CoastPride, a nonprofit designed to uplift the Coastside LGBTQ+ community and allies, has announced the establishment of a new community center on 711 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. The two-story building will be redesigned to accommodate CoastPride services and meetings, as well as to serve as a visible symbol of LGBTQ+ pride. Organization leaders aim to complete the project by June, which is also LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
“Being able to provide our youth with a space that is consistent and safe, that makes them feel comfortable about their lives and what issues they might be having, that is important,” said board member David Oliphant.
This will be the first LBGTQ+ center to exist on the coast, and CoastPride sees the establishment of their new center on Main Street as a sign of how far the community has come. The project received a grant from the city and funding from private donations.
CoastPride leaders say they have already received a warm welcome from neighbors asking how to get involved.
“It’s opened the door for all of these people to find each other,” said CoastPride Chair Jeanne Vargas, who started the organization with her grandson, Will, a few years ago. They had initially used her yoga studio as a group meeting place, and Will, a junior at Half Moon Bay High School, is excited to have a larger, more organized space to meet with more kids like himself.
“I’m so grateful for what she’s done for me because it’s helped me through so much, and I bet so many other people feel the same way, too,” said Will Vargas.
The community center will host drop-in support groups, educational events for families with LGBTQ+ children and get-togethers for queer youth and allies. CoastPride also plans to lease out space to therapists who align with their values. They invite the community to come visit the space when it is finished. Events can be found at the organization’s website, at coastpride.org.
“Everybody knows someone who is LGBTQ,” said Jeanne Vargas. “Come and see what’s happening — everybody’s welcome.”