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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Seattle celebrates unity and inclusivity at 44th annual Pride Parade

By Emily Porter

On Sunday, June 24, thousands of people joined together for Seattle’s 44th annual pride festival in celebration of pride month.

The Seattle Pride Parade began at 11 a.m on Union Street and traveled north along 4th Avenue to Second Avenue and Denny Way. The parade featured organizations, companies, nonprofits, businesses, volunteers and more,  all marching in the parade to show their contribution to pride month. The parade continued for approximately four hours.

Crowds gathered on the streets of Seattle to watch the Pride Parade. Some watched from hotel decks, others in restaurants, though most spectators sat along sidewalks to witness the parade unfold. There were trucks covered in rainbows and police cars with ‘Seattle Police’ written in rainbow colors. Two women, a police officer and her partner, walked through the parade holding hands.

The parade led to the Seattle Center where PrideFest took place. With concerts, food venues, activities, and dancing, anyone was welcome to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Performances included drag shows, go-go boys and guest performers. The stage across from the International Fountain held drag performances and dancing competitions. One drag queen performed to Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry,” and the crowd went wild when she began throwing articles of clothing toward the crowd.

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The parade started at Unity Street and finished at the Seattle Center PrideFest. // Photo by Emily Porter

These celebrations are meant to create unity, honor diversity and achieve equal human rights throughout the region and world, according to Seattle Pride.

University of British Columbia student Charles Shafer, 20, said one reason he attends pride is because he does not have to filter himself. Shafer said pride is his sanctuary and he loves “not having to think about changing pronouns if you’re talking to someone and not having to edit your personality.”

Seattle Pride is a safe place for anyone because the event seeks to respect human rights and dignity. Individuals can express themselves for who they are physically, mentally and emotionally without fear of judgment. At pride, expressing oneself is encouraged. Left and right there are men dressed in drag with huge puffy wigs, stilettos and strategically done makeup.

For some people, pride means safety and inclusion. Pride month is an opportunity for everyone to feel safe to express themselves. Megs Cambra, a Seattle Pride attendee, said pride eases her stress and that she enjoys being around people who may understand her. 

“This is the time where you cannot be nervous and be surrounded by people who are maybe in the same position as you, or just want to have a good time,” Cambra said.

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PrideFest entertainment included drag performances, go-go boys and guest performers. // Photo by Emily Porter

Pride is also a safe place for people who may feel alone in the communities they live in. For Natalie Miller, an active participant in the LGBTQ+ community from Covington, Washington, pride is where she can be herself and express who she is to others.

She said pride is about “showing off your gayness and being proud of who you are and not afraid to show it.” 

Seattle Pride has come to a conclusion. However, Cambra said Seattle’s pride will always live on and thrive.

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