Thursday, May 10, 2007

A little update on Pride in Seattle...

Seattle hottie Egan Orion, is apparently the only bit of sanity that has been tossed into the mess that is preperations for Seattle's Pride Parade and Festivities. He has agreed to swoop in and save the day so people can get their over-priced beer and free samples of some new gay sunscreen after a nice stroll through downtown with a 6'4" drag queen.

Back in the day, when I was like 19, things were simpler: there was a parade, you went, then hit the park for some fun, a song, some speeches, some eye candy and the obligatory bag of crap like condoms, lube, flyers and magazines you'll never read. It was a simple idea, it was a simple day, and it was always kinda fun. The year before I left town, there began this strange dissent amongst the ranks in the gay ghetto.... it seemed there were suddenly two factions of people who wanted to take the reigns and manage the parade and festival. This seemed like a good thing to me at the time, a sign that people wanted the best parade, and cared so much that they were willing to fight over it. I was actually impressed with the "Community" for once, how wrong I was. The meetings and constant bickering eventually turned into outright hostility and bitching. It was a fight that was embarrassing and actually took time and energy and money (as the support dollars were now spread between two battling groups) away from the ultimate goal: Celebrating who we were, are and will be as a "Community" together. It was a very disappointing parade and festival quickly slapped together with no heart, and extra beer sponsor signs at every turn. It appears that this is still the case today... there are again two factions fighting over the parade and where it will be held. At least this year they've worked together enough to have their parades on seperate days and effectively ignore eachother.

Both sides pose an interesting agenda this year, breaking with the typical battle that's been waged for the past several years. The question this year raises is do the people of Seattle want their Gay Pride Parade nestled in the cute little gay ghetto of Capitol Hill, or Downtown in the heart of the city making a stronger statement that "here we are, and we will celebrate wherever and however we want." It's an interesting dilemma for me... If I still lived there it would be hard for me to decide which statement was more important, and frankly which version would be more fun. I have great memories from the times up on Capitol Hill and walking en masse to Volunteer park to sit in the sun and celebrate. I would be very interested to see how it would feel to be downtown for Pride. It would seem more akin to SF Pride which is in the heart of the city and for one day each year actually takes the boys and girls out of the Castro and drops them in the middle of it all. This could be a really good idea for Seattle's homos. The bars need not worry that they wouldn't rush back to the hill once night falls, we all know they'd be like moths to a flame.

Up until last Friday there was still no solution, so both sides are moving forward with their parades on their seperate days, but there still had remained the issue of festivities after the fact. In walked Egan Orion... (Did I mention he's cute? He's pictured above) The parade last year WAS held downtown to much success and popularity with the people of seattle, the only issue being a $100,000 left over debt to the Seattle Center after the festival and parade were finished. That debt nearly crippled the organization "Out and Proud." That debt is why there was, then was not, then was again, and not again plans for a Festival at the Seattle Center this year after the downtown march. Egan has taken it upon himself, along with a few cohorts, to plan and execute a smaller version of last years festival and thankfully give the people of seattle a place to march to. Egan has money, business experience, and promotion experience, showing that he is probably the safest and sanest person to be taking the wheel here. For example: It's never a happy idea when someone who works at a bookstore by day, tried to start a headshop one time...kinda, and knows how to throw a party at home thinks they can throw a big scale event like Pride. That of course is a gross over-generalization of those affiliated with the planning of Seattle Pride, but you get my point.

Thank you Egan, for lending some know how, some clarity, some dough, and some hottness to the mix. You may be the man that saved Pride for Seattle. Well, that is of course until next year when perhaps a thrid faction run by animals will want to take over the parade. Thanks also go out to the other faction: the Capitol Hill LGBT Community Center who are holding onto the past a little too hard, but their heart is in the right place. I'd go to your parade that Saturday if I was in town, but Sundays Parade might actually mean more when it comes to being "Out and Proud" ... oh wait that's actually the organization's name who's hosting that parade... see my point? Eventually you all need to decide whether you want to stay in that small corner where the people of Seattle will "let" you hold hands, or whether you want to bust out and make that city yours. The statement on that one day may actually have farther reaching effects than you know.

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