LYRIC planning inaugural 'Pride Pour' event

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday May 24, 2023
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LYRIC Executive Director Laura Lala-Chávez. Photo: Courtesy Laura Lala-Chávez
LYRIC Executive Director Laura Lala-Chávez. Photo: Courtesy Laura Lala-Chávez

LYRIC, the queer youth organization in San Francisco's LGBTQ Castro neighborhood, is planning its inaugural "Pride Pour" benefit and organizers hope that people turn out to support the nonprofit.

The event, consisting of small bites and wines from 30-plus wineries, is set for Saturday, June 10, at Pier 27.

Laura Lala-Chávez, LYRIC's executive director and a San Francisco Pride community grand marshal, told the Bay Area Reporter in a recent Zoom call that the benefit is the organization's first what they termed "elevated fund-raising event." In years past, LYRIC, short for Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, had an annual open house that served as a more informal fundraiser.

Lala-Chávez, a nonbinary, first-generation Mexican American, officially took over leadership of LYRIC in the fall of 2021. Since then, they have weathered some financial struggles at the agency and the pivoting to online services during the COVID pandemic. LYRIC had planned the Pride Pour for last June, but a series of bomb threats last spring, as the B.A.R. reported at the time, forced the postponement of the event, they said.

"We experienced those bomb threats last year and out of an abundance of caution [decided] we couldn't have a public-facing event at that time," Lala-Chávez said.

For this year, LYRIC has created a safety plan for the fundraiser, they said.

In spite of the threats and ongoing concern over the COVID pandemic, Lala-Chávez said LYRIC has remained open and serving queer youth; LYRIC operates on a budget of about $3 million.

Two youth will share their stories at the fundraiser, Lala-Chávez said. Additionally, they explained that the bans on gender-affirming care in states across the country provide an important reason for supporters of trans and gender-nonconforming youth to come together to help the agency.

"It's really important to uplift queer and trans youth," Lala-Chávez said.

One LYRIC youth, who only wanted to be identified by their first name, stated that the organization has been essential to them in an email forwarded by Lala-Chávez.

"LYRIC has been a consistent and gentle space for me in my youth and transition to adulthood, for me to practice and cultivate skills and relationships," wrote Leif, 22, who has been coming to LYRIC for six years. "Their programs have been full of amazing people and have been able to provide me with financial stability in the city I grew up in. I was able to give more to my community because there was a sustainable exchange and support in all ways. LYRIC helped me get access to gender-affirming care, mental health services, friends and purpose."

Another program participant who was formerly unhoused now lives in a studio, according to LYRIC staff. That person, who identified only as Sandy, also praised the agency.

"Not only did I find my tribe at Lyric, I also found my potential to shine and grow in all ways so that I could be the best version of who I truly am," Sandy wrote in an email. "I found my potential to be happy, safe, and successful with the most supportive people possible. Thank you, LYRIC!"

The Pride Pour will include a short program. Honey Mahogany, a queer trans person who's chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and district director for Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), will be the event's emcee and gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will attend, Lala-Chávez noted.

Mahogany did not respond to a request for comment.

In a text message, Mandelman wrote, "I'm happy, of course, to support one of our community's essential organizations doing great work with and for queer youth."

Lala-Chávez said that they were honored to be selected as a SF Pride community grand marshal and that the LYRIC contingent would be behind them in the June 25 parade.

Construction is underway at LYRIC's purple house in the Castro, where a former garage has been removed. Photo: Courtesy LYRIC  

For the past few years, as the B.A.R. has reported, LYRIC has been in the midst of a construction project to improve its offices, located in the widely-known "purple house" on Collingwood Street in the Castro. Lala-Chávez said that the organization has temporarily relocated to two Castro storefronts now that work has started.

Lala-Chávez said that a garage in back of the property that had been used for storage has been removed for a new structure. A reception area will also be created, something Lala-Chávez said the house never had.

LYRIC now operates temporarily out of two locations. One is the old Daddy's Barbershop at 4012 19th Street, the other is the space at 566 Castro Street next to Fable, said Lala-Chávez.

"We're still very much in the Castro," they said. "Young people are coming in."

For more information about LYRIC, go to The June 10 Pride Pour takes place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $175 and can be purchased here.

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