June 2018 | FREE The Official Seattle Pride Guide
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Table of Contents Official Seattle Pride Guide 2018 SEATTLE PRIDE ORGANIZATION Kevin Toovey President and Chairman of the Board
David Hale Vice President and Director of Sponsorship Christine Lyon Treasurer and Director Alex Abbott Secretary and Director of Communications Editor-in-Chief, Seattle Pride Guide Melissa Celia Garcia Director of Outreach Directors at Large Stephanie Bailey, Jeff Cornejo, Julia Lacey, Christopher Nichols, Dr. Kevin Wang PUBLICATION CREDITS Teresa Griswold Project Manager, Design & Copy Editor Encore Media Group Publication Layout and Production Advertising Sales Northwest Polite Society Sponsorship Sales Nate Gowdy Photographer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alex Abbott, Jeff Cornejo, Anjilee Dodge, Melissa Celia Garcia, Teresa Griswold, Seth Parent, Dr. Kevin Wang
About the Cover Artist and the Art: My name is Angelina Villalobos. My art superhero name is 179. I’m a Seattle born art activist, and I partner with communities connecting art with action. My work strives to engage viewers to partake in their environment through observation and participation. I believe community engagement is vital to successful art planning and that art should be accessible to all.
Back Row, Left to Right: Dr. Kevin Wang, Jeff Cornejo, Christine Lyon, Christopher Nichols, Alex Abbott, Melissa Garcia, Julia Lacey, David Hale. Front Row, Seated, Left to Right: Kevin Toovey, Stephanie Bailey
This year’s art highlights the theme Pride Beyond Borders. Titled Under the Sun, it celebrates the vibrancy of all our backgrounds. I believe for us to love and appreciate what is unique to ourselves we must see the same in each other. I chose to highlight aspects of my life and art background that pay tribute to the artist I am today. Brightly colored patterns reminiscent of the Mexican textiles I grew up with adorn the sun and elements of a crescent moon. The open hands and leaves signify growth and progression.
TABLE OF CONTENTS THE PARADE
Welcome from Seattle Pride............................................................................................. 6 Welcome from Mayor Jenny A. Durkan........................................................................... 8 Welcome from Governor Jay Inslee............................................................................... 10 Grand Marshals.............................................................................................................. 11 Parade Announcers........................................................................................................ 14
SEATTLE PRIDE DIRECTORY
Volunteer Park Pride Festival.......................................................................................... 40 Paul Heppner President Mike Hathaway Vice President Kajsa Puckett Vice President, Marketing & Business Development Genay Genereux Accounting & Office Manager
Parade Route Map.......................................................................................................... 41 We Are Pride Sponsors................................................................................................... 42 Event Listings................................................................................................................. 43
PRIDE BEYOND BORDERS
Community Leader Spotlight: Zachary DeWolf.............................................................. 16 Community Leader Spotlight: Mariajose (Mose) Barrera............................................... 18
Brianna Bright, Joey Chapman, Ann Manning Account Executives
Generations of Transition............................................................................................... 22
Carol Yip Sales Coordinator
The Honest Truth of Sexual Violence and Exploitation in the LGBTQIA Community....................................................................................... 28
Ciara Caya Customer Service Representative & Administrative Assistant Susan Peterson Design and Production Director
Community Leader Spotlight: Megan Murphy............................................................... 32 What to do About HIV Stigma: Inform, Include, Protect and Empower........................ 36 Poetry: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou............................................................................... 39
Shaun Swick Pride Guide Design and Production Lead
Community Leader Spotlight: David Inwards-Breland, MD........................................... 60
Ana Alvira, Robin Kessler, Stevie Van Bronkhorst Design and Production Artists
Community Leader Spotlight: Simon Ellis...................................................................... 62
Encore Media Group 425 North 85th Street Seattle, WA 98103
The Trump Administration’s Version of “Civil Rights” – Protecting Doctors Who Discriminate........................................................................ 64
p 206.443.0445 | f 206.443.1246 email@example.com 800.308.2898 x105 encoremediagroup.com © Seattle Pride™ 2018
In Defense of Sanctuary Cities (An LGBTQIA+ Perspective).......................................... 69 Namasgay: A New Community of Mindfulness Emerges............................................... 72
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Welcome To my vibrant, powerful, resilient community: I’m thrilled to present to you the fourth edition of the Seattle Pride Guide. We came into 2018 full of a continued uncertainty of the progression of the Trump administration and conservative control of the U.S. government, and how those values would affect our ideals and progress. As expected, it has been another tumultuous year. From Trump’s tweets (and follow-through) regarding banning transgender troops from the U.S. military to the creation of a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (allowing certain protected religious freedoms to healthcare providers), the threats against the LGBTQIA+ community have been forefront and prevalent. Unfortunately, the pressure for our community to remain strong in the face of continued adversity has been global: In February of this year, Bermuda became the first jurisdiction to revoke marriage equality legislation, Chechnya is still denying the existence of gay men in their country (and continuing with concentration camps detaining gay men), and there are still eight countries where the death penalty is considered acceptable legal action for those who are gay. The Human Rights Campaign tracked at least 28 transgender individuals killed in the United States in 2017, and as of this writing there have already been eight more lives of transgender individuals lost in our country. In a nutshell, progress has felt futile in the past year. However, our voices have remained strong, loud, and as proud as ever. In 2017, the LGBTQIA+ community recognized the value in standing indivisible with other marginalized communities, seeing where we are all stronger when we remain united in our missions of equality, and 2018 has been no exception to that concept. The 2018 Seattle Pride theme of Pride Beyond Borders hopes to recognize the value of maintaining that indivisibility, while embracing our diversity. In this year’s edition of the Seattle Pride Guide, I hope you will find value in the representation of some incredible local leaders who embrace and exemplify how powerful and diverse individuals within our community can be. You’ll also read personal stories of transgender individuals describing their processes of receiving medical care, legal perspectives to pending action from the Trump administration, and LGBTQIA+ perspectives of current political hot topics. Though there are countless reasons to remain apprehensive of the political climate and our community’s future, there are just as many reasons to remain proud of the progress we have made. Never a group of individuals ready or willing to back down from the fight for equality, I cannot wait to see where the next year takes us. In love, peace, and motivation to carry us through another incredible Pride season,
Alex Abbott Editor-in-Chief Seattle Pride Guide
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Dear Friends, It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to Seattle’s 44th Annual Pride Parade and the 4th edition of the Seattle Pride Guide! Thinking back to all that has happened since last Pride, it has been a heck of a year. We saw millions of people organize not only in Seattle and the United States, but also across the world! Beginning with the Women’s March in January 2017 to the Equality March last June, we’ve seen people come together to accomplish a common goal. This year, our youth and future leaders organized the powerful March for Our Lives, making a clear statement on gun control and violence in our country, something that impacts all of us. Communities came together to voice solidarity with one another, to resist an administration that threatens the safety and wellbeing of all of us, and to work together to create a bright future for generations to come. This glimmer of hope, change, and action couldn’t come at a better time in our country’s history. This year’s Seattle Pride theme, Pride Beyond Borders, serves to recognize and celebrate our differences and background, to understand and appreciate the intersectionality within our communities, and also to remind us that we must all stand together and support one another. While we acknowledge and celebrate the amazing progress in our history, we must recognize the communities that intersect with the LGBTQIA+ community are still in dire need of support. In the United States, as many as 75,000 Dreamers that benefited from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who identify as LGBTQIA+, could be forced to return to one of 76 countries where being gay is criminalized. In Chechnya, the torture and genocide of the LGBTQIA+ community continues, and in the United States, transgender people of color continue to face disproportionately high rates of violence and murder. We are at a point in our story where the only path forward is together. There is still much work to be done and you are a part of the solution. With love and solidarity,
Kevin Toovey President, Seattle Pride
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March 30, 2018 Hi, I'm Jenny Durkan. I want to welcome all of you to Seattle for our City's 44th Pride Celebration. Here in Seattle, we invent the future. This means we constantly strive to make our City a more equitable and inclusive place, and to turn our progressive values into action. Every year at Pride, we come together to reaffirm those principles – and to honor the past, celebrate the present, and envision a better future. This year's powerful theme, "Pride Beyond Borders," recognizes that our struggle must be for universal equity. Our shared goals are to create unity, honor diversity, and achieve equal human rights throughout our region and the world. We will come together to march at a critical time in our movement for equality. The current administration in the lesser Washington thrives on division. Our strength in coming together is the best antidote to their hate. We must reject their actions, from proposing to keep trans Americans from serving in our military, to repealing worker protections for LGBT employees to establishing bans on immigrants and refugees - many of which are fleeing violence in their home countries. Americans have shown they believe in equality. Over the last year, we've seen a huge groundswell of support for LGBTQIA+ politicians and policymakers. Danica Roem became the first openly transgender state lawmaker in America, beating her conservative opponent in Virginia by a substantial margin; Andrea Jenkins of St. Paul is serving on the City Council as the nation's first openly trans woman of color elected to public office; Lisa Middleton of Palm Springs; Tyler Titus of Erie, Pennsylvania – all elected to show Washington, D.C. that America’s power comes from our diversity. And here in Seattle, I'm honored to serve as the second woman Mayor of Seattle and as the first openly gay woman Mayor in the history of our City. (I am also the first working mom to serve in 92 years!) Together, we are showing that we're stronger when we are all equal, no matter our faith, culture, race, nationality or religion. That pride extends beyond borders. Pride is an opportunity for us to come together to honor our shared history and the fight that generations of LGBTQIA+ people have fought in the name of equality, dignity, and freedom. The Pride March is a reminder of that night at the Stonewall Inn, when a community came together behind Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of color, and collectively said: "Enough." So welcome to Seattle Pride. Thank you for adding your voice to the movement for a more inclusive and equitable future, and for equal rights for all. And remember to have fun! Sincerely,
Jenny A. Durkan Mayor of Seattle
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Grand Marshals Dr. Jen Self - Q-Center, University of Washington Informed by more than two decades of practice as a therapist, consultant, and anti-oppression trainer, Dr. Jen Self re-invented their queer activism through scholarship, program leadership, and teaching at the University of Washington, completing an MSW and a PhD in social welfare and feminist studies. Dr. Self is Director of the Q Center and an affiliate professor at University of Washington with a secret identity of renaissance queer with a kick ass jump shot. They are a fiercely passionate teacher and scholar-activist who links their teaching, practice, research, and service through commitment(s) to queered racial and gender justice and cultural transformation. Leading the Q Center in collaboration with Associate Director Jaimée Marsh, the Q strives to center the experiences and lives of historically marginalized and Black and Brown queer and trans students and drive their work through student leadership cultivation, community building, education, advocacy and policy development, support and celebration, and health and well-being resource and referral. Jen believes that all the great activists and philosophers of our time, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Patricia Hill Collins, Maxine Waters, Pramila Jayapal, and Leslie Feinberg have understood that social and economic justice requires resistance of interlocking systems of oppression and a deep love ethic. Jen has an active mind and aspires to visionary thinking, so they easily lose themself in big thoughts and feelings; they think that we should all look at pictures of space more often to contextualize our existence. Jen believes that love and light are not only the center of the universe but also the core concepts of sociopolitical justice.
Steven Wakefield - Fred Hutch Steven Wakefield, or “Wakefield” as he prefers to be called, is an HIV-negative health care advocate with over 30 years of involvement in projects that increase community participation in HIV prevention research and ethics. Currently, Wakefield is the External Relations Director for Fred Hutch’s HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). He also founded The Legacy Project, HVTN’s program to increase racial and ethnic population involvement in trials. In addition to his role at HVTN, Wakefield currently serves on AVAC: Global HIV Prevention Board. With 35 plus years of non-profit management and public service on Chicago’s Board of Health, global and U.S. advisory groups such as WHO’s UNAIDS, he is excited about this current time for implementation of evidence-based strategies to end the epidemic. In his spare time, Wakefield finds immense joy in the performing arts. The years before moving to Seattle provided Wakefield with an opportunity to work with youth experiencing homelessness. He initially volunteered with Pride Foundation as a scholarship reviewer and as a donor. He notes, “There is nothing more heartwarming or heartbreaking than connecting with LGBTQ persons, strengthened by their struggles to creatively find ways to build useful and generous lives. Stories of their quests for higher education always move me to tears, laughter, hope, and inspiration. The love Pride Foundation shows is always reflected in these exchanges.” Wakefield is now on the Board of Directors of the Pride Foundation.
Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Allami In 2004, Nayyef Hrebid was a U.S. Army interpreter when he met and fell in love with Btoo Allami, an Iraqi soldier. Because being gay is taboo in Iraq, and homosexuality is usually met with stigma and violence, Nayyef could not reveal his feelings. Little did he know that Btoo felt the same. Their love developed in the midst of wartime danger and homophobic threats. In 2015, after eight years of seeking asylum in the United States and living in separate parts of the world, Nayyef and Btoo were married in Seattle. Their journey was chronicled in the 2016 documentary, Out of Iraq: A Love Story, winning two consecutive daytime Emmy Awards. This story makes note of the pressing need for humanitarian aid to refugees worldwide.
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Grand Marshals continued
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The mission of Entre Hermanos is to promote the health and well-being of the Latin Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and questioning community in a culturally appropriate environment through disease prevention, education, support services, advocacy, and community building. Founded in 1992, Entre Hermanos came into being by the initiative of a group of LGBT Latinos/as that saw the need for social, educational, and health support services in their community. By 1993, they were affiliated with POCAAN, a non-profit organization that offers prevention and educational services against HIV/AIDS for people of color. That was also the first year they participated in the Seattle Pride Parade. Toward the end of 2001, they received a charter by the State of Washington to operate as a nonprofit organization, through the corporate status offered by IRS Section 501(C)(3). Since then, they continue to grow and look forward to their 27th year of service to the Latino LGBTQ community.
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POCAAN is committed to: “Promoting Health, Mobilizing Community, and Transforming Lives.” Established in 1987, POCAAN is a multicultural social service agency serving marginalized communities in Seattle and greater King County. For many years their work has been rooted in HIV/AIDS prevention, but it has grown with the understanding that related issues such as substance abuse, incarceration, homelessness, sexually transmitted diseases, racism, sexism and homophobia also contribute to community marginalization and health disparities.
