Since 2019, CoastPride has sought to connect LGBTQ+ residents by creating and fostering an inclusive community and resource hub. This year, like many Coastside communities, the nonprofit has been curtailed by the pandemic, and in-person gatherings have been limited.
CoastPride originally planned a live fundraiser in November but had to scrap those plans. Instead, its board members opted to run the event remotely. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday, CoastPride will host an online virtual fundraiser featuring speeches from local leadership and youth and musical entertainment. The event is also a final push for CoastPride’s silent auction, which opened on Nov. 22 and closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 7. Donors include the Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Pescadero Essentials, Sacrilege Brewery and more, with a total of 27 local organizations chipping in. To learn more about the nonprofit and the upcoming fundraiser, visit coastpride.org.
The money generated supports a variety of CoastPride initiatives and goals, including its scholarship program, youth and parent or caregiver support and other programs. It will also help with events during Pride and LGBTQ+ history months. Another aspect includes collaborating with Half Moon Bay High School’s student-run Gender and Sexuality Alliance. That involves educating teachers and administrators on LGTBQ+ issues and situations.
“We want to make sure they have the tools to support local youth if someone is struggling with their identity or comes out to them,” said CoastPride board member David Oliphant. “It’s a specific set of tools to handle that appropriately and protect the youth and their privacy.”
Sunday’s hour-long event will be hosted by Oliphant and fellow board member Tristan Rajaratnam. There will be performances from notable Bay Area artists, including Leah Walters, Christopher Childers, Jennifer Grais, Robert Rourke and the all-women group Skip the Needle. But those gathered virtually will also hear firsthand accounts from local LGTBQ+ youth sharing personal stories of their experience coming out, living on the coast, and ideas they have for continuing to grow the community. Along with a sign language interpreter, there will be a licensed counselor on standby to take questions and hear thoughts after the event.
For Oliphant and other CoastPride board members, hearing these messages directly from a younger audience is impactful. They believe it helps convey relatability to other youth, whether they are struggling or want to learn more about CoastPride’s community.
“When you start hearing that message from people who are preteen and teens,” Oliphant said, “that’s really where the power of our work comes from.”