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Loud and Proud: It’s Pride Month!

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If you’re noticing vivid rainbow apparel and rainbow flags flying throughout Seattle, it’s because we’re in the midst of June, which is synonymous with Pride Month and surrounding summer celebrations. Pride Month is firmly rooted in the history of those minority groups who struggled against prejudice for acceptance of who they were, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA). Today, Pride Month it is often seen as a celebration of diversity while recognizing the contributions the LGBT community have made in the world.

Founding organizers chose June to be Pride month, marking the June 28, 1969 police raid of the New York City gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. As patrons were forcibly removed from the bar, others resisted arrest and bystanders threw bottles and coins at police. Riots broke out for three days, sparked by a frustrated gay community. Post event, a number of organizations emerged, including the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, calling for change and equality. The nation's first Gay Pride marches began a year following the Stonewall incident (1970), and Seattle wasn’t long to follow suit. From June 24-30, 1974, Seattle's lesbians and gays celebrated the city's first Gay Pride Week. That same week, the Gay Community Center at 1726 16th Avenue E opened its doors.

Seattle has a large, vocal LGBT population, which is why Pride Month is so prominent and recognized in the region. Although the U.S. census does not track LGBT data, Gallup did a few years ago. Gallup Daily poll tracking from 2015, which asked the question “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?” put Seattle as having the fifth largest percentage of LGBT people (4.8%, tied with Boston).

 

As for the rainbow flags seen about town: It originated in 1978, when San Francisco’s openly gay city supervisor, Harvey Milk, commissioned artist Gilbert Baker-- to create a flag for that city's upcoming Pride celebrations. Baker drew from the rainbow to reflect the diversity of the many groups within the gay community.

One does not need to be LGBT to participate in Pride events; allies from outside the LGBT community are welcome to parades and other opportunities to show support, seek education, observe, and listen. The most prominent event in town will take place Sunday, June 24, 11 a.m.:  The 44th annual Seattle Pride Parade along Fourth Avenue in Downtown Seattle (starting at Union). The parade will last about 2.5 hours, ending at Second Avenue and Denny Way near Seattle Center.

From now through June 24, multiple Pride opportunities, from town hall-style lectures, memoir readings, marches, and revelry around Seattle can be found on the events link at Seattle Pride. Don’t miss a chance to celebrate Pride!