Pacific Pride Foundation Hosts LGBTQ+ Youth Conference and Prom

Photo: Alex Siegel Photography

Source: Pacific Pride Foundation

Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF) provides programs and services to more than 10,000 people in Santa Barbara County and supports local LGBTQ+ youth with activities and resources year-round. Programs include regular youth group meetings in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, summer leadership opportunities, in-school academic and social support, and the annual Youth Connect Conference and PROUD Prom.

In its fifth year, Pacific Pride Foundation’s Youth Connect Conference and PROUD Prom was made possible by Deckers Brands and hosted more than 200 youth from the Central and South coasts at their world headquarters in Goleta on Saturday, April 14.

The Youth Connect Conference included speakers from Fighting Back in Santa Maria, Stephen Coyne from Deckers Brands, Shadille Estepan from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and Sina Grace, writer of Marvel’s Iceman comic series. Youth were led in interactive workshops about resilience and managing negative emotions as well as how to prioritize their creative endeavors after high school and navigate the professional landscape while finding a career they love.

Sina Grace

Following the conference, teens were provided with dinner, makeup booths, and free UGG slippers before watching drag performances, taking pictures in front of UGG photo backdrops, and having a “dance-off” orchestrated by LA’s DJ Young 1.

“Everything was ultimately amazing and blew me away. The rainbow decorations were awesome, the art activity, in the beginning, was a cool touch. All the staff were supportive and did an outstanding job at putting everything together,” one youth said after the event. “This event helped me reconnect with people that I hadn’t seen in years, meet incredible new people, and feel more fully myself than I have in possibly my entire life.”

Pacific Pride Foundation has offices in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Community members can learn more at

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. Wonderful to see the young actually given a chance to be who they really are and not forced to pretend to live up to the “conventional” expectations of others. Some things have changed for the better in my lifetime and this is one of them.

  2. Pacific Pride seems to be the only agency in the South County that provides positive reassurance for the young LGBT community. Even though it’s 2018, the recent political undertone from the conservative evangelical “christians” is a threat that is very real. Hang in there, Pacific Pride. And thanks for the great things you do.

  3. I don’t understand the use of the word “pride” in the name. “Pride” means a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements. In this case, there is no personal achievement, just being who you were born as. Perhaps someone can explain the use of “pride.”

  4. Please allow me to relate my personal view of “Pride”. In 1980, when I attained the legal age to enter a bar, the bar I entered was called “The Pub”, on Helena St.(that and Trackside were the only gay or gay/lesbian friendly bars back then). I was so scared! So unsure of everything and woefully ignorant. There was no Pacific Pride or anything like it, that could have prepared me and eased my fear. There was also no internet, I lived alone on an isolated island and understood not my own existence. While there was progress in big cities like SF and LA, our little SB remained, in this sense, an isolated backwater. I was young, blond, cute and oh so naive, and so was taken advantage of. I am so glad that today there are resources for the young LGBT. Being gay is still not easy, and unfortunately suicide comes to mind. I am so glad I did not take that route and that there is support for youth today. Pride = not committing suicide as a young person. Think about what Pride might mean to a youth in such a position. Thank you.

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