michelle Call

She/her/hers

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

Serrina Ruggles

They/them | she/her

Center Coordinator | 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.

Gala Pride and Diversity Center

Board of Directors

Doug J. Heumann

He/Him/His

President

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. 

Arti Kothari

She/Her/Hers

Secretary

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.

Samuel Neil Byrd

Any Pronouns

Vice President

Samuel is a Gender & Sexuality educator, consultant, and national board-certified psychotherapist originally from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. As 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 worked to expand access to public education, supporting students mental health and wellbeing, and dismantle systems of oppression through social justice education and community activism.

Samuel has served as a public school teacher, college lecturer, college counselor, interfaith chaplain, drag performer, and community activist. Their current research is focused at the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and religion with an emphasis on Queer, Womxnist, and Postcolonial Theology. Samuel currently coordinates LGBTQ Campus Life and Interfaith Initiatives at Cal Poly, serves as a trustee in the Episcopal Church, and is active in local, regional, and national community and non-profit organizations advancing public policy and resources that benefit underrepresented communities.

Katherine Soule

She/Her/Hers

Treasurer

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 Pride and Diversity Center Board of Directors.

Rusty Cook

He/Him/His

Rusty has seen the changes in the LGBT+ community over the last several decades and looks forward to the continued growth in the community. 
Rusty came from a time when being LGBT+ was illegal and thought he would never live to see Marriage Equality, but he has. He is so excited about what the future holds for us as a community and as individuals and he looks forward to being a part of the change.

Elissa DeHart

They/Them

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.

Roxy Rini

She/Her/Hers

Roxy has been living in various cities throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County all her life and is a graduate of Cal Poly. Roxy has been working for the same advertising agency for almost 20 years and loves her job; excelling in her positive attitude and productive relationships with her media partners and co-workers. Roxy will bring her commitment, dedication, and positive attitude to the Gala Pride and Diversity Center Board of Directors and to the LGBTQIA+ community.

While away from work she loves to spend time with her family, has an obsession with succulents, and has rekindled her interest in photography.

Sol Valdes

She/Her/Hers

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

He/Him/ They/Them

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.” 

William Tomasini Scholarship

William Tomasini

William Tomasini

Former President

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

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.