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Parade Announcers Westlake Stage at 4th & Pine Ms. Briq House Ms. Briq House is an advocate of sexual liberation and an experiential instructor of intimacy. Others may know her as a Sex and Body Positive Burlesque Performer, Producer, Emcee, Professional Cuddler, Story Teller, and all-around Bad Ass Bitch. With a smile that lights up a room and an ass that won’t quit, Ms. Briq House offers something for everyone with her sly, seductive, stripteases. This proud size sixteen queen is the Producer of The Sunday Night Shuga Shaq: An All People of Color Burlesque Revue. Aleksa Manila Drug counselor by day, drag diva by night, Aleksa Manila is a celebrated and respected drag personality. Aleksa is a favorite emcee/host, speaker/panelist, performer/model at many events in the region because of her smart and sassy presence onstage and ease of engaging her audience. She is this year’s GSBA Humanitarian Honoree for Community Leadership. Aleksa was Grand Marshal at the 40th Seattle Pride Parade alongside her hero, Mr. George Takei. ilvs strauss ilvs strauss (pronounced Elvis) is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist and theater tech living and making work in Seattle. Her art cuts a wide swath across disciplines, ranging from Dance Narrative performance to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows) to haiku poetry. She also has the distinct honor, for one month out of the year, of portraying one of her best-friends-if-we-existedon-this-planet-at-the-same-time: Jesus Christ, in Homo for the Holidays.
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4th & Bell Stage Al Lyka Al Lykya is Seattle’s dreamy, dimpled drag king stripper and FTM-cee. Utilizing his background in dance, theater and the art of drag, Al Lykya strives to challenge your ideas about gender and stretch your definition of masculinity. The Man with the 10,000 Dollar Chest specializes in drag, boi-lesque, and nerdlesque. Londyn Bradshaw Londyn Bradshaw has been a local performer for the last two and a half years. As 2017’s Miss Gay Seattle, Londyn worked with the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle to raise money for various charities while performing drag. She also hosts “Weird” at the Timbre Room, a show allowing others to step out of the box with “wacky and wild” performances. Londyn is looking forward to bringing her energy to the Seattle Pride Parade as an announcer, getting the audience amped up and proving just how valuable it is to truly express your individuality without judgment. Alyssa Yeoman Alyssa Yeoman’s shockingly kind smile paired with a biting wit and relatable ennui makes an audience fall over in fits of laughter. Alyssa has opened for Amy Miller, Esther Ku, Sara Schaefer and Janelle James and has also performed in Portland’s Midnight Mass, Control Yourself, Minority Retort, NW Black Comedy Festival, Intersections Festival, Bumbershoot and the Seattle International Comedy Competition.
L Corner Stage at 4th & Denny Salvador ‘Ravioli’ Saber Salvador ‘Ravioli’ Saber has been a performer for their entire life, but has been a Drag Queen entertainer for Keith Johnson seven years and a Drag King entertainer for three years. Salvador is a co-host of Kings at Kremwerk, Seattle’s only Drag King review, and also performs live feeds weekly from his page. Thrilled to host the 2018 Seattle Pride Parade as an announcer, Salvador’s main goal is to project the positive message that “All Drag is Valid.” Samuel L. JackYouSon Performing since the ’90s, Samuel L. ‘Stonewall’ JackYouSon made his drag debut in 2013 at “Tuck.” Currently Kingman Creative the host of Kremwerks “Kings,” he has been seen performing at Match Game Rebar, Capitol Hill Pride 2017, and various performances through Seattle’s 2016 Pride Season. He also hosted Seattle’s “Dear White People - A Performance Exploration of Race.” With a belief of using drag as a tool to reach beyond societal limits in redefining images and seeking a greater understanding of community, Samuel brings his advantage of a strong POC point of view to the stage as a reflection of our true diversity.
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COMMUNITY LEADER SPOTLIGHT
Zachary DeWolf Seattle School Board Director, Seattle Public Schools Program Manager, All Home (homelessness organization)
Identity within the LGBTQIA+ community: Queer/Two-Spirit Cis-Man How do you give back and empower your community? Since my time in the Peace Corps (from 2010-2012) and then a tour on the Soulforce Equality Ride in spring of 2012, I made the commitment to move to Seattle and start to develop roots here. Since I moved to Seattle, I’ve continued doing what feels most alive and rewarding for me: service. That has meant being an active volunteer and President of the Capitol Hill Community Council for almost four years, which got me connected to all types of LGBTQ community development and movement support in the last six years. I was one of the original board members to launch the revival of Trans Pride in Seattle, and this has shaped how I see my activism: serving those at the farthest margins in pursuit of centering those most vulnerable in the solution. I give back by being an inclusive and critical voice in the issues that intersect with our lives as LGBTQ people, and it’s meant everything from ensuring we can safely serve in the U.S. Peace Corps (since 2014) and searching and advocating for our first queer woman of color to serve as Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. Why is the work you’re doing important to the community? What do you hope to accomplish with the work you’re doing? The work I’m doing is important because there is an easy phrase I was told during
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my time on the Victory Fund & Institute Board, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!” For me, it has meant when we talk about homelessness and housing, we’re including the voices and experiences of LGBTQ people in order to ensure our homeless response serves everyone with dignity and respect. It has meant that as a Director on the Seattle School Board, that I’m raising the issue of our LGBTQ students in opportunity and achievement to ensure “Identity Safety” and positive educational outcomes. What I hope to accomplish through the work I’m doing is that when we talk about an issue, we are being thoughtful and intentional about centering the voices of LGBTQ folks every time we do so, so as not to make our community more invisible. What propelled you into your line of work? What inspired you to serve in your current role? What inspired me to serve in my current role really came from the fact that LGBTQ students and families in our city still feel invisible and marginalized by our public education system. At its best, our public schools really are meant to be the great equalizers in our democracy. Unfortunately, they often further push out LGBTQ families. I was inspired to be a part of the Seattle Public Schools because as a queer, married man, I want to ensure our schools are welcoming and include LGBTQ students and families and do a great job of sharing our stories and experiences to keep making our schools, and ultimately, our community more whole and enriched.
How do members of the community support your mission? Are there steps the community could be taking to provide more support? Generally, our broader Seattle community supports our hopes of “Identity Safety” and inclusive and welcoming school environments. One valuable way our LGBTQ community could support their neighbors would be to volunteer at your local elementary, middle, or high school. You don’t have to be a parent! We know educational outcomes improve and increase the quality of life not only for that specific school, but improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods when students see themselves in the faces of the adults educating and supporting them at school. LGBTQ folks volunteering means more of our city’s students have role models and relationships with different people than themselves, and the students who identify as LGBTQ are empowered by seeing themselves reflected in the adults who are showing up for them.
“I want to ensure our schools are welcoming and include LGBTQ students and families.”
Pride 2018 We’re so excited to be part of Seattle Pride!
Our employees, friends and family are proud to celebrate our continued commitment to diversity in the workplace and beyond—here in our hometown and across the U.S. and Canada.
Do you see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality for members of your community? Where do you see an obvious need for improvement? How can our political leaders embrace progressive ideals and actions? I do see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality on the broader issues of cultural recognition. Where there is more work needed are the forgotten and invisible places where our LGBTQ community is still fighting for their lives: in housing, in economic security, and in health outcomes, for example. We need to be bolder about elevating these critical stories at the intersection of some of the most important issues our leaders are grappling with. What advice do you have for people who want to organize or become community leaders? Volunteer! Find a place of interest and ask them what they need! Your voice — particularly as a queer person — is invaluable to so many conversations taking place across the city about our future. Don’t just volunteer, though. Learn about the issues that are taking place in your city and ask yourself, whose voice is missing? Oftentimes, it’s the voice of our LGBTQ community that is missing — so get yourself comfortable with the information and the data about how our community is implicated in any issue and then advocate on our behalf.
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COMMUNITY LEADER SPOTLIGHT
Mariajose (Mose) Barrera Owner/General Manager/Founder at Mose Auto
Owner/Founder/Producer at AzuQar! Queer Latinx Dance Night Co-Founder of S.W.A.T. Seattle Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament
Identity within the LGBTQIA+ community:
Why is the work you’re doing important to the community?
Any work that focuses its efforts in the community is important because it brings light into our needs, and it also creates community for people who may feel they don’t have one. Working in our communities amplifies our voices and our visibility as a whole. It gives us purpose and strength.
How do you give back and empower your community? It’s always hard to point out the good you give to the community. My business was started with the idea that I can provide the highest quality of service at a best price, while also providing information and knowledge about their vehicles. I offer classes for 101 maintenance to women and the LGBTQ community. Other than that I also produce events for the LGBTQ community. One of these is AzuQar! Queer Latinx Dance Night that has been held at Re-bar since the fall of 2016, and it’s held every second Friday of the month. My shop also doubles as an event space focused on the LGBTQ community, holding fundraisers, talks, parties and just a space to come together. I am also working on a new event space that will be focused on my community.
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What do you hope to accomplish with the work you’re doing? My work is focused on “the greater good.” Not only for myself and my companies, but also on giving opportunities for people who need a safe place to work, to have work done or to just sit and be themselves. A space where people can thrive as individuals, and find/create a community. What propelled you into your line of work? I was certainly moved by a love for cars, which at the beginning was just a hobby.
Then I saw the lack of tact used to treat women in the automotive industry and then coming out as a lesbian in the community, I saw the need for the LGBTQ community to feel heard and understood with their car repair and or maintenance. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 >
“Working in our communities amplifies our voices and our visibility as a whole. It gives us purpose and strength.”
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What inspired you to serve in your current role?
Who will you lift up?
The inspiration to own my business comes from growing up in an entrepreneurial family and knowing that I had the support of my close friends. Working for corporations was very discouraging when it came to female power roles, and I saw many things that I felt I as a businessperson I could do a lot better to bring people up and remind them of the power they have, harness it and move it forward. How do members of the community support your mission? I am fortunate to have harnessed the support of the community by supporting it. My community shows up to help me in whatever ventures I tackle. When I reach out, I feel a line pulling on the other end. Are there steps the community could be taking to provide more support?
I think that the community has a lot to give, no matter where we come from. The community needs to remember how strong it is, and it also needs to unify itself to become a stronger community together. Do you see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality for members of your community? Yes, though there has been extensive work form previous generations. I think Seattle is ready to tackle the next obstacles that the changing and growing city keeps throwing our way, from housing accessibility to safe spaces to gather and enjoy the company of each other. Where do you see an obvious need for improvement? I feel our community is often divided, and I wish there was a way we could all just sit and talk with each other, be willing to listen to one another, create solutions to the problems that we all face as a community, and support our individual struggles as well. It is a very complex problem which will require complex solutions that we can only find together.
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Leaders need to show up. They need to shut up, and they need to listen. The community at large has many challenges, and not all of us can solve our own
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issues. It takes a village sometimes, and when it takes a village we need strong leaders who understand that they need us as much as we need them. We need positive action from them, and we need them to help us move forward while keeping their ears and eyes wide open for opportunities to bring all parts of our community together to work effectively. What advice do you have for people who want to organize or become community leaders? Find your voice. What do you want to say? Who do you want to say it to? How much are you willing to sacrifice? Being a leader is not easy. People can see through falsehood, and you need to remember that there will be sacrifices made. Surround yourself with people who you are willing to listen to, and ask yourself, “What makes me listen?” Surround yourself with people who have been there and done that. Most importantly, figure out who you don’t want to become. It’s easier to figure that out, than figuring out what you do want to become that can be fluid and it can/will evolve.
To find out more about GSBA, GSBA Scholarship Fund, and how to get involved, visit theGSBA.org
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Generations of Transition by Dr. Kevin Wang
Although trans visibility progressively increases with each passing year, we still need to hear their stories due to continued discrimination, barriers to care, and gaps in awareness. Seattle Pride recently had the opportunity to talk with people of different generations and backgrounds to learn from them. Please note that we obtained permission to publish their information although some names and details were altered. Roland Wolf – A 67-year-old person, assigned male at birth, identifies as gender nonbinary, no pronoun preference, undecided sexual orientation at this time although prefers to call themselves their partner’s husband. Tell us your story “As far back as I can remember, I simply felt different from everyone else and felt out of place. I never participated in, ‘boy’ games and just felt more comfortable with the girls. Not fitting in felt pretty depressing, but for some reason, I just got through it. I knew I had the strength to handle any sort of depression and did the best I could. This sense of not fitting in became more pronounced in high school. I started to do some experimenting at home and would dress up in my mother’s clothing or apply some of her makeup. Mind you, I grew up in a
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pretty conservative household, and we were strongly Catholic and European. My mother caught me and was really upset. I never did it again after that. Interestingly, I had a friend in high school who was gay. He knew there was something different about me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was gay, too, but he just knew I was different, too. After high school, I started college and tried to find any sort of information I could about how I felt. This was in the 1960s, and there wasn’t an internet, Facebook or Twitter. I wanted to answer the questions to ‘what am I,’ ‘what am I feeling?’ I remember reading about people who had surgeries for sex changes and that seemed to be the closest idea to matching what I felt. I just couldn’t access those treatments because I didn’t know who provided that care in my area, and I didn’t have any money. I also didn’t want to see anyone, because I was afraid the doctors would think I’m crazy and start me on medications. So I just kept hiding things. Once I moved out of my parents’ house at age 25, I filled my closet with clothing of both genders. I still felt I had to hide everything, but I would wear women’s undergarments and it would make me feel so much better. I focused on my music and art. These arenas always felt more supportive, and I was able to express myself more in these communities. By now, this was in the 1980s, and I was able to
wear makeup on stage. It felt so freeing. But I still felt pressured to be a straight male and ultimately got married in 1981. We were together for 17 years, had children, but it just never felt right. Ultimately we got a divorce, and I felt this was the time for me to start my transition. I still didn’t know who I could go to for care. At this time, I was introduced to the internet and did additional research. I found online pharmacies that would send me hormones without a prescription. I was so frightened to take these medications without any doctor oversight, but was more afraid of going to a doctor who wouldn’t understand me. But once I started, things started to feel right. I was calmer, more relaxed, and I started to see physical changes in my body. It wasn’t anything too drastic, and they were easy to hide. This was important to me since I worked in construction. Looking back, I remember someone who did transition at work who had a tough time with other employees especially since the construction environment is so masculine. I tried to support her in every way I could, but I never disclosed my gender identity. I think she knew but we never talked about it. But once I retired, I knew this was the time for me to live my authentic self. I threw away all of my masculine clothes and presented myself in my way. I never thought I would meet someone, but was CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 >
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Seattle PRIDE Guideâ&#x20AC;&#x192; 23
introduced to my wife through friends. She lived in Ukraine at the time and we started to talk every day. I flew out there to visit and lived there for two years until we were able to come back to the United States. We didn’t really talk much about my identity in the beginning since I was still learning about it myself at the time. As we grew closer, I eventually told her and we went through counseling together. She’s been so supportive of each step and I feel lucky that I have a wife who wants to walk this journey with me.” Tell us how you found a doctor after years of taking medications on your own. “When I moved back to the United States with my wife, I ended up having a heart attack. My doctors told me the estrogen I was taking contributed to my heart attack, and I was so scared to take it again without a doctor’s supervision. I called everywhere in my area but they weren’t accepting new patients. I was afraid to tell them I was trans and I just felt as if I wasn’t going to find anyone. I kept looking and there was one last doctor who I heard about who sees trans patients. I called the office and they said he wasn’t accepting new patients. I don’t know what it was about the person I spoke with on the phone, but they sounded so accepting. I told them I identify as a trans person and they said that this doctor’s panel is open to the LGBTQ community. I felt as if it was a sign. I’ll admit I was scared for my first appointment. When I got there, the clinic staff was so welcoming and they used appropriate language. Tracie was my first nurse and she made me feel so welcome. I was really scared what the doctor would ask. He was so supportive of the LGBTQ community that I opened up to him immediately. It was so great to have someone who wanted to hear my story. Interestingly, my experience in the hospital after my orchiectomy was sort of mixed. I had a heart attack right after my surgery. I understand that people had to look to make sure the site was healing well but it almost seemed as if people wanted to look mainly because they were interested and intrigued. I just never really knew. But they were all wanting to learn more, and I was happy that they wanted to become more knowledgeable in how to take care of a trans person.” What message do you want out there? “To the younger generation, follow your dreams. It’s not uncommon to feel different whether your LGBTQ or straight.
