Spirit Spotlight: CHEER San Francisco

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CHEER San Francisco knows that everyone needs a cheerleader. The adult, all-volunteer charitable cheer team uses cheer performances to raise awareness and support for beneficiaries that assist those living with life challenging conditions.  Founded in 1980, CHEER San Francisco is the world’s first LGBTQ-identified cheerleading team and have used their platform to shine a light on and support the LGBTQ+ community.

“Being a part of CHEER San Francisco is a very special and rewarding experience for me because I’m able to carry on the legacy of a few gay men who in 1980 had the brilliant idea to use cheerleading as a means of raising spirits in the LGBTQ community during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.” – Anthony Chavira – Program Director, CHEER San Francisco

Shortly after inception, CHEER San Francisco established themselves as a non-profit organization and began doing work under their non-profit, the CHEER for Life Foundation, which has remained their main focus for philanthropy. Since CHEER for Life was established in 2003, the team has raised and donated over $500,000 for local, national, and international non-profits who provide services to those living with breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life challenging conditions. During the height of the COVID Pandemic, CHEER San Francisco was able to give $60,000 in grants to beneficiaries. CHEER San Francisco is also the first and only partner organization of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, where they’ve shared the stage for performances with LGBA for over 10 years at national and international events.

In addition to CHEER for Life, CHEER San Francisco is a proud founding Member Team of the Pride Cheerleading Association (PCA), which serves to develop, support and unite charitable cheer teams worldwide under the philanthropic mission of supporting the LGBTQ+ community through the power of performance fundraisers. The PCA is also part of an association that sends its member teams to the Gay Games, an international event for charitable cheer teams like CHEER San Francisco, that takes place every four years. CHEER San Francisco is the only team to have participated in all nine Gay Games.

As the world’s first LGBTQ+ identified cheer team, CHEER San Francisco goes all out to share and spread their spirit during Pride Month! The Pride Month celebration usually kicks off in May at Long Beach Pride alongside with the sister teams from the PCA. The team carries on the celebration with a four-weekend marathon of spirited performances in the San Francisco Bay Area, ending with two days filled with performances at San Francisco Pride.

“For me Pride month is a mix of things. It’s acceptance and celebration, a visual reminder of how far we’ve come and how strong we are as a community, while on the other hand being a good reminder of how much more work still needs to be done so that everyone in the LGBTQ+ community can feel as safe, loved and accepted as we do here in San Francisco.” – Anthony Chavira

Over the past three decades, CHEER San Francisco has impacted the lives of thousands worldwide through performance and fundraising and earned themselves an impressive list of notable achievements. Check out a few highlights and view their entire list of accolades here.

  • Performed at The World Champion Golden State Warriors halftime shows for LGBT nights in 2010, 2017 and 2018
  • Named the Official Cheer Team of the City and County of San Francisco
  • Became the first cheer team to advance to the Top 48 on America’s Got Talent in 2010
  • In 2002, became the first American cheerleading team to perform in Singapore
  • Received the first 2 team Gold Medals for Cheerleading in Gay Games history at Gay Games 8 in Cologne, Germany
  • Became the first LGBTQ-identified cheer team to be invited to perform at a US Presidential Inauguration in 1997

CHEER San Francisco has been attending a Varsity Spirit Summer Camp since 2016. We can’t wait to see them again soon!

Interested in learning more or supporting CHEER San Francisco? Visit their website to get started!

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