The city of
Seattle will see two separate gay pride celebrations this
year as two dueling organizations plan simultaneous pride
festivities for the same weekend of June 23-25.
One event will take place in Capitol Hill, where pride
has been celebrated for 31 years. Now another event
will take place at Seattle Center and downtown.
According to a
report in the Seattle Times, the split has divided many in the gay community
during a time traditionally marked by celebration. For 31
years Seattle Out and Proud, which recently changed
its name from the Seattle Pride Committee, had
produced the popular Broadway parade and accompanying
festivities in Volunteer Park. Last year the group announced
it would move this year's parade to Fourth Avenue
downtown and the accompanying festivities to the much
bigger Seattle Center.
According to the Times, organizers said the festival had outgrown
Capitol Hill. But the venue change outraged many longtime
festival supporters, particularly Capitol Hill
businesses that depended on a weekend-long surge in
business. Some contrasted the neighborly atmosphere of
Capitol Hill, the heart of the area's gay community, to the
sterile, touristy nature of Seattle Center.
those who want festivities to stay on Capitol Hill, the
Capitol Hill-based Seattle LGBT Community Center has
planned a series of events, including a march along
the traditional route on Broadway.
"This thing is
dividing the community; it really is," Nick Lovelace,
the reigning Mr. Gay Seattle and a volunteer coordinator for
a gay rights activist group called ActionNW, told the
rights activist Bill Dubay said he supports and will
participate in both the downtown and Capitol Hill festivals:
"The last thing we need to do when we're circling the
wagons is to point the guns inward." (The