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Follow the path that is right for you and in an environment that is safe for you. I know it’s easier said than done but block out the voices that will hold you back and seek out those who will support you. We are here to lift you up so that you can live your authentic lives! To my generation, be prepared for some loss. Not everyone will accept you and that was very difficult for me. Come out at your own pace and choose the timeline that is right for you. I know everyone’s circumstances are different but hiding your true self will cause you more harm than good. It’s going to be tough but I can tell you that the good outweighs the bad!” Emelia de Souza – A 68-year-old Hispanic/Latina/Brazilian/Spanish/ Peruvian/Mexican who was assigned male at birth, identifies as female using she/her pronouns and identifies as bisexual and is a disabled American veteran. Tell us your story. “Back in the 1950s/1960s, transgender wasn’t even a word. I never knew exactly what was going on and what I was feeling. I just knew that I was different. When I played with my siblings, I was the mom who just delivered a baby coming home from the hospital. I would act how I felt comfortable but my father would immediately tell me to, ‘quit that queer shit off.’ I was picked on a lot at school and so I had to hide it. I feel that if I had been open at the time, I wouldn’t be alive today. Eventually, I went into the service and it was a great place to hide. Being in the Navy had people think I was very masculine. During my time, I got into a car accident and became disabled. My life felt so different when I was in the Navy, and all my insecurities came back. The thing that
made me feel better was to go to a hotel room, dress how I felt most comfortable (typically feminine clothing), drive around and then purge. Purging is when you take everything you just did and throw away everything to have no evidence of it. I did this for years until I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2010. My diagnosis most likely came from blood transfusions when I had my car accident. At this point, I felt it was time for me to come out. This freedom was short lived as my wife told me that she would divorce me. This resulted in going back in the closet, and I just felt miserable. I knew this couldn’t go on for much longer, and I told my wife that she could either live with a happy Emelia or someone who was depressed, angry and suicidal. At around the same time, I came home after a makeup session forgetting that I had to meet with some construction folks at my home. The construction worker was very polite, respectful and went about his job when I realized I had forgotten to take off my makeup. That’s when I made the decision that I would start my transition. That choice was the wisest decision I ever made. Everyone around me commented on how much happier I was and how they saw such a positive change. People often wondered why I was so angry, and it was because I was denying myself the person I was meant to be. I’m living my life as Emelia and I couldn’t be happier.” You’ve had a number of experiences in the hospital. Can you comment on those experiences? “My diagnosis of hepatitis C led to them finding out I had liver cancer. I then had a liver transplant. I had so many experiences at my hospital system because people felt uncomfortable, consistently CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 >
Brian had his HIV under control with medication. But smoking with HIV caused him to have serious health problems, including a stroke, a blood clot in his lungs and surgery on an artery in his neck. Smoking makes living with HIV much worse. You can quit.
HIV alone didn’t cause the clogged artery in my neck. Smoking with HIV did. Brian, age 45, California
Seattle PRIDE Guide 25
misgendered me, called me by the wrong name and would physically manhandle me when I would try to educate them on working with a trans person. It got to the point where I just didn’t want to get care anymore, but I knew that would put my health at risk. One nurse kept encouraging me to tell a patient advocate, but I never felt comfortable doing so. At another negative experience, that same nurse walked me down to a patient advocate, and it was exactly the push I needed. This was the push that led me to my current work. What ended up happening was the patient advocate connected me with the emergency room director who personally apologized for the care I received. I met with the CEO of the hospital who wanted to work on the care they provide the LGBTQ community. This ultimately led the hospital to work on cultural training where we now have met HRC’s HEI [Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index] for the last four years. The hospital helped to support transgender support groups, and I founded the Gender Alliance North Sound. I wouldn’t be here doing what I do if it wasn’t for the nurse who helped me find my voice.” What message do you want people to hear? “To the younger generation, I want to tell you to never give up! Your voices are so powerful, and we’re seeing evidence of that on all levels. You are creating change, and you’re telling everyone that each person is beautiful and deserves to be loved. I want to tell people my age and in my generation that I know every situation is different. Take advantage of the internet and all the resources that are available even if it’s far away. I live in Port Townsend, and I know what it’s like to not have any local help. I found that help in Seattle and I was able to take what I learned there to bring it back home. There are people out there who you can confide in and support you! I also want to tell people who may not be allies that we are all human. We eat the same food, breathe the same air, drink the same water. I hope that you can find it in your heart to accept that we’re all a part of each other. Respect human life and if we can start there, then we can build connections to understand each other.” Riley “RJ” Gerlach – A 34-year-old trans-masculine person/transmale, assigned female at birth, pansexual with cerebral palsy who uses he/him/ his pronouns.
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Tell us your story. “My gender story is a bit different from most mainly because of my diagnosis of cerebral palsy, which caused me to have a different relationship with and perspective of my physical self. I didn’t realize how I identified — both my gender and sexual orientation — until my mid to late 20s. In my environment, I didn’t even have the language to describe how I felt. Had I known that language, it may have been easier for me to realize the truth about myself. I just knew that I disliked my body, and it wasn’t until after university did I realize that my discomfort, in part, came from my gender dysphoria and identifying as male. To be honest, though, I had an extremely positive coming out experience. I came out to my family in November 2016 and earlier to my close friends, although I’d been exploring and expressing aspects of my gender and sexuality socially with a small group for a few years prior. I delayed my transition mainly because of my own perceived concerns about my medical and social environment. With very few exceptions, I’ve had the best support, and the people closest to me were not very surprised! In fact, my friends and family took it upon themselves to learn more about people who identify as transgender. I was nervous about trying to find a doctor who would help me with my transition. When I moved to Seattle, I thought it would take a lot of work, but it was a lot easier than I thought. I went into my visit expecting a fight but was surprised at how few barriers I had to overcome. It was nice to see a provider who actually listened to what I had to say and work with me throughout the process. My doctor wasn’t just interested in, ‘fixing a problem.’ I quickly started hormones and then had top surgery a lot sooner than I expected.” Tell us about your top surgery. How did it make you feel? “To be honest, I knew I wanted top surgery when I started to develop breasts. For some reason, they just didn’t feel right. I didn’t know why or have the language to explain it. They just didn’t feel a part of me. Then to have my doctor help me get authorized and approved for surgery was so exciting. Now that they’re gone, I’m starting to feel more connected with my body. I know I have a long way to go, but I feel I’m starting to have the body I always envisioned myself to have.”
Tell us more about how cerebral palsy affected your journey. “Having a disability, that by its nature, created a disconnect with my physical body. This played a big part in delaying my exploration and understanding of my sexuality and gender. It felt as if I had a form that would never fully listen to me and function properly. This is why I’ve always seen it from a functional standpoint or as something to be dealt with. I felt I couldn’t even take ownership of it. I also had caretakers to help me on a functional level. I ended up developing habits of disassociation and compartmentalization. This made it hard to feel I had any personal connection with or agency over my body. So I ended up developing the ability to adapt and just do the best I could with what I was given. It wasn’t until I found role models and support in the community that I saw things could be different. That was when I started to really examine my feelings about my gender and sexuality. Speaking of caretakers, I usually had ones who were open minded and accepting although that was not always the case. While no one person was overly offensive, there was always an air of discomfort, awkwardness and disapproval around LGBTQ-related topics. I tended to avoid these topics to prevent conflict. I feel fortunate that this was my experience, since I’ve known people who had caregivers walk out or quit when they found out that they are gender/sexually variant. It makes things extremely challenging when those who are not accepting have a lot of control over one’s life, especially if they are not easily replaced. For many, it can be a safety and health issue. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case for me, and I’ve usually felt safe.” What message do you want people to hear? “I would tell people of all ages and abilities not to be afraid of expressing and exploring their gender, sexuality, or any authentic aspect of themselves as long as they feel safe to do so. If I had known about the resources that are available today, I may have started my transition earlier in life. In the end, only you will know what’s right for you. Take your time, explore who you are, and get comfortable with yourself on all levels. It’s a lifelong journey for anyone, and we all take different paths. The most important part is that you find the best way to become your most authentic self and live the best life, however you define it, that you can.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out, as we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Don’t be afraid to share your experiences and educate others when the need arises. It can range from a very brief discussion to a very personal connection. Everybody’s journey has something to offer and being open about it or just being present and visible can make a huge impact. My path and journey were easier because of those who came before me, those who’ve chosen to be present, and those who were strong advocates. As a result, I had the courage to find my own truth. I will always be grateful for that! I only hope to follow their example and, in some small way, provide the same support and love for others who are struggling to find themselves.” “Alex A.” – A 26-year-old trans male, assigned female at birth, current in a relationship with a cis female, uses he/ him/his pronouns. Tell us your story. “I always knew there was something different about myself. I certainly hated being called beautiful or feminine. In fact, I pretty much hated everything female related. I just never really knew what I felt, and I didn’t have the language to describe my feelings. Everything changed when I met a bunch of trans guys and a trans adolescent. It was as if a lightbulb went off and I could see everything so clearly. I was so scared to say anything to anyone, but the 11-year-old I met was so inspiring that I knew it was time for me to do something about it. When I came out to my parents, my mom wasn’t really surprised. She actually knew when she came out to visit me here in Seattle. My dad doesn’t really talk about it although, interestingly enough, he uses correct pronouns more than my mom. He was pretty upset when I first came out as lesbian prior to my transition. He would get so confrontational with me that I ultimately had to move out of the house. But when I came out as trans, he told me he had a feeling something was going on and that he would love me no matter what because I’m his kid. They’ve been through every step of my journey even when it came to picking my new name. Now during this time, I was also dating a cis female. She came from a pretty conservative and religious family. She was relatively new to the LGBTQ community and was previously in a heterosexual relationship. She was just starting to feel comfortable with being a lesbian, and
OPENS SEPT 14 UNDER THE BIG TOP KING COUNTY’S MARYMOOR PARK
TICK E TS ON SAlE NOw AT
CONTINUED ON PAGE 78 >
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The Honest Truth of Sexual Violence and Exploitation in the LGBTQIA Community by Anjilee Dodge, MSW and Melissa Celia Garcia “You’re too pretty to be gay.” “You just haven’t had the right guy yet. Give me one night with you.” “What a waste.”
the pyramid, their verbal violence can potentially transform into physical violence and exploitation as they begin to feed off the power of oppressing marginalized groups.
ul t De n
Flashing/Exposing Unsolicited dick pics Catcalling Unwanted touch (non-sexual) “Boys will be boys” Rape jokes Locker room banter
Non-consensual photos or video Victim blaming
Revenge porn Coercion Groping Safe word violations
(Covert Condom Removal)
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As sexual harassment and misconduct by men continue to make headlines and bring to light the violence women have been facing for years, the LGBTQIA community continues to face assault, harassment and exploitation at disproportionate rates. Working in social services, we have personally witnessed the impact sexual assault, harassment and exploitation have on young, economically disadvantaged LGBTQIA and POC. For this article we conducted interviews with LGBTQIA survivors of sexual assault and exploitation as well as mental health therapists working with LGBTQIA populations who experience sexual assault, violence and exploitation. In order for us to grasp the complexities of sexual harassment and assault that plague our LGBTQIA community, we must understand that this type of violence exists on a spectrum. Sexual violence begins with attitudes and beliefs about other people rooted in sexism, homophobia, racism and ableism. As the offenders of violence begin to have their beliefs reinforced through normalization of those around them, their beliefs are strengthened, thus moving them up the pyramid of sexual violence and potentially moving them towards explicit violence. Offenders of sexual harassment and violence can simply begin by expressing their beliefs through jokes or cat-calling. As offenders gain reinforcement by peers and those they are surrounded by, they begin to develop a sense of unvalidated entitlement that leads them to believe they are superior to one group of people, inevitably leading to the dehumanization of those they are harassing and assaulting. Dehumanization, objectification and commodification of women and the LGBTQIA community in the media and in mainstream culture, creates a targeted class of people vulnerable to violence and exploitation. As offenders move up
Rape Drugging Molestation Stealthing
“Yeah ... I’m a lesbian too.”
