COASTAL QUEER ALLIANCE
Special to the Westerly
Coastal Queer Alliance is a local organization committed to creating representation, resources and collaboration for the queer community within the Pacific Rim region.
We’re in the second season of one of our regular summer programs, Queer Surf, and we’d love to see you at our next one on July 20th! Join us at 5:30 p.m. in front of Surfside Grill at Pacific Sands for a surf or beach hang!
Queer Surf is a monthly meet up hosted in collaboration with Surf Sister and aims to create a welcome, inclusive, and accessible experience for all who wish to attend, with an emphasis on creating queer representation in the water. We know that surfing can be filled with financial, transportation, logistical and social barriers – Queer Surf aims to reduce these barriers by providing up to 30 queer folks with free gear and lessons for the evening, as well as providing free transportation to and from the beach.
Selena Rogalski is one of the founders of Coastal Queers.
“Tofino holds a unique presence within surf culture because of the great work that Surf Sister has done in creating representation of women within the water. The next step, and what we’re trying to accomplish with Queer Surf, is recognizing that there are many gender-diverse folks who still aren’t represented in surfing and may face considerable barriers within the sport. Gendered wetsuits, an absence of role models, and a lack of community are all factors in contributing to under-representation for gender diverse people within surf culture,” they said.
“While sexuality isn’t necessarily a visible barrier for cisgender queer folks in the water, the dichotomy that exists between your identity as a surfer and your identity as a queer person is one that we want to challenge. We want to bridge the gap that exists for many queer surfers where they may feel like they must assimilate to a cisheteronormative culture steeped in toxic masculinity to do well or have success within the surf industry. We are actively working to shift the narrative within surf culture to welcome the expansive, fluid, and diverse lived experiences of everyone who is in the water and to celebrate those identities in a co-creative environment. We always ask for feedback about what we can do better for next time and we really value shaping our programming to reflect the needs of the queer community.”