Like all good ideas, it seems incredible that Queerly Berkeley, a new group that got started earlier this year, hasn’t been around for ages.
The concept was born when a group of gay and lesbian Berkeleyans came together to figure out a way to build community and serve the broader community. According to John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, and one of the founders: “There seemed to be a dearth of opportunities for LGBTQ friends and colleagues to come together for social and non-political purposes. We thought it would be inspiring to gather for a philanthropic purpose, bigger than ourselves.”
The group is throwing its first event on Sunday Oct. 5 — a fundraiser for The Pacific Center on Telegraph Avenue, the oldest LGBTQ center in the Bay Area and third oldest in the U.S.
“The Pacific Center seemed like the natural pick,” Caner said.
Founded in 1973, Pacific Center for Human Growth operates the only sliding scale mental health clinic for LGBTQ people and their families in Alameda County. Pacific Center is almost entirely volunteer-driven, with a supporting crew of six part-time staff members.
Leslie Ewing, The Pacific Center’s Executive Director, and several of the organization’s board members have been part of Queerly Berkeley from the start. “We are delighted to be a part of Queerly Berkeley. 100% of the proceeds from the Oct. 5 event will help fund our direct services, but even more important we look forward to building awareness of our key role in the LGBTQ community,” Ewing said.
Another founder, Judy Appel, a member of the Berkeley Unified School Board and Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, also embraces the idea of Queerly Berkeley. “Queerly Berkeley is an opportunity for the LGBTQA community to come together, have fun, connect with old and new friends, and learn and support the Pacific Center,” she said. “This is a new chance for Queer Berkeleyans to celebrate our rich community.”
Queerly Berkeley welcomes all Queer and Allied folks of all ages from Berkeley, East Bay, and Bay Area who want to build and serve the community. The inaugural event will be held in the Rose Garden back of the Brazil Café, at 1960 University Ave, Sunday Oct. 5 from 3-6pm, and will feature delicious food and wine, beer, and juice drinks as well as live music provided by the Brazil Café. Tickets that can be purchased online, $20 for adults and $10 for student until Sept. 30, and afterwards $30 for adults and $15 for students. The event benefits The Pacific Center. Full details at Queerly Berkeley and on its Facebook event page. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of the Queerly Berkeley event.
For more events in and around Berkeley, check out Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. And submit your own events there — the calendar is free and self-serve.