Gang rape Murde Molestati Rape Viole “Stealthin (Covert Condom Dosing Groping T Sexual Coercion violations “Reve Stalking/Following N photos Unsolicite Flashing/Exposing CatVictim blaming Rape jokes “locker room banter” Unequ “Girls should st
Tolerance of the behaviors at the bottom supports or excuses those higher up. To change outcomes, we must change the culture.
If you see something, say something! Start the conversation today. www.11thPrincipleConsent.org
History of Patriarchal Violence We are starting to see the public acknowledge and come to humble terms with the fact that toxic masculinity breeds violence. From gun violence in our schools and communities to sexual assault, rape and harassment, the “Me Too,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “March for our Lives” movements have surfaced the deeply rooted destruction of this patriarchal system. To understand the normalization of sexual assault and harassment today, we can look to America’s history to develop a deeper knowledge of the societal, institutional and systemic roots. In 1662, the Southern Colonies adopted into law the principle of partus sequitur ventrem, by which the children of slave women took the status of their mothers (regardless of paternity). In other words, legalized rape by slave-owning men to enable the reproduction of guaranteed slaves. Taking into account that men have historically been, and currently are, the biggest perpetrators of sexual violence and exploitation and also were at one point in time encouraged to commit such acts — it is no wonder our country is facing an epidemic. Despite great strides toward LGBTQIA and women’s rights in the last 40 years, male dominance is deep seated and continues to marginalize, abuse, and exploit in an insidious way.
Manifestations of Power and Control Today Street harassment and violence against women and the LGBTQIA community act as constant reminders that marginalized communities vulnerable to violence do not have equal access or opportunity to share space. Bryce Bahler, MSW, MSc, CDPT expresses, “Sexual violence is far more about power and privilege than about sex. As a marginalized and often dis-empowered community, we queers can be seen as easy targets for those who feel the need to engage in violence.” Our movements are limited, our access to public space constrained due to the threat of physical violence, sexual assault and harassment. In 2017 alone, there were 118 bias/hate crimes in King County against the LGBT population with Capitol Hill having the highest incidents of hate crimes. Historically, the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle has been known to be the city’s “gayborhood.” Yet as data has proven, it is not a safe space. As Clare Madge (1997) Professor of Human Geography remarks, “It is the actuality of sexual ... attack that warns women ... every day of the bodily violence they may experience if in the ‘wrong space at the wrong time’; this fear is ‘topped up’ on a daily basis by ongoing and pervasive harassment, by an awareness of the unprovoked and arbitrary nature of such attacks and by an appreciation of their long-lasting and traumatic nature” (p. 245). The phrase “stay safe” has been my salutation as a friend leaves a bar or ventures out into the night, especially
on Capitol Hill. Women and LGBTQIA individuals avoid walking alone and are indeed vulnerable to attacks at the hands of men. This pervasive threat of potential violence invades our consciousness and limits our ability to move freely through this world. So much of what we do to stay safe is innate, something we don’t even think about — walking in groups, crossing the street when we see groups of men, holding our keys between our fingers when we are in a dark area or walking alone, being constantly hyper aware and vigilant of our surroundings. We as womxn and those in LGBTQIA community have our minds burdened by the threat of violence, a burden cis men do not carry with them. As Nick Albritton Queer Trans Man and Survivor of Sexual Exploitation remarks, “I think in being a minority, the majority (who has centered their experience as the correct way to be), dehumanizes difference. As a trans person, I have been sexually assaulted by gay cismen trying to determine if I was a ‘boy or girl.’ Crimes like this are the manifestation of patriarchal violence. My body was not real to them until they had gendered it. My humanity was objectionable because I did not fit inside of the classification system they had for understanding my existence. Instead of seeing human beings, our culture has created systems of worth, value, power and rightness. When people see difference, they see less than. So being visibly queer means that your body is not whole or worthy of autonomy. Transwomen of color are especially prone to this violence because they live at the
dangerous intersection of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. The perpetrators of these crimes are almost always cismen. I think this occurs because of the embedded belief that femininity is weak and an object to be consumed.” These instances of interpersonal violence and the awareness of community violence all around us, consumes our ability to move freely in this world. It erodes at our humanity. The sense of fear women, POC and the LGBTQIA community experience impacts our full inclusion in society. As Professor of Geography Hille Koskela (1999) expresses, interpersonal violence inflicted on an individual by one particular man becomes fear of violence from any man. Fearing any man on the street, even unconsciously, turns public space into a male dominated space. Our movements through space are considered free choices, however these ‘choices’ are limited by social power imbalances reinforced through actualized physical/ sexual violence and the fear of potential violence. Homelessness and Disproportionality of Exploitation Among Women and the LGBTQIA+ Community When we look at systemic oppression it is important to understand the disproportionate impacts on those with oppressed identities: poor, young, queer people of color. LGBTQIA+ youth have a higher likelihood of becoming homeless. Whether due to running away from violent or intolerant homes or being CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >
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kicked out due to their gender or sexual identity, LGBTQIA+ youth are made to survive on the streets at higher rates than their heterosexual counterparts (Corliss et al. 2011; Cray, Miller, and Durso 2013). Across different geographic regions estimates of LGBTQIA+ homelessness is between 9 and 50 percent. One study of homeless youth in 2013 estimated that 34 percent were lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and that 6 percent were transgender (Freeman & Hamilton, 2013). Together these writers have worked with unstably housed youth for 10 years combined. It is clear in our clients’ stories that they have endured extensive sexual violence, as children and while on the streets. Sex is used as a commodity to exploit.
62% of Commercially Sexually Exploited youth identified as Homeless/Unstably Housed in King County using data from the Bridge Collaboration.
While a majority of sexually exploited individuals are women and girls, the LGBTQIA+ community is also at a disproportionate risk of being sexually taken advantage of by men. According to a four year longitudinal study surveying 187 homeless young adults, 51.2% identified as LGBTQIA+. Of youth surveyed, they found 31% reported being sexually trafficked. Of those youth, 60.7% identified as LGBTQIA+ (Roe-Sepowitz, D., Bracy, K., Hogan, K. 2017). Many youth and young adults experience violence and discrimination at home, in shelters and on the streets. They turn to trading or selling sex as a means to escape violence and survive. As the Urban Institute’s Locked In report explains, “LGBTQ youth in group care, shelters, and foster homes experience harassment, discomfort, insensitivity, rejection, and feelings of isolation. In fact, some homeless LGBTQ youth report engaging in survival sex to avoid the experience of violence and abuse in homeless shelters and child welfare placements” (Dank, M., Yu, L., Yahner, J., Pelletier, E., Mora, M., Conner, B., 2015 p. 11). Sexual exploitation then opens one up to physical and sexual abuse, harassment and long-term mental health impacts. Mental Health Impacts of Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Exploitation Sexual exploitation happens at the nexus of systemic oppression. Individuals
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who sit at the crossroads of many intersecting marginalized identities are far more at risk of being coerced into selling sex or sexual services to survive. The many survivors we have met all voice the ‘choice’ to sell sex as the only option to stay somewhere safe, to have food to eat, to not be drug sick, to care for their children, or to pay for other necessities Nate Gowdy needed for survival. This lack of choice, especially for the young and vulnerable members of the homeless LGBTQIA community, opens individuals up to a world of trauma and pain they could have no idea would be waiting on the other side. As survivor Nick Albritton remarks, “Exploitation is uprooting to someone’s autonomy, identity, sense of self/safety, and it disrupts their concept of worth. It sends, largely, a message of being unsafe in your own skin.” This erosion of autonomy leads survivors to question their worth and the men exploiting are left in a position where they are not held accountable for their exploitative actions. It is not unknown that sexual assault, violence and exploitation can have both mental and physical effects on survivors. As Emily Gassert, LMHC states, “Intrusive memories, images and dreams of what happened to them can come into their head all the time. They experience high levels of anxiety and endless trauma reminders. It can affect their mood, self worth and ability to identify, cope and tolerate emotions.” Coping behaviors of this trauma can manifest in many ways including rage and anger, drug use to numb, self isolation, self-harm and seeking out other adrenaline producing behaviors that make the survivor feel something other than emotional pain. LGBTQIA youth and women/girls also experience higher rates of incarceration for exhibiting behaviors that are normal responses to trauma such as running away, drug use, or truancy. As we see demonstrated in the article “The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls Story” (2015): “Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender non-conforming (LGBT/GNC) are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Although LGBT/GNC youth comprise only 5 to 7 percent of the general population, they represent 13 to 15 percent of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Recent research by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency
(NCCD) indicates that LGBT/GNC girls, in particular, are involved in the system at an even higher rate: a survey of 1,400 girls across seven jurisdictions found that 40 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system are LGBT/GNC (compared to 14 percent of boys).” This disproportionality should make us question how to best support young LGBTQIA individuals who sit at the crossroads of intersecting oppressions. We know through our on-the-ground work and through extensive research, sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment impacts our mental and physical health and well being. In a 2017 study on 187 homeless youth they compared sexually exploited homeless young adult respondents with the non-sexually exploited homeless young adult respondents, the sexually exploited group was found to be: Nine times more likely to report the selfharm activity of cutting. Six times more likely to have a history of sexual abuse. Six times more likely to have had a mental health problem/diagnosis. Four times more likely to report being addicted to drugs. Four times more likely to have attempted suicide. Four times more likely to have been kicked out of the home because the family did not approve of the respondents’ sexual orientation. Two times more likely to be LGBTQ. (RoeSepowitz, D., Bracy, K., Hogan, K. 2017) Sexual exploitation and abuse is widespread within LGBTQIA homeless youth. This exploitation is preventable and through male accountability and community efforts to acknowledge the harms the most marginalized in our community face,
we can work toward a solution. We know there is harm. We know who is being impacted. So now we are led to ask, what do we do? How do we shift the tides to stop harassment, exploitation and abuse? How do we as a community take accountability for the harm? As you ask yourself these questions and more, we challenge you to look at mainstream media, to look how we turn bodies of women, girls and the LGBTQIA community into things we can purchase, looks we can achieve, objects removed from emotions — removed of their humanity. What aspects of our queer community are being sold as sexy as subversive or empowering? Who has the power to exploit? Who are being toxically impacted by the power and privilege of the few, to commodify and purchase the bodies of our trans, gay, lesbian and bisexual youth? Are we as a community connecting with each other and valuing the unique beauties of our queerness? Or are we merely consuming? As Ariel Levy says “The glossy, overheated thumping of sexuality in our culture is less about connection than consumption.” How can we each individually and as a community, start to recognize the harms of consumptive sex and realize that to achieve health and wholeness as a society we need to connect at an emotional and spiritual level? If abuse, harassment and exploitation are rooted in exerting power over someone, those holding more power (white men) need to seek out education and give up their power through large and small actions. We need to recognize situations where men are taking up too much space or not connecting with someone in a way that validates their full humanity, not just their body. We must begin to shift how we speak to our loved ones, our peers and strangers. Language holds power. If we look at the Pyramid of Power that upholds rape culture, we can see that the foundation is in how we speak, think and normalize the idea that one community is less valuable than another. We can hold each other accountable for language that reduces our community members to something rather than someone. It is easier to enact violence against something that is less than human. In all of our interactions we should seek to humanize and empathise with the members inside and outside of our community. Seek to learn and understand their experiences, what they love and who they are. This deep dive into valuing each individual will ultimately result in the healing of individuals and our society at large.
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GO THE DISTANCE FOR CHANGE. Proud to be the Official Airline of Seattle Pride and Seattle PrideFest.
Seattle PRIDE Guide 31
COMMUNITY LEADER SPOTLIGHT
Co-Organizer and facilitator for We Fight Back (WFB) Background in social work and community organizing.
Identity within the LGBTQIA+ community: Lesbian How do you give back and empower your community? I co-organize a boxing therapy program for women, girls, trans and gender non-conforming folks. The program is free, participant-centered and a place where we can build community, heal and feel strong. Why is the work you’re doing important to the community? What do you hope to accomplish with the work you’re doing? As members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we experience a lot of trauma and hardship. Many of us have suffered in isolation and find it challenging to build community in a therapeutic, healing environment. As members of the LGBTQIA+ community many of us lack the financial resources to access something like boxing. Physical fitness can be a great way to deal with mental health challenges, build community and heal. Unfortunately it can also be very expensive. At We Fight Back (WFB), one of our goals is to offer free programming so more of our community can participate. It can feel very intimidating to go to a new gym or try a new sport alone. Having our own space, a space specifically for women, girls, trans and gender non-conforming folks is an essential piece to our program. We can come together and heal. We deserve that. Another goal we have is to build commu-
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nity. Many of our participants come back as mentors to new boxers coming in, help with our website or volunteer at fundraisers. We have organized outings to events put on by past participants, supported businesses run by graduates and gone to see past participants’ art performances. One of the beautiful things about WFB is meeting all of these wonderfully talented and experienced people in Seattle. I feel honored to have them be a part of our WFB community. What propelled you into your line of work? What inspired you to serve in your current role? I saw a need when a friend put on free fight classes for a group of us. I saw women get emotional when hitting a heavy bag, not return because they thought they were too aggressive or feel intimated/uncomfortable by having a male instructor. I began looking into women-centered boxing programs and realized there were organizers, many internationally that were using boxing as a means to combat male violence against women and girls in their communities. I found women-only boxing gyms, one in Canada and a few in the States. As I watched boxing documentaries and read articles on all the work being done, I thought about the increased violence on the hill, violence targeting my community and wanted to do something. For myself, taking boxing classes has given me confidence and challenged me both physically and emotionally. I have a background in social work and facilitating dialogue. It made sense to add this to our programming. The organizers at WFB
felt that accessing boxing classes wasn’t enough. Participants needed a space to talk about challenges coming up for them. For instance, disassociating when sparring because of past trauma. Some people, specifically those socialized as women struggle with hitting someone — even in a controlled, safer environment — so this makes training challenging. We needed a space to not only feel strong but to address and heal from our experiences of male violence. We needed a space that felt safer and a space that allows us to come together. When I say “we,” I mean those of us that have been socialized as women/girls and/or deviate from our assigned gender class. At WFB we understand that the experiences of our participants are layered and diverse. The violence (or threat of) that we expe-
“We come together over these experiences and take space because we exist and we deserve to heal and feel strong.”
