This afternoon, a group of two dozen LGBT singles gathered on the grand slope of Dolores Park.
This afternoon, a group of two dozen LGBT singles gathered on the grand slope of Dolores Park. Photo by Yujie Zhou

During the month of June, Mission Local will be covering Pride events, big and small

This afternoon, a group of two dozen LGBT singles gathered on the grand slope of Dolores Park. From the way they were talking and laughing, you’d think they were old friends, but in fact, most of them had only met today.

“I went through a breakup in January. I didn’t want to spend my birthday alone,” said Alexandra Coffin, who turned 29 two days ago and was the organizer of the birthday party of mostly strangers and advertised as an event on Manny’s Cafe listings. “I thought about all the other people who want to flirt and hook up and stuff. So I decided to throw a singles mixer.”

“Witches and Yeehaw” is one of many events being held around the city in the lead-up to Pride weekend on June 25 and 26. “Both being a cowboy and being a witch are very close to my heart,” said Coffin, who grew up on a ranch and identifies as nonbinary.

As Coffin had expected, their shared identity made the group of strangers instantly comfortable with each other. The group sat in a circle, which was constantly growing as more latecomers joined. Opposite Coffin, Chris Pitterle, a young man in a black T-shirt, led a game similar to “Never have I ever.” He had never met Coffin.
“The last three hours, I’ve just been getting to know people. I have no idea who any of them are. And this just feels right,” said Pitterle, 22, a “baby queer” who always thought of himself as being that “one straight friend” until he found himself in a gay bar this January. Photo by Yujie Zhou.
Burger was not alone. On the far side of the circle, beyond the Tarot cards and beer cans scattered on the grass, Emily, a 38-year-old trans woman, also expressed her hopes for the Pride month. “We just need to have more awareness, because there’s a lot of stuff going on in a lot of parts of the country,” she said. Photo by Yujie Zhou

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REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ.

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