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Seattle divided
over gay pride

Seattle divided
over gay pride

Dueling organizations are planning simultaneous gay pride festivities for the same weekend in Seattle.

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.

To accommodate 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 Times.

Longtime gay 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 Advocate)

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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