rience stems from homophobia, woman hating, transphobia, racism, classism, etc. We come together over these experiences and take space because we exist and we deserve to heal and feel strong. Doing this work gives me energy. Each cohort that goes through our programming shapes WFB. We listen to the needs of our community and continue evolving our programming to best meet those needs. It’s important to us to have a free, accessible program that centers our participants. I feel so grateful to each person that comes through WFB. It really is a community effort. Our program wouldn’t be what it is without them. How do members of the community support your mission? Are there steps the community could be taking to provide more support? I am constantly in awe of this community. We receive so much support from others. We are volunteer run, offer free programming and don’t hold 501c3 status, so we rely on the very community in which we serve. Some day we’d like to change that. Unfortunately right now this is where we’re at. Our community has offered us so much: their money, their time, their access to resources like space and gear. We really couldn’t have made it the last two years without them. Eventually, we’d
like to move away from relying so heavily on our community to keep us going and just serve those who need our program. Although our program is for all women, girls, trans and gender non-conforming people, it’s specifically for those of us that struggle in accessing fighting sports, community and healing spaces due to financial barriers, childcare issues, mental health challenges or feeling unsafe in male dominated spaces. I suppose those who don’t face those challenges, financially contributing to the program would be beneficial for the people we serve. For those that aren’t able to offer financial assistance, sharing our events or coming to our fundraisers is great. We have had people offer us free space for fundraisers, help on our website, play benefit shows, donate auction items and volunteer at our events. It’s really incredible how much our community shows up. That keeps me motivated to organize and shows me that what we’re doing is needed. Do you see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality for members of your community? Where do you see an obvious need for improvement? How can our political leaders embrace progressive ideals and actions? CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >
Seattle PRIDE Guide 33
BY ALLISON GREGORY DIRECTED BY SHEILA DANIELS
“A brilliantly constructed and highly engaging tale” -Broadway World
That’s a tough question to answer. In some ways, yes and in many ways, no. My day job is in social services doing intensive case management. I see some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQIA+ community suffer in our city. It’s hard to see changes political leaders are making that center the needs of those community members. We need more resources that do that. I haven’t seen that in the social service world. I’ve seen some efforts done to address the violence in my community, specifically on the hill, but I can’t say those efforts were done in a collaborative way. To me, that’s a failure. I understand the intention and appreciate the effort, but we need better. I have been impressed with my community and seen so many amazing grass roots efforts being done to address challenges we’re facing, especially in this political climate. It would be nice to see more political leaders and progressive ideals looking to those folks. Unfortunately, until we figure out a way to collaborate I don’t see us moving toward positive, progressive change any time soon.
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What advice do you have for people who want to organize or become community leaders?
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out there and meet people doing similar work, talk to your community. Be humble, take feedback and own your mistakes. Be accountable for your actions, your words and your work. Organizing is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done and yet allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible. I think it’s important to understand the responsibility that comes with organizing. There’s a time and place for it. It’s important to know when to step up and just as important to know when to step back. I am constantly reassessing if I’m right for this role or if it’s time to let go or move over. I try and check in with where I’m at, what is motivating me to do this work and why. Again, stay humble. No matter where we’re at in our organizing, we are always learning from those around us. Just remember, you don’t know everything and there is no right way to do things.
“Be humble, take feedback and own your mistakes.”
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What to do About HIV Stigma: Inform, Include, Protect and Empower by Jeff Cornejo What if I told you we already had the tools needed to end HIV? Would you feel hopeful? What if the only things getting in our way were ourselves, our beliefs and our attitudes? Are you ready to change those in order to live in an HIVfree world? Last September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people living with HIV (PLWH), who take their medication as prescribed and have an undetectable viral load, have “effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV negative partner.” The cognitive dissonance created by this message has been hard to overcome though. The stigma surrounding HIV fosters distrust and poor information. That stigma is the stronghold of this disease, and it takes many forms depending on what population is living with it. To stigmatize someone, is to label them as an inferior “other,” and once that difference has been established, it becomes easy to maintain boundaries between groups. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has identified how stigma leads to sickness in what they call the stigma-sickness slope. In essence, a stigmatized group is labeled as something other than normal. That group is then marginalized from the larger community through alienation, discrimination, reduced access to resources, and even violence. Marginalization, which can be legal, social, and economic, can lead to poverty, poor emotional wellbeing, and an increase in risky behavior. According to the UNDP, the outcomes of marginalization are what leads to sickness. In my experience, asking “are you clean?” immediately before a tryst, is the preferred HIV prevention method for many gay and bisexual men. The “are you clean?” question is meant to assess if your partner has been tested and is aware of their current status. In reality, it serves as a quick pass for engaging in sex while simultaneously stigmatizing a whole group of people. What’s implied by “are you clean?” is that PLWH are dirty, and this is only one of the many ways we stigmatize and further alienate them. Yes, HIV is a sexually transmitted disease, therefore it makes sense that knowing someone’s status before intercourse is necessary. But how many people do
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you think would agree to have sex with a PLWH? Again, from personal experience, I can go back and look at the many hookups I nearly engaged in, but then ghosted once they told me their status, a fact I am not proud of. So far the only facet of HIV stigma I’ve described is that of hookup culture. What about in more formal settings like the healthcare industry? Well, according to a 2017 report published by UNAIDS, a program of UNDP, “findings from 50 countries, indicate that roughly one in every eight (PLWH) is being denied health services because of stigma and discrimination.” Even individuals who are informed and take PreP as a preventative measure, get treated differently by healthcare professionals. While discussing this article with a colleague, they informed me about the looks and questions they get after informing their provider they are taking Truvada. I reflected back
on my last experience at the dentist, and remember having to reassure them I had recently tested negative: “I’m taking PREEXPOSURE meds, not POST-EXPOSURE,” I said. Stigma is not confined to interpersonal exchanges like these. Stigma can also become formalized as institutions enact policies that solidify the “us vs. them” boundaries. According to HIVtravel.org there are over 50 countries that have restrictions on short and/or long term stays for PLWH. And it’s not just anti-LGBTQ countries like Iran. The list includes countries like Germany and Canada too. According to a report published by the HIV Justice Network and GNP+, there are 72 countries with specific HIV-laws that prosecute PLWH for a series of possible offenses. Again, we’re not just talking about third-world countries either. Until 2014, a PLWH in Iowa could face 25 years of prison and registration as a sex offend-
er for not disclosing their status. These are a few examples of how PLWH face stigma at the interpersonal and community level, at an organizational level, and at the policy level. So how do we end HIV if HIV stigma is so ubiquitous? According to Avert, a UK-based organization that has been educating the world about HIV for over 30 years, there are four components or steps to solving the stigma issue: Inform, Include, Protect, and Empower.
“HIV is not just an issue of gay and bisexual men.” Informing yourself of HIV facts, and recognizing the stereotypes or assumptions you have about HIV and PLWH is the first step. Fostering an inclusive environment, where PLWH can feel like part of the community is the second step, along with including them in designing policies or programs aimed at ending HIV. The third step is to protect PLWH and communities vulnerable to stigmatization. HIV is not just an issue of gay and bisexual men. Depending on what part of the world you live in, the people at the highest risk of contracting HIV can be straight. We must protect vulnerable communities from discrimination, human rights violations, criminalization, and violence; regardless of their ethnicity, religion, vocation, drug-use, or sexual orientation. And the final step is to empower ourselves, and others, to understand human rights and fight against human rights violations. In a 2012 Huffington Post article, Michel Sidibé, the UNAIDS executive director, wrote “whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions.” If we can come out from behind ourselves first and stop treating people like they are dirty, and thus not worthy of our love, we can take the vision of an HIV-free world and make it a reality in our lifetime.
Horizon House is proud to be a diverse and welcoming community.
A vibrant retirement community in downtown Seattle Call us to schedule a visit: 206-382-3100 Seattle PRIDE Guide 37
We want most what you want most. seattlefertilitylgbt.com 38â&#x20AC;&#x192; Seattle PRIDE Guide
STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
“Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Seattle PRIDE Guide 39
F E ST I VA L 2018
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12PM - 7PM
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Live Music Food Trucks Beer Garden Craft Booths and more!
A free, all-ages celebration of LGBTQ arts, performance, and culture.
Volunteer Park 1247 15th Ave E Seattle, WA
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2018 LOCAL PRIDE EVENTS
FRIDAY, JUNE 1
Arthaus 4.0 Finale
The Devil’s Advocate First Friday Show
HOUSE OF URCHIN presents ARTHAUS 4.0: The Finale, featuring special guest Jasmine Masters. After nine months of competition, three hauses will face off to win a cash prize and a chance to be featured at Seattle PrideFest. Kremwerk, 1809 Minor Ave, Doors 7:00 PM, Show 8:00 PM, $10/$15/$25, 21+, kremwerk.com
Ongoing late night burlesque show. These stage veterans have banded together to bring you some meltingly delicious, dirty, devilish new late night burlesque! Starring: Jax Mourningwood, Willy Nilly, Boozie Cheeks, Effie DuBois, Delicatessen, Mystic Deflowered and introducing, Foxx LaCloud and Malibu Bambie! Rendezvous’ Jewelbox Theater, 2322 2nd Avenue, 11:00 PM, 21+, therendezvous. rocks
FRIDAY, JUNE 1 Elysian’s GLITTERis Pride Ale Release Party Join us to celebrate the release of GLITTERis Pride Ale, made in honor of Seattle Pride 2018! GLITTERis hits the stage with a sparkling base of Premium 2-Row, C-15, and DextraPils malts, alongside flaked corn, and blends with Magnum and Mandarina for a fruitforward hop character. For extra rainbow flavor, additions of blackberry and raspberry purees were added into the fermenter and at 4.4% ABV. GLITTERis Pride Ale is an equal opportunity beer. Elysian Brewing is proud to be the Official Beer Sponsor of Seattle Pride and a portion of the proceeds from GLITTERis Pride Ale benefit the organization. Elysian Brewing, 1221 E Pike St, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM, 21+, elysianbrewing.com
Beefcake Every first Friday, Beefcake at the Pony with retro gay underground tunes by Dee Jay Jack and King of Pants. Pony, 1221 E Madison St., 3:00 PM – 2:00 AM, 21+, ponyseattle.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 Phinneywood Pride Rainbow Hop The 6th annual PhinneyWood Pride Rainbow Hop celebrates love and solidarity with our LGBTQ families and friends. From drag queen story time to face painting, a free concert by The Not-Its! and more, there’s a line up of sparkling events throughout the neighborhood focusing on the value of diversity. Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N, 10:30 AM – 1:45 PM, FREE, all ages, phinneycenter.org
SUNDAY, JUNE 3 Run & Walk with Pride 4k/10k Kick off Pride month with some running/ walking magic with this annual community event now in its 36th year presented by Seattle Frontrunners, an LGBT running club. This year’s race benefits both the Seattle Area Support Group (SASG) and Youth in Focus. Seward Park, 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S., 9:00 AM – Noon, $20 – $35 registration fee, all ages, runwalkwithpride.org
Capitol Hill Clean Sweep A local favorite! Clean up Capitol Hill for Pride month! Volunteers from around the neighborhood gather at Cal Anderson Park at 9:30 am for instructions and guest speeches before being dispersed to scrub the streets. You’ll get a cool, free t-shirt (first come, first served), meet your neighbors, and best of all, help make the hill sparkle. Music and a free lunch follows. Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Avenue, 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM, FREE with preregistration, all ages, caphillchamber.org
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2018 Local Pride Events
THURSDAY, JUNE 7 Together for Justice and Equity Reception Join Equal Rights Washington for this year’s Together for Justice and Equity reception to celebrate their recent wins and share what’s coming up next featuring heavy appetizers from Madre’s Catering, beer from Fremont Brewing, and a return of the Pie Bar hosted by the Society of Lucky Mothers. DJ Non-Prophet will be providing the ambience, plus a few notto-be-missed speakers. Metropolist, 2931 First Avenue South, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM, $35 – $65, equalrightswashington.org
Pride Family Fun Day Celebrate Pride at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) with a special welcome to the LGBTQ community. Bring the family to enjoy crafts, story time, film screenings and live performances for this Free First Thursday event. MOHAI, 860 Terry Ave N, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, FREE, all ages, mohai.org
Business of Pride Celebration
Puget Sound Business Journal, in partnership with GSBA, hosts the Business of Pride Celebration, highlighting outstanding LGBTQ business leaders, allies and advocates. The Sanctuary at The Mark, 801 5th Ave, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, $110, bizjournals.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 2018 SIFF Closing Night Film & Gala Give this month-long film festival — the largest and most highly attended in the U.S. — a proper send-off by attending the Closing Night Gala at the Cinerama. Following the film, enjoy tasty hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and cocktails. Cinerama, 2100 4th Avenue, 6:00 PM, $75, $65 members, 21+, siff.net
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Celebrate love and
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 Volunteer Park Pride Festival Experience Seattle Pride’s return to where it all started on Capitol Hill, with a celebration of LGBTQ arts, performance and culture in the iconic Volunteer Park. The festival will feature live music, a beer garden, food trucks, small, local craft fair, and games. We’ll also have non-profit organizations from our community and Seattle Pride sponsors who make this and the Seattle Pride Parade possible. Music includes Desi Valentine and special surprise acts. Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave E, Noon – 7:00 PM, FREE, all ages, seattlepride.org
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 Pride Business Luncheon: LGBT Human Rights, A Global Perspective Kick off PRIDE at Seattle’s newest and most elegant venue, Embassy Suites in Pioneer Square. GSBA’s Pride luncheon will be an exciting event with a business expo followed by a thought-provoking presentation on LGBTQ human rights around the world. Embassy Suites Pioneer Square, 255 S King St, 11:00 AM, $60 – $75, thegsba.org
THURSDAY, JUNE 14 Capitol Hill Art Walk (Queer Edition) Now in its 4th year, the Queer Art Walk, and official part of Capitol Hill Art Walk, features queer art and artists across Capitol Hill. An engaging and fun way for enthusiastic attendees, businesses, and artists to connect and celebrate the vibrant, artsy neighborhood of Capitol Hill during Pride Month. Capitol Hill, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM, FREE, all ages, capitolhillartwalk.com
THE WORLD BELIEVES, NOW MORE THAN EVER, THAT EQUALITY ISN’T AN OPTION, IT’S A RIGHT. TANNER, MACY’S EMPLOYEE
We are proud to join the parade across America in honor of National Pride Month. We think it's really something to celebrate. FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 Theatresports Comedy Improv Seattle’s longest-running show, Unexpected Productions’ Theatresports is among the best improv the Northwest has to offer. Theatresports is a high-energy, improv
Seattle PRIDE Guide 45
2018 Local Pride Events
BUILDING CONNECTIONS THAT MATTER. We’re proud to support Seattle Pride. HQ may be 3,000 miles away, but Washington is home.
