The Welcoming Project

The Sunshine Coast is a wonderful getaway destination for everyone. Offering a distinctive location, which though close to Vancouver is a world away. A peaceful haven of rural coastal charm, yet full of a wide range of activities including a host of recreation and arts and culture opportunities. An ideal blend of old and new, innovative and yet still with that small town vibe.

Pride Paddle 2012 with Talaysay Tours
2012 Pride Paddle with Candace Campo and Talaysay Tours, a Shishalh outdoor adventure company.

What makes the Sunshine Coast particularly inviting for GLBT folk is its delightful social fabric, created with a tradition of embracing a very eclectic mix of people. Everyone can feel welcome and relaxed here. Watch out or you might want to move – many have!

There are a wide range of tourist accommodation options available, many of which particularly welcome LGBTQ/Queer folks. Same goes for restaurants and recreation venues. I’m hard-pressed to think of any businesses that aren’t gay and lesbian-friendly.

gay and out sunshine coast bc
Out at the Sechelt Night Market

RESOURCES:

Sunshine Coast Gay & Lesbian Association (Yahoo Group, fairly quiet, mixed)
Sappho’s Circle – Closed mailing list with approximately 110+ members of lesbian/queer women/genderqueer). Inquire for details for how to join.

My Coming Out Story

by Editor/Publisher Laurie McConnell


Laurie McConnell, super-gay
I have lived on the Sunshine Coast for approximately 25 years, and have run Bigpacific.com for 13 years.

Actually, I can’t think of any businesses not gay-friendly that I’ve discovered in my long experience of living and working on the Coast. There may be a few, but I haven’t heard of them (tell me if you find any!).

I came out as a gay woman 10 years ago, and as I am well-known in the community through this site and my volunteer work on various boards and organizations, my coming-out was quite public. To an individual, people in my broad personal and business/community networks were supportive.

After coming out, I met and fell in love with a Vancouver woman and we made a life here, marrying in 2014 after six years together. Unfortunately our marriage recently ended (single!) but while we were together we participated in many community events, whether they are GLBT focused or not. We have attended elementary and high school functions for my two daughters, business award functions, community development meetings, and just plain social gatherings. We are also connected to the local women’s community on the Coast, and I am a member of the Sunshine Coast Gay & Lesbian Association.

While there isn’t a ‘gay area’ on the Sunshine Coast (here on the Lower Coast or in Powell River), all of our collected communities offer GLBT folks the opportunity to enjoy a Sunshine Coast getaway with a small-town flavour, where you can simply be yourselves.

I won’t say there are never any negative remarks or discrimination, but they happen so rarely and are easily so overwhelmed by the kindnesses, inclusiveness and welcome by the community that they have not been a factor in the years I have been running this site.

If you would like more information about visiting our region or moving here as a gay, lesbian, transgendered or queer person or couple, please write me at webmaster@bigpacific.com.