Photo Credit: TN
My First Pride: Taking B(l)ack Pride In Seattle
My first pride happened: Taking B(l)ack Pride in Seattle, Washington. I first started thinking about attending Seattle Pride when I found out I was visiting Washington state around the same time. Since I’d never attended any Pride march, parade or festival, I thought it would be a great experience. As the time drew near, I questioned whether I wanted to go to the event that gathers over 400,000 attendees. It sounded like a lot of people. But, then I found, Taking B(l)ack Pride was hosting Seachella the day before the Seattle Pride parade. Its mission is to, “create a Pride space for BIPOC Trans & Queer folks in Seattle & surrounding areas.” I packed a bag and headed to Seattle Pride, with the first stop being Taking B(l)ack Pride.
I took Amtrak from the Olympia area right into the heart of downtown Seattle. From there it was a quick walk to the Motif Hotel. Guests were welcomed with a rainbow-decorated selfie area and friendly receptionists with rainbow face paint. The hotel also has a rooftop restaurant, Frolik Kitchen+Cocktails, with a weekly drag brunch during the month of June. The room overlooked the city and I could see all the way down to Pike Place Market and even beyond to the water.
The bags quickly dropped off in the room, some lashes and lipstick applied and I immediately headed over to Seachella, presented by Taking B(l)ack Pride. Walking into the Mural Amphitheatre Seattle Center felt like a regular festival crowd. People wearing all kinds of eccentric pieces, scantily clad people and regular folks wearing shorts and t-shirts (like me). I wandered all around, listening to music and taking in the crowd. Some guests sat on the lawn, others were in line for the free food as well as drinks. Black, Indigenous and people of color (and other ethnicities) all gathered together, vibing to Seachella’s beats.
The inclusivity of Seachella was felt deep. The endless smiles anytime someone met my gaze. The creativity put into the fits and makeup. The chill attitude and welcoming attitude of the attendees. It was all of that for me. PPCocaine’s response on Insta explains it the best, “I want to give a special thanks to Seattle’s @takingblackpride. I have never been able to get through a whole stage set because my nerves be crazy, but I was able to finish all my songs. I felt so included and you guys were all singin’ back my lyrics and honestly… Seattle really helped bring me out of my comfort zone in an all-inclusive way, thank you so much! I love you guys!” The event ended almost an hour after it was scheduled to end. People still wanted more.
I came back to the room and fixated on the view of the sunset, taking in what I’d just experienced. I put a little food in my belly and went to bed. Tomorrow was the Seattle Pride parade and there were to be hundreds of thousands in attendance.
Surprisingly, I woke up early the next morning. Indeed, I was excited for the day, but I wanted to explore Seattle some first. It was off to Pike Place Market for some coffee, cookies and cherries. I wandered around for an hour or so, stopping by the water to get a closer look at the cruise ship that I could see from the hotel window.
Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for the Seattle Pride parade. I knew people would be dressed up in all kinds of great costumes. Wispy eyelashes, tons of glitter and sequins and of course, wigs and rainbow everything. Since this was my first Pride, I wanted to dress up a little too. So, I put on rainbow socks. Hopefully, next year I’ll be braver and dress to the nines.
Hitting the streets in my rainbow socks, I stood and watched the parade begin. One thing I noticed pretty quickly was that the attendees were happy. Not drunk. Happy! Different from usual festivals, where there are people drinking everywhere. Both at Seachella and at Seattle Pride, the lack of falling down drunk people was a warm welcome. People were celebrating, but in a different way.
Flashy floats passed by with people from all over Seattle’s LGBTQIA+ community riding atop waving as they passed. Bands played. Cheerleaders did stunts. The crowd supported each float every step of the way. The amount of people cheering in the crowd felt louder than any concert or sporting event I’ve ever attended. The emotion behind their cheers was something special.
Hyping up people in parades is my specialty. Because of this, I thought I’d be whooping and cheering for each float as it passed by, waving wildly and whistling loudly. As well as laughing and catching souvenirs here and there. With this in mind, I didn’t expect what happened next to happen.
The Seattle Pride parade moved me. Some of the messages purveyed were loud and clear. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court ignited the already united crowd. As the Wear Green For Abortion protestors marched by, the crowd joined in: “We won’t go back, we won’t go back!” The words still continue to chant in the walls of my mind. I found myself tearing up while cheering; my voice cracking with emotion. The sound of the cheers sent chills up my spine and through my entire body.
I went back up to the room and felt the introvert kick in. Ready for dinner and a chill night, I ordered in. Thinking about all of the events of the day, I was happy to stay in. Overall, my first Pride was a success. Of course, as many first time Pride attendees, I am already starting to make plans for next year’s Pride. Where should I go?
For more on my experience at Seattle Pride, visit my Instagram highlights at sailing_dipity.