Tweet your support of our partnership @ComcastWA
show where teams of improv professionals create spontaneous scenes on the fly that are so hilarious, quick-witted and perfectly constructed it’s hard to believe they are made up on the spot. Unexpected Productions’ Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley, 10:30 PM, $12 – $15, PG13, unexpectedproductions.org
Pageant (June 15 – July 8) Opening June 15, Pageant puts a high-heeled drag-spin on the competitive pageant scene. The show, written by two-time Tony nominee Bill Russell, Frank Kelly, and Seattle’s very own Albert Evans, takes the audience on a fabulous adventure into the timeless world of the Miss Glamouresse Beauty Pageant. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 7:30 PM, $15 – $35, acttheatre.org
Walmart is proud to support Seattle Pride 2018
Century Ballroom hosts an OutDancing fundraiser for the Dyke March! Century Ballroom, 915 E Pine St, 8:30 PM – 11:30 PM, $10 (half goes to the Dyke March), 21+, seattledykemarch.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 Seattle Women’s Pride Seattle Women’s Pride is THE Pride party for lesbians (and their friends) in Seattle! People’s Couch Comedian Julie Goldman will headline Seattle Women’s Pride 2018! Your ticket gains you entrance to the comedy show, music, dancing, and all the PRIDE you can stand! Bring all your friends and make some new ones. Sole Repair Shop, 1001 East Pike, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM, General Admission $35, VIP $50, 21+, seattlewomenspride.com
Seattle Mariners Pride Night
Visit washington.walmartcommunity.com for more info.
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Join the Seattle Mariners and Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) for Pride Night at Safeco Field. $5 from every ticket sold through this special offer will benefit GSBA Scholarship funds. Safeco Field, 1250 1st Ave. S., Pregame event 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM, Game 5:15 PM, $51 – $65, All Ages, mlb.com/mariners/ tickets/specials/pride
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, JUNE 16 & 17 Pride Film Festival The Pride Film Festival will feature free screenings of queer films at Northwest Film Forum. NWFF, 1515 12th, FREE, seattlepridefest.org
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 The Totally Gay Sing Along It’s the 2018 edition of the best damn weekday party you’ll go to all June. Celebrate Pride month with the return of a favorite Sing Along that features divas, camp classics, new tunes, hunks, foot stompers, rump shakers and every video that are certified TOTALLY GAY! The Sing Along’s original host Jason will be leading all the fun. Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 8:00 PM, $12, Day of show $14, All Ages, central-cinema.com
Stand Up for Pride Stand Up for Pride with Jessica Kirson and Fortune Feimster, two hilarious comics, wellknown on the national scene. A fundraiser for Seattle PrideFest, their crushing performances are guaranteed to keep you laughing all night long. Q Nightclub, 1426 Broadway, Doors 7:00 PM, Show 8:00 PM, GA $35, VIP $60, 21+, tickets at fivesensesreeling.com
Bananas! Can Can goes Bananas! Seattle’s only underground and Parisian-inspired bohemia becomes a steamy oasis beckoning warmer weather with Bananas! It’s a special paradise, and who doesn’t love a good vacation? The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret, 94 Pike Street, 7:00 PM, $35 – $65, 17+, purchase tickets at thecancan.com
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2018 Local Pride Events
THURSDAY, JUNE 21 Garrard Conley Presents Boy Erased Garrard Conley, son of a Baptist pastor, presents his beautiful, raw story tracing the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds. Google Campus, 601 N. 34th Street, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Limited seating available. Tickets at email@example.com
REAL TALK: LGBTQ Conversations for Change
The strength of our community is its greatest asset. When people work together, anything is possible. It’s why we support organizations that bring people within our community closer. They reinforce the bonds we share and help us celebrate the traditions we hold dear. It’s just one part of our investment in our neighbors and the community. KeyBank thanks Seattle Pride for making a difference.
Key.com is a federally registered service mark of KeyCorp. ©2018 KeyCorp. KeyBank is Member FDIC. 171005-170606-7823452
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A town hall series “REAL TALK: LGBTQ Conversations for Change” hosted by Seattle Pride is the place to start talking to create a change movement. Get informed and participate in an open discussion that includes experiential activities, and small and large group conversations about pride, racism, nationalism, and safety in LGBTQ communities. More to be announced. seattlepride.org/events
Seattle LGBTQ Commission Meeting The Seattle Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission advises the Mayor, Council and departments about issues of concern affecting the LGBTQ communities. Meetings are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. Public comment period is at the beginning of each meeting. Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Boards and Commissions Room L-280, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, teens, adults, seniors, seattle.gov
National Treasures Seattle For one night only, four fabulous drag queens, Bianca Del Rio, Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine and Jackie Beat, will be serving up some incredible #dragqueenrealness! Celebrate Pride month with the return of a favorite Sing Along that features divas, camp classics, new tunes, hunks, foot stompers, rump shakers and every video that are certified TOTALLY GAY! Egyptian Theater, 805 E. Pine St., 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM, $20 – $120, No under 14s permitted, all under 16s must be accompanied by an adult, tickets at fivesensesreeling.com
Bananas! Can Can goes Bananas! Seattle’s only underground and Parisian-inspired bohemia becomes a steamy oasis beckoning warmer weather with Bananas! It’s a special paradise, and who doesn’t love a good vacation? The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret, 94 Pike Street, 7:00 PM, $35 – $65, 17+, purchase tickets at thecancan.com
Black Milk with Nat Turner Band Hooligoons, B-Boy Fidget, Mr Hi-Def, Webb Wavvy, DJ Indica Jones . Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison, $15 – $20, 21+, chopsuey.com
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 #GetWoke: Queer and Trans People of Color Party and Dance The best party of the month is Seattle Pride’s official kick off party #GetWoke. More to come. 21+, seattlepride.org/events
Trans Pride Seattle A march and celebration for and by the trans community in Seattle presented by the Gender Justice League. The Trans Pride March assembles at 5:00 PM at the courtyard north of Seattle Central Community College and steps off at 6:00 PM with festivities following in Cal Anderson Park from 6:45 PM – 10:00 PM. transprideseattle.org
God Save the Queens Celebrate Pride like the diva you are (or want to be)! Seattle Men’s Chorus ascends the throne to present 50 years of rock and pop royalty, from the swinging ’60s to today’s biggest hits from across the pond. Featuring The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Sting, Coldplay, Adele and much more. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, 8:00 PM, $25 – $75, all ages, seattlechoruses.org
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2018 Local Pride Events
Seattle Storm Pride Night Tip off Seattle Pride weekend at KeyArena as the Storm welcomes the Indiana Fever. KeyArena at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, $25 – $63, all ages, wnba.com
Bananas! Can Can goes Bananas! Seattle’s only underground and Parisian-inspired bohemia becomes a steamy oasis beckoning warmer weather with Bananas! It’s a special paradise, and who doesn’t love a good vacation? The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret, 94 Pike Street, 7:00 PM, $35 – $65, 17+, purchase tickets at thecancan.com
Pride Friday at Neighbours Celebrate Pride with your “neighbors.” Music and more to be announced. Neighbours Nightclub and Lounge, 1509 Broadway, 21+, neighboursnightclub.com
FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 22 – 24 Wild Rose Pride 2018 Celebrate Pride Wildrose style with booty shakin’, contests, music and more to be announced. The Wildrose Bar, 1021 Pike Street, 21+, thewildrosebar.com
Queer Bar Pride Party Join Queer Bar to celebrate Pride with three days of nonstop fun. More to be announced. Queer Bar, 1518 11th Ave, 21+, thequeerbar.com
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 PrideFest Capitol Hill Share your love and play together at an expanded PrideFest Capitol Hill. Street Festival! Family Day! Queer Youth Pride! A little something for everyone on Capitol Hill. Now in its 5th year, PrideFest Capitol Hill
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SATURDAY, JUNE 23 Elysian Pride Saturday Beer Garden Elysian Brewing is hosting a Pride Beer Garden on Saturday, June 23rd in partnership with Seattle Pride. Live music, food, beer … all of the best ingredients to celebrate Pride weekend! $10 entrance, which will be a 100% donation to Seattle Pride. Elysian Brewing, 1221 E Pike St, $10, 21+, elysianbrewing.com encompasses Broadway from John to Roy, as well as Denny Way and Cal Anderson Park, Noon – 9:00 PM, FREE, all ages, seattlepridefest.org
Family Pride and Queer Youth Pride A family-friendly event for kids and their parents with activities like drag queen story time and great kids’ entertainment. Queer Youth Pride (4:00 - 7:00 PM) is co-sponsored by Gay City Health Project and has activities, engagement, and talent produced by and for Queer Youth. Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Avenue, 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM, FREE, all ages, seattlepridefest.org
WE DON’T CARE WHO YOU SLEEP WITH WE WANT YOU TO SLEEP WELL.
Julia’s Queen of the Brunch This is Seattle’s only disco extravaganza themed brunch show featuring highlights from Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Celebrate Pride weekend with over-the-top costumes, giant wigs and outrageous performances. Le Faux Playhouse, 300 Broadway E., 1:00 PM, $20 – $30, lefauxshow.com
Seattle Sounders Pride Match Sounders FC celebrates diversity and inclusion, supports equality on and off the pitch and stands for dignity and respect for all. Cheer the Sounders on for an afternoon of rowdy fun as you watch the home team face off with Chicago Fire. Purchase your tickets through the pride ticket offer and $5 of every ticket will be donated to the GSBA Scholarship Fund. CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave S, 7:00 PM, $38 – $40, All Ages, soundersfc.com/2018pridematchoffer
3 0 0 N E 4 5 t h St . , Se a t t le , WA 9 8 1 0 5 b e d ro o m s a n d m o re . c o m (206) 633-4494
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2018 Local Pride Events
Seattle Pride Quads Grass Volleyball Tournament Kraken Volleyball Club and SVC host the 9th Annual Quads Pride Grass tournament to celebrate Seattle Pride. This event is a fundraiser for the Kraken VC Scholarship fund, which enables inner-city youth to participate in club volleyball. All teams/participants are welcome, as long as they follow the team eligibility rules. Judkins Park, 2150 S. Norman St., 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM, $30/player, seattlepridequads.com
Seattle Reign Pride Night Seattle Reign FC celebrates Pride with a home match against North Carolina Courage. Cheer the home team on for an afternoon of rowdy fun. Memorial Stadium, 401 4th Ave N, 1:00 PM, $20 – $200, All Ages, reignfc.com/pride
Lambert House Pride Drop-In
SEASONAL EXHIBITS FOR YOUR PALETTE Enjoy artistically inspired dishes crafted from local ingredients, and see the personal story of Dale Chihuly through his collections. LUNCH / WEEKEND BRUNCH
COLLECTIONSCAFE.COM L O C AT E D AT C H I H U LY G A R D E N A N D G L A S S 305 HARRISON ST / SEATTLE WA 206.753.4935
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Events for youth, led by youth including games and a movie. Lambert House, 1818 15th Avenue, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Dinner will be served at 6:00 PM, FREE, ages 11 – 22, youth aged 11 – 12 will need a signed parent/ guardian consent form before participation in any Lambert House activities; form is available at the front desk, lamberthouse.org
Seattle Dyke March and Rally The Seattle Dyke March welcomes and encourages people of all genders and identities to join in celebration at the rally and march. Incredible performers, inspiring speakers, and a space that highlights, celebrates, and embraces our community! Seattle Central College, 1701 Broadway, Rally at 5:00 PM, March at 7:00 PM, seattledykemarch.com
God Save the Queens Celebrate Pride like the diva you are (or want to be)! Seattle Men’s Chorus ascends the throne to present 50 years of rock and pop royalty, from the swinging ’60s to today’s
biggest hits from across the pond. Featuring The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Sting, Coldplay, Adele and much more. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, 8:00 PM, $25 – $75, all ages, seattlechoruses.org
Slumber Party at the Lambert House An adult-chaperoned slumber party for youth ages 13 through 22 at the Lambert House. The overnight is available only to youth that will have attended Lambert House at least two times prior to June 23, have gone through an orientation, and are in good disciplinary standing. Lambert House, 1818 15th Avenue, 9:00 PM Saturday – 9:00 AM Sunday, lamberthouse.org
Pride Cruise 2018 Join the popular cruise on the The Islander Yacht + The Spirit of 76 (simultaneously) and cruise the luscious waters of Lake Union. Featuring music TBA. A sell out event, buy tickets early. Islander Yacht, 1611 Fairview Ave E, 1:00 - 5:00 PM, 21+, universe.com
Dance Yourself Clean An Indie-Pop dance party created by music lovers, for music lovers. Music inspired by LCD Soundsystem, Phantogram, CHVRCHES, Mike Snow, Haim, Charli XCX, MØ, Empire of The Sun, Hercules & Love Affair, Purity Ring, and many, many more. Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison, 9:00 PM, $5, 21+, chopsuey.com
Kings: A Drag King Show The Kings of Kremwerk bring royalty to the stage every last Saturday of the month. Kremwerk, 1809 Minor Ave #10, 7:00 PM, $7 – $12, 21+, kremwerk.com
BTW Seattle BTW with performances by Adore Delano + Detox + Eddie Danger and The Men of Stag PDX. Nuemos, 925 E Pike St., 8:00 PM, $35 – $75, 21+, nuemos.com
Bananas! Can Can goes Bananas! Seattle’s only underground and Parisian-inspired bohemia
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2018 Local Pride Events
A TRANSFORMATION FULL OF SURPRISES. In 2016, Bayview embarked on an ambitious remodel of our world-class, 62+ Life Plan Community located in Queen Anne, and now we’re ready to give you a sneak peek! Call to reserve your spot at an upcoming Lunch-n-Learn to find out how a Life Plan Community can work for you.
