Monday, July 18, 2005

Seattleites Fight to Keep Pride in the 'Hood

(Linky-pops to article) Presented with 8,000 names on a petition, mayor realizes it might be rude to move the annual party without first asking the guests.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:


A decision to move the Seattle Pride Festival and Parade from Capitol Hill has been met by an outpouring of opposition from the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

About 60 people showed up last night for the Seattle Pride Committee's monthly meeting -- most of whom made clear their opposition to moving the parade from the neighborhood that has nurtured Seattle's gay community since its infancy. They backed up their words by delivering a petition signed by more than 8,000 people who share their disdain for moving the annual event to downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center.

Pride Committee Chairman Frank Leonzal said before the meeting that while the committee had already voted to move the parade beginning next year, it is possible that the decision could be reconsidered. "I plan on going into this with an open mind to hear what people have to say."

"People are afraid of change," Leonzal said. "And I understand that (Capitol Hill) business owners might be concerned. But the community is far beyond Capitol Hill now. It's Seattle, King County and beyond."

Among the concerned business owners was Carl Medeiros, who set the petition on a table in front of the seven committee members and pronounced himself "very, very, very disappointed. You've never come to us and asked us what we thought about this move."

For Medeiros, who owns two businesses on Capitol Hill, the parade's presence is more about proudly proclaiming the neighborhood as a center of gay life than producing revenue for his stores. "It's not a money-making day for us," he said. "Once a year we put up that gay flag saying we are still gay-owned."

Scott Kesemeier agreed. "I am concerned about keeping this a vibrant business community. If the pride parade were to pull out," it would promote disintegration of Capitol Hill's gay businesses.

But Mikel Moss, who moved to Seattle from New York state a couple years ago, sees no reason to be bound by tradition when "gay people live everywhere in Seattle."

The committee distributed a fact sheet that listed reasons for the move, including: providing a bigger venue to promote freedom of speech and civil rights for all people and providing more space for an event that has congested Capitol Hill.