The Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) of the Central Coast kicked off its 10th annual week of pride events last Sunday with an interfaith service celebrating diversity at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Events will take place daily as part of Pride 2006, all leading up to the a RuPaul performance on Sunday, July 9 in Mission Plaza.

The week is designed to raise awareness of the Central Coast’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (GLBTQI) communities, GALA secretary Clayton Marsh said.

“It’s just to let people know that they’re not alone and there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “It’s a time for celebration, not demonstration.”

GALA put on a “Beach Bash and BBQ” at Pismo State Beach to celebrate the Fourth of July, which included snacks, S’mores and a view of the fireworks.

Wednesday’s events consisted of an afternoon art show followed by “Wednesday is a Real Drag,” a drag queen and king show at Downtown Brewing Co., and then dancing at Tortilla Flats.

“Guys and Balls,” a movie about a man who creates an all-gay soccer team to challenge the homophobic team he was thrown off of, will show at the Palm Theatre on tonight at 7 p.m., with a wine reception for ticket holders beginning at 6:30. Big Sky Caf‚ will host an after-movie reception following the showing.

Friday night, from 8 to 10 p.m., Sabrina Matthews, Andre Kelley and Eddie Sarfaty will showcase their comedy skills at Arroyo Grande’s Clark Center in “QUEER – A Gay and Lesbian Comedy Revue,” which will be followed by a reception at Corner View Restaurant and Bar in downtown San Luis Obispo.

A group of professionals will address the public on Saturday at the San Luis Obispo Library from 4 to 6 p.m. to discuss the impact of new laws on domestic partners. A night of dancing at Downtown Brewing Co. will follow, from 7:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., with free country line-dancing lessons.

The week will cap off Sunday with six hours of festivities in Mission Plaza, beginning at noon. Performances will include of Rachael Sage, Jill Knight, RuPaul, and Josh Zuckerman.

Marsh said for the 10th annual Pride Week, GALA is going all out by offering more events and on a larger scale than in previous years.

He hopes that the publicity will bring awareness and lead to understanding throughout the Central Coast area.

Marsh recognized Cal Poly as well as the influx of people into the area as reasons why “things are getting better” for the GLBTQI community. For more information, visit www.slopride.org.

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