Find out more • (206) 284-7330 • BayviewSeattle.org Bayview • 11 W Aloha St • Seattle, WA 98119 A Nonprofit Life Plan Community
Culinary delights, inspiring art and Oregon’s most famous rock too.
becomes a steamy oasis beckoning warmer weather with Bananas! It’s a special paradise, and who doesn’t love a good vacation? The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret, 94 Pike Street, 7:00 PM, $35 – $65, 17+, purchase tickets at thecancan.com
Pride Celebration at Neighbours Celebrate Pride with your “neighbors.” Music and more to be announced. Neighbours Nightclub and Lounge, 1509 Broadway, 21+, neighboursnightclub.com
SATURDAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 23 – 24 Queer Geeks and Gamers Queer Geeks and Gamers event features board games, console games, panels, comics, cosplay contests, exhibitors, and more! Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Noon – 6:00 PM Saturday and Noon – 7:00 PM Sunday, FREE, all ages, bar for 21+ (Sunday only), seattlepridefest.org
SUNDAY, JUNE 24 Lambert House Pride Day Brunch Lambert House will host a 9:00 AM Pride Day Brunch for LGBTQ youth ages 11 through 22 and their invited adult guests (parents, older siblings, etc.). Lambert House, 1818 15th Avenue, lamberthouse.org
Lambert House Pride Parade Contingent Lambert House invites LGBTQ and allied youth, ages 11 – 22, and their friends and families to join our contingent in the Pride Parade. Meet us at Lambert House by 10:00 AM, find us in the Parade lineup, or join us as we walk past. lamberthouse.org
PrideFest Seattle Center After the Parade, the party moves down the street to the largest free Pride Festival in North America now in its 12th year. Help us celebrate our rainbow spirit at this year’s PrideFest. Three stages, Queer Geeks and Gamers area, food, entertainment, activism. Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Noon – 8:00 PM, FREE, all ages, seattlepridefest.org
KEXP Pride Party A day-long party in historic Tilikum Place Park — right at the end of the Seattle Pride Parade route! Tilikum Place Park, 2701 5th Ave, 21+, kexp.org
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SUNDAY, JUNE 24 Seattle Pride Parade: Pride Beyond Borders The 44th annual Seattle Pride Parade is one of the top three pride parades in the country and the largest parade in our region, overall! Featuring more than 150 contingents with 10,000 participants and close to a half million spectators, everything Pride revolves around this celebration. 4th Avenue from Westlake Park to Denny Way, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, FREE, all ages, seattlepride.org
Julia’s Queen of the Brunch This is Seattle’s only disco extravaganza themed brunch show featuring highlights from Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Celebrate Pride aweekend with over-the-top costumes, giant wigs and outrageous performances. Le Faux Playhouse, 300 Broadway E., 1:00 PM, $20 – $30, lefauxshow.com
The Cuff Complex PRIDE Street Party A block party like no other! Music and more to be announced. Cuff Complex, 1533 13th Avenue, 21+, cuffcomplex.com
JUNE 10–11, JUNE 9–10, 2018 2017
SALES | FREE WORKSHOPS WORKSHOPS || PHOTOWALKS PHOTOWALKS
THURSDAY, JUNE 28 Qu-ART Queer community art night and draw jam every fourth Thursday! They have pens and pencils, but you gotta bring your own paper or other supplies. It’s pretty much a free for all. No skills or confidence required. There are light refreshments, but bring your own bevvie. Push/Pull, 5484 Shilshole Ave. NW, Ballard, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, FREE, pushpullseattle.weebly.com
FREE GARAGE PARKING 811 Republican Street | South Lake Union Seattle PRIDE Guide 55
ROCK YOUR PRIDE
Pride is universal and reaches beyond borders. We’re stronger when we celebrate Pride together. Join these Pride celebrations all around the great Northwest throughout the summer and let your voice be heard!
MAY – JUNE TRI-CITIES PRIDE
May 27 – June 2 This unique pride festival is the largest LGBTQIA+ gathering in the Mid-Columbia region. Beautiful Tri-Cities will serve as the gathering spot for friends, family and visitors to celebrate the diversity and unity of our community culminating with a festival June 2 that includes a music stage, drag show, dancing, food vendors, exhibits and non-profit organizations. Free Admission for all.
MEET * GREET * ROCK * PARTY
Tri-Cities, Washington | facebook.com/ TriCitiesPrideFestival/
BURIEN PRIDE FESTIVAL
June 2 SEATTLE | 116 PIKE STREET | +1-206-204-2233 HARDROCK.COM join hardrockrewards.com
#THISISHARDROCK ©2017 Hard Rock International (USA), Inc. All rights reserved.
UNT748SE17 Seattle Encore media_Pride Ad_4.75x4.875.indd 1
4/24/17 2:30 PM
Burien Pride invites neighbors, families and friends in joining them on their journey to help enrich their local community with their 2nd Annual Burien PRIDE Festival. It will be a day of celebration filled with music, booths, food and more. This free, all-ages event runs from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM at Town Square Park, 400 SW 152nd Street. Burien, Washington | burienpride.com
SNOHOMISH PRIDE FESTIVAL
June 3 Make it a full day at this inclusive, welcoming and fun event now in its second year. Celebrating the LGBTQ+, Two Spirit, adults, youth, and Allies of Snohomish County, Washington, the festival includes entertainment, food and fun for the whole family. 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Willis Tucker Park, 6705 Puget Park Drive. Snohomish, Washington | snohomopride.com
June 8 – 17 In a town whose mayor officially declared June as “Juneau Pride Month”, there’s a lot to celebrate. Come out and share your Pride in Juneau with an awesome assortment of events including an LGBTQ+ potluck, prom, two-spirit reception, pub crawl, community picnic, multiple drag shows, and a good oldfashioned game of kickball right in the middle of it all! Juneau, Alaska | seagla.org
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Not affiliated wi
SPOKANE PRIDE PARADE & RAINBOW FESTIVAL
June 9 Experience a day of fun with your entire family for Spokane’s 27th pride celebration in downtown Spokane including a parade followed by the Rainbow Festival in Riverfront Park Lilac Meadow with entertainment, resource fair, art show and teen zone. Spokane, Washington | outspokane.org
June 9 – 16 Join Anchorage PrideFest for a week-long celebration of PRIDE, themed this year as “The Next Generation: More Than a Rainbow.” There will be laughter. There will be dancing. Of course, there will be tons of fun with a little something for everyone including the popular Equality Parade and PrideFestival — which is slated to be more spectacular than last year with a beer garden and 140 vendor booths. Anchorage, Alaska | alaskapride.org
CAPITAL CITY PRIDE
June 10 Washington state’s capital draws nearly 15,000 people for a parade and festival in downtown Olympia, astounding for a community of only 50,000 people. There’s a kick-off planned for Saturday, June 9, followed by a march and rally and the parade and festival, on Sunday, June 10. Olympia, Washington | capitalcitypride.net
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June 15 & 16
SOUNDERS FC PRIDE NIGHT JUNE 23 | 7:00 PM | CENTURYLINK FIELD
Ranked top three small-town Pride Festival by Google, Boise Pridefest hosts Idaho’s largest pride event of the year with two days of celebration, embracing another year of diversity, inclusion, and community. This fun-filled event is full of festivities including a parade and festival. Boise, Idaho | boisepridefest.org
FOR TICKETS, VISIT SOUNDERSFC.COM/PRIDEOFFER
June 16 & 17 Growing bigger every year, Portland, Oregon’s celebration of Pride features a two-day festival at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park with the main attraction, the Portland Pride Parade, stepping off at 11 a.m., Sunday, June 17th. Portland, Oregon | pridenw.org
July 1 – 8 Extend your 4th of July holiday by taking a trip to visit our neighbors to the north for eight days of revelry kicking off on July 1st with the annual Memorial Dragball Game peaking on July 8th with Victoria’s second biggest parade of the year including over 100 colorful groups and floats. After the parade, enjoy multifaceted Victoria Pride Festival, with two stages of entertainment, a beer garden, a food court, a giant vendor area, and kids’ camp!
LOVE’S JOURNEY TO HELL AND BACK In the spirit of LGBTQ Pride comes an all-female twist on the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. O is a gifted artist waiting by the hospital bedside of her wife E, a mortally wounded soldier. During her vigil, O experiences a flood of emotional trials which threaten to extinguish the bond the two women share. After demonstrating the depth of their love, O and E are led back from the brink by E’s godlike doctor, Amore. The timeless tale of love lost, lamented, and reborn receives an innovative and intimate 80-minute staging from an all-female principal cast and creative team. Performed in English. Tickets are $45. Seattle Opera Studios, 200 Terry Avenue North
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Production Sponsor: Pride Foundation
Victoria, BC | victoriapridesociety.org
TACOMA PRIDE FESTIVAL
July 13 – 22 Celebrate Pride in the “City of Destiny” with a multi-day festival that includes a flag raising, mix pride block party and interfaith celebration all centered around the Tacoma Pride street festival on July 14th. Make a day of it and enjoy the street-side vendor booths, live music, and guest speakers. Tacoma, Washington | tacomapride.org
PRIDE EVENTS BELLINGHAM PRIDE
July 15 Celebrate diversity, promote equal rights, and have fun doing it by experiencing a parade of floats and marchers down Cornwall that will culminate in PrideFest at Depot Market Square, the second largest Pride event in the entire state of Washington. Hosting live entertainment, food, fun, and vendors, Bellingham Pride is ready to help you show your colors! Bellingham, Washington | bellinghampride.org
July 21 Kitsap Pride Network celebrates Pride with a family-friendly festival in Bremerton’s Evergreen Park. With a mission to celebrate, support and unite, count on this year’s festivities to be bigger and better than ever with 40 booths, food trucks, vendors and great entertainment. Come out for music, food, exhibitors, activities, and community. Bremerton, Washington | kitsappride.org
AUGUST CAPITOL PRIDE, SALEM
August 4 Enjoy Salem, Oregon’s annual Capitol Pride Festival at the Riverfront Park with live music, entertainment, food, beverages and much more! Come one. Come all. Everyone is welcome! Bring the family to this kid-friendly celebration and make a day of it!
HAPPY PRIDE, SEATTLE!
VANCOUVER PRIDE PARADE Attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the Vancouver Pride Parade is renowned on the international stage as one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ+ events in the world. The 40th edition of the parade will highlight 130+ parade entries with lots of amazing floats. Come for the amazing floats, fun colours, and show what Pride means to you. Bring your passport. Leave your weed at home. Vancouver, BC | vancouverpride.ca
EUGENE/SPRINGFIELD PRIDE FESTIVAL
August 11 August is a beautiful time to visit Eugene and join the fun. Daylong entertainment invites at beautiful Alton Baker Park on the Willamette River with live music, vendors, food, craft beer and activities. Come out and relax at the park with community and celebrate the diverse expression of PRIDE! Eugene, Oregon | eugene-pride.org
BOCCE, BIER, BRATS & BEARS
OPEN @ 11am for WEEKEND BRUNCH
Salem, Oregon | capitolpride.org
Introducing the Rhein Haus
BEAR-GARTEN (HOT SAUSAGE PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEED)
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COMMUNITY LEADER SPOTLIGHT
David Inwards-Breland, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UW SOM
Clinic Director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Medical Director of the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic
How do members of the community support your mission? Are there steps the community could be taking to provide more support?
Malcolm Smith Photography
Identity within the LGBTQIA+ community: Cisgender gay African American man How do you give back and empower your community? I have been a board member of the Seattle Counseling Service, an organization that has served the mental health of the LGBTQ community since 1969. I am currently the board chair of that organization, and I also founded the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic that opened in October 2016. The gender clinic was a call from the community. I did a research project with Seattle Children’s with focus groups and interviews with patients and parents. We found out what the barriers to care were, and one of the responses to those barriers was to start the clinic. In addition to myself being the medical director of the clinic, we work with two endocrinologists who see younger patients for hormone blockers as well as have nurses, medical assistants, an outreach coordinator, and a care coordinator (who is a social worker) as part of our staff.
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Why is the work you’re doing important to the community? What do you hope to accomplish with the work you’re doing? I hope to remove health inequity in the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ community has inequitable healthcare at this time. Some practitioners are transphobic and homophobic, and a lot of patients that identify as LGBTQ don’t feel comfortable going to the doctor. That leads to increased depression, substance abuse and poor health. By providing gender-affirming healthcare, that is a step toward equitable healthcare. What propelled you into your line of work? I started out as a general pediatrician, then did a fellowship to specialize in adolescent care. As a cisgendered gay male, I wanted others in the community to have access to medicine. I want to advocate for all adolescents, and where I see disparities, work to affirm someone’s gender.
Members of the community can offer support by referring people to the various organizations I serve: Seattle Counseling Center and Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic. The community can help others become more aware of these organizations and utilize them. In addition, the GSBA is an organization that supports gay-owned, trans-owned, etc. businesses, and people can use them to find other LGBTQ companies and services. Do you see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality for members of your community? Where do you see an obvious need for improvement? How can our political leaders embrace progressive ideals and actions? Yes, I do see Seattle moving toward progress, but there is an obvious need for improvement, and that is, we need more
“I want to see gender care happening in primary care.”
the evergreen school
Bright Kids have Bright Futures
where Nate Gowdy
gender-affirming providers. I want to see gender care happening in primary care. That means physician and nurse practitioners will need to be trained, so they can feel comfortable and so there are a larger number of practitioners that are knowledgeable about gender care. Also, our community and political leaders can help with dismantling insurance exclusions for care, especially in gender-affirming care. There is disparity in how insurance companies handle gender-affirming care particularly for young patients. People need to call their insurance companies and demand they change their policies. They can always change to a more gender-affirming insurance company during open enrollment. What advice do you have for people who want to organize or become community leaders? Networking is the key — meeting folks who can tell you what are the major issues in the community. They can look at the GSBA, go online and look at organizations, businesses, and non-profits and do some volunteer work. People can go to town hall meetings when they occur, and they can contact leaders in higher education that are known leaders in the LGBTQ community.
Preschool – Grade 8 evergreenschool.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | 206-364-0801
An independent school for gifted kids who love to learn!
