As Seattle kicks off Pride Weekend for 2016, many of the holiday’s traditional themes of celebration, community, and dancing, have been washed out by a larger tension and concern for safety.
On Thursday night after a well-attended fundraiser concert for the victims of Orlando’s massacre, Seattle resident and gender activist Michael M. Volz was brutally attacked outside the Wildrose bar on the way to their car.
These events continue to escalate even in a neighborhood sanctioned by both the police force and city government as a safe space for the queer community.
“There is no such thing as a safe space for visibly queer and trans folks,” a member of Friday’s Trans* Pride march told me. “Rainbow stickers from the police department don’t change anything.”
They were referencing Seattle’s “safe space” campaign, put in place by the SPD in 2013. Businesses display a rainbow sticker in the front window of their shop to indicate a safe space for LGBTQ victims to hide or call the police. Most recent Capitol Hill hate crimes have occurred within blocks of the busy, central area of the neighborhood, and usually just blocks from a known gay bar.
Children and adults from all over the gender spectrum attended Trans* Pride. At the end of the parade, Cal Anderson Park was pulsing with community outreach, celebration and, of course pride.
Some participants headed home early, scared off by the weather, but a group who came to love, laugh, and be visible remained long after the rain washed out the sound system.