When I read about the rainbow flag burned at Mayor Heidi Harmon’s home I reflected on times past. I’m 67 years old and have been a participant at GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance), San Luis Obispo, on and off, since 1995. Back then, many of us were afraid to be open about our true identities. Many of us hid from our families, friends, churches, and employers in fear of rejection or worse. Many of us had already suffered emotional, if not also physical, harm because we were members of the LGBTQ community. GALA, San Luis Obispo, offered us a place to be. To be real. To be free. To be authentic. To be safe. In many cases GALA offered us a place to be connected and eventually be partnered. Years have passed, however, and the benefits GALA offers are still in place today. GALA is a safe, welcoming, place of community, where we all can just be.
Labels really don’t serve us well, maybe they never did. For sure the LGBTQ acronym does not reflect our dear allies, evolving straight friends, the evolving community of faith, the evolving love of family, friends, and peaceful, respectful people from all cultures.
An art exhibit opens June 12 at GALA titled, “Proud to Be …”. It represents great diversity in media, styles of expression, and in the artists themselves. It represents our ongoing evolution into a kinder and gentler community. GALA brings people together. Please enjoy this exhibit and just be.