KINDERGARTEN - EIGHTH GRADE www.openwindowschool.org
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COMMUNITY LEADER SPOTLIGHT
Simon Adriane Ellis
Certified Nurse Midwife, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Identity within the LGBTQIA+ community: queer, genderqueer, and trans-identified midwife How do you give back and empower your community? I think of my work as two-fold: 1) providing respectful and compassionate healthcare services to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and 2) working to change the systems in which we live, work, love, and receive healthcare. Some of the ways I have done this have included publishing research on TGNC pregnancy, launching a TGNC health program to expand access to gender affirming care in South King and Pierce counties, training students and medical professionals on LGBQ and TGNC health, working to ensure that gender affirming care is recognized in the midwifery scope of practice, bringing a reproductive justice lens to the work I do, and authoring content on LGBQ and TGNC health in textbooks that had previously omitted or minimized this content. I am also very committed to supporting TGNC people working towards careers in the medical field. Why is the work you’re doing important to the community? What do you hope to accomplish with the work you’re doing? Healthcare is a human right, and healthcare isn’t healthy when patients are punished by institutionalized racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism,
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classism, and fatphobia. Additionally, the high suicide and murder rates in TGNC communities are unacceptable and represent a serious public health crisis. My hope is that I am making a positive contribution to human rights, public health, and access to care by working to challenge my own implicit biases, advocating for my patients, working for change within the healthcare system, supporting reproductive justice work led by communities of color, and supporting the education and leadership of my LGBQ and TGNC colleagues. What propelled you into your line of work? What inspired you to serve in your current role? There has been a long series of serendipitous events, setbacks, and self-discoveries that have guided me along this path. I first decided I would become a midwife after attending the wild and amazing birth of my best friend’s son — 14 years later I remain deeply grateful for and awed by that experience. My interests in the medical field have slowly unfolded since that time, leading me to have clinical specialties in gender affirming care (especially non-binary gender affirmation), gynecologic care for TGNC folks, abortion care, and TGNC conception and pregnancy. Also I’ve been a troublemaker since birth, so I have tried to build a career that lets me use those powers for good! How do members of the community support your mission? Are there steps the community could be taking to provide more support?
I think one of the most important ways community members can support this work is by demanding human rights and excellent healthcare for everyone. The best way to destroy our communities is by letting ourselves be divided and conquered. For example, many leaders have been guilty of pushing forward with healthcare and human rights initiatives that leave TGNC folks or immigrants behind. In these situations, we need to resist the idea that some of us are just more palatable than others, and that something is better than nothing. Leaving our people behind is never better. It is
“One of the most important ways community members can support this work is by demanding human rights and excellent healthcare for everyone.”
cruel and it can be deadly. As community members we have to push back when we are offered these scraps and insist that we all move forward together. Do you see Seattle moving toward progress and furthering equality for members of your community? Where do you see an obvious need for improvement? How can our political leaders embrace progressive ideals and actions? We have had some really important recent wins in Seattle and Washington state such as healthcare coverage for gender affirming care, access to midwifery and doula care for incarcerated people, options for gender neutral designations on birth certificates, and access to abortion and contraceptive care regardless of race, sexual orientation or immigration status. At the same time, “access” often comes with unacceptable conditions, such as Medicaid eligibility requirements for gender affirming surgery that are more restrictive than the international standard of care and creates barriers for non-binary and low-income people. Our political leaders need to be more grounded in an intersectional and justice-based framework, so that the efforts they champion benefit the whole community. What advice do you have for people who want to organize or become community leaders? Find mentors and learn from them! Seek out all different forms of education. Be willing to change. Try to find a balance between being brave and being humble, stepping up and stepping back. If you are not from the communities most impacted by issues you are working on, support the leadership of those who are. Work hard but don’t forget to make space for beauty.
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The Trump Administration’s Version of “Civil Rights” – Protecting Doctors Who Discriminate by Seth Parent, J.D. Candidate
On January 18th, under the leadership of the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of a new division within the HHS Office for Civil Rights, dubbed the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.” The stated purpose of this new division was unclear from the get-go: to “restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental rights of conscience and religious freedom.” While we haven’t seen much activity from the division since its inception, there are more than a few reasons to keep an eye on it moving forward. Given the vague nature of the division’s purpose, my hope is that this article sheds some light on what exactly the Conscious and Religious Freedom Division of the Department of
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Health and Human Services is, what it can do, what it can’t do, and how its actions may affect members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is important to remember that the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division is a subdivision of an agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and thus an arm of the executive branch. Why is this important? Because the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division does not actually create any new statute or regulation; rather, it is a signal from the Trump administration that doctors will have more latitude than they did under the Obama administration to deny service based on their own deeply held religious and moral beliefs. While President Obama was in
office the same laws were in effect, but not enforced, much to the chagrin of religious conservatives and organizations like the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where the current head of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, Roger Severino, was formerly employed (more on that later). The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division was created to amp up enforcement of laws which (1) prohibit state and local governments from discriminating against hospitals that refuse to administer induced abortions; (2) allow HHS to withhold funding from health care providers that prefer physicians who provide and recommend abortions over physicians who don’t; and (3) prevent any health care provider from discriminating
against physicians who refuse to engage in assisted suicide procedures. So what does this mean? Essentially, the Trump administration is signaling the HHS to value a doctor’s ability to refuse services because of their own religious or personal beliefs over the rights of patients to receive beneficial and often necessary medical procedures. The black letter of the laws granting enforcement authority to the Conscience and Religion Freedom Division seemingly constrain it to only protect doctors in limited circumstances: (1) refusing to recommend or administer contraceptive services and (2) refusing to administer abortions and assisted suicide procedures. These narrowly defined protections currently have a solid legal grounding. However, it is not uncommon for government agencies to push the boundaries of their authority. Accordingly, it would not be surprising to see the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division also attempt to protect doctors who refuse to offer medical services to LGBTQIA+ individuals on religious grounds. If the division attempted this, it would likely do so by arguing that these laws protect doctors from engaging in any medical treatment that they find morally repugnant or counter to the principles of their religion. While the First Amendment of our Constitution prevents the government from enacting laws which prohibit the free exercise of religion, it does not allow individuals to use religion as a basis for denying or violating the rights of others. In the landmark 2014 case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed its holding in a prior case that religious accommodations should be “measured so that [they] do not override other significant interests.” The Court further clarified that “no tradition … allows a religion-based exemption when the accommodation would be harmful to others[.]” Even though doctors would not be able to legally deny emergency care under any current law, they may be able to receive protection for denying necessary non-emergency procedures. This potential denial of necessary medical care is exactly the type of “significant interest” the Supreme Court ruled should not be trampled by a religious accommodation. First Amendment rights must always be carefully balanced, but any attempt by the Division to protect doctors who deny services to LGBTQIA+ individuals would be taking these laws too far and could result in real, tangible harm. While some large metropolitan areas have countless CONTINUED ON PAGE 67 >
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doctors to choose from, across the United States, millions of people don’t have the luxury of choosing a local physician whose beliefs align with theirs. Denial of a particular procedure can be particularly problematic in rural areas where there are less health care providers available and where seeking some types of services may be stigmatized. For example, if there is a social stigma in a certain community against contraception, abortion, non-binary gender expression, or transition-related care, and a vulnerable person in that community seeks care but is denied service by a doctor on religious grounds, that individual may be dissuaded from or even wholly unable to seek the care they need in the future. While at this time it is unclear whether the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will attempt to protect physicians who refuse services to LGBTQIA+ individuals, it is of no comfort that the recently appointed head of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division (under the “Civil Rights” office of the HHS), Roger Severino, spent a good portion of his career at the Heritage Foundation arguing
against both legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring public schools and restrooms to accommodate transgender individuals. This author finds its hypocritical of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to complain of “discrimination” against doctors who refuse to engage in procedures they were trained to perform for the benefit of the public, but completely ignore discrimination against people with valid medical concerns who are denied access to necessary procedures. However, the laws that the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division enforces are duly enacted laws that gave enforcement authority to the HHS. It is still unclear at this point whether the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will attempt to expand its authority beyond protecting doctors who refuse to administer contraception, abortions, and assisted suicide services. But, if it does, one thing is clear: It will be vigorously opposed and find itself on the wrong side of the history books.
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In Defense of Sanctuary Cities (An LGBTQIA+ Perspective) by Alex Abbott
The topics of deportation, immigration reform and illegal immigration are at the forefront of news reports in the United States. Between the Trump administration’s determination to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, the expansion of deportation tactics and the promise of building stronger borders and penalizing undocumented immigrants, the political climate is running on high tensions. Seattle’s local government has been battling the Trump administration as a “sanctuary city,” a term obtained when a 2003 city ordinance prevented city officials from requesting immigration statuses from individuals without a court order. The term “sanctuary city,” however, has no formal definition, though generally it means a local government which does not satisfactorily comply with the authority of federal immigration laws. In November of 2016, Donald Trump vowed to put an end to sanctuary cities by removing federal funding provided to cities which do not comply
with federal immigration law. On January 25, 2017, Trump signed an executive order (Executive Order 13768), of which section 9(a) states that “sanctuary jurisdictions” which did not sufficiently comply with the federal immigration order would not be “eligible to receive federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.” According to an article published on December 8, 2017 by Seattle news channel KIRO 7, previous Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stood in defiance of the executive order immediately, announcing the city’s intent to pursue whatever necessary legal means to continue providing certain protections to immigrants in Seattle regardless of documented status. In March of 2017, Seattle (joined by Portland, Oregon in June 2017) filed a lawsuit against the executive order. In June, the Trump Administration made a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, but the motion was denied by Judge Richard Jones in October. However, on November
21st, 2017, Judge William Orrick III issued a nationwide permanent injunction against section 9(a), deeming it unconstitutional according to the Fifth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. So, while jurisdictions similar to Seattle will be able to maintain their missions without repercussions from the federal government, the question is: What role do sanctuary cities play for LGBTQIA+ immigrants? According to the 2017 report by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), there are still 72 sovereign states which maintain penalizing laws criminalizing homosexuality (45 of which have laws applicable to men and women). Considering there are 195 countries in the world, knowing that nearly 40 percent of those countries have laws (up to the death penalty) prohibiting homosexuality reinforces the CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >
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reality that much of the world is unsafe for LGBTQIA+ individuals to live. There are many resources for undocumented immigrants to reach out to for help, but for many of those individuals, there is an uncertainty of where to start. For example, if the individual is coming from a country where they are unsafe to live due to their social standing (being LGBTQIA+), they have the opportunity and right to apply for refugee status or asylum. However, there is often a difficulty in finding the resources for those who don’t speak English or have come to the country unaware of the possibility of seeking asylum. And while there have been legal resources available for undocumented individuals, as of April 10th of this year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department’s decision to end the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) which was enacted in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration. The LOP (which provided assistance to 53,000 people in 2017) existed to provide funding to nonprofit organizations which worked with undocumented immigrants in need of legal guidance, often providing support for those immigrants who were unaware of their rights while within the country and legal screening. While it is likely those nonprofits will continue to work to provide those services, the lack of federal funding will be a significant loss to the individuals in need of that assistance, another example of the Trump administration’s mission to make immigration even more difficult to those who are in need.
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In the meantime, there are organizations and legal teams in place who are ready and willing to help undocumented LGBTQIA+ immigrants. Below is a list of some resources in the Seattle area for individuals who may be in need of assistance in their undocumented immigration status. Legal Counsel The Law Office of Andre Olivie www.olivielaw.com (206) 724-1940 Soreff Law www.immigrationlawyerseattle.com (206) 452-4883, (866) 722-4030 Nonprofit Organizations Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (Locations in Seattle, Granger and Wenatchee) www.nwirp.org Immigration Equality (National) www.immigrationequality.org Legal emergency hotline: +1 (212) 714-2904 Entre Hermanos (Seattle) www.entrehermanos.org (206) 322-7700 Immigration Advocates Network (Online Resource Center) www.immigrationadvocates.org Asylum Connect (National Resource Center) www.asylumconnect.org
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Namasgay: A New Community of Mindfulness Emerges by Teresa Griswold
Courtesy of Namasgay, Inc.
As an international public speaker and leadership development professional, it’s hard to imagine Frank Macri, founder of the spiritual-minded group Namasgay, once struggled to share his voice. He is dynamic, articulate and friendly. Sporting a black ball cap with “Namasgay” written in block letters across the front, he flashes a contagious smile with genuine warmth and shares his story of how he found the courage to stand in his truth. “I had a ton of shame, because I thought I had a feminine voice,” Frank said of his school-aged years growing up in Long Island, N.Y. “I kept my hand down in the classroom and my head down at home.” Eventually, this self-hatred manifested in his body as a thyroid disease. “My body was sending me signals,” he said,
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and he realized he had to “stop being invisible.” He decided to come out of the closet as a gay man, and once he started living his truth, his thyroid healed. Now Frank makes a successful living by doing what he was afraid to do — speaking in public. He taught English in China for a couple of years, worked as a trainer for one of the world’s most prestigious leadership companies, and currently mentors and supports leaders with his own coaching business. “I love being able to support thousands of leaders, and I love mentoring,” Frank said. Beyond his business, he wanted to start something where LGBTQ people could come together in worthwhile ways, build connections, and share in social activi-
ties that were focused on spirituality and meaning. When he looked at the LGBTQ scene, he saw that it was the club scene. “That’s not the place to form meaningful connections with others,” he said. So last year, he created Namasgay as a Meetup in Seattle. Within 24-hours of announcing it on the Meetup social site, the group was full. “I had to upgrade my account to accommodate more members,” he said. The new group was intent on bringing together members of the LGBTQ community who were seeking spiritual awareness and a deeper connection with others. “So many people feel deprived of that,” Frank said, adding, “There were not many options.” After Namasgay’s first event, one of
their new members told him the Meetup was her last attempt to re-enter the queer scene. She was struggling with depression and, as a 72-year-old lesbian, she felt isolated from her community. She found the bar scene empty and had given up hope. But after attending the Namasgay event, she felt more hopeful than before and immediately signed up for more activities. There were others who were disillusioned about ways to meet new friends and establish lasting relationships too. Swiping right and left felt shallow. The Seattle group now has 500 members. And as Namasgay expands to places like New York, Chicago, the Bay Area, Austin, and Phoenix, the membership has swelled to 2,000 nationwide. “With a deeper connection, we open our lives up to deeper possibilities,” Frank said. “I don’t want LGBTQ people to go through their life feeling that they have to shrink down who they are in order to fit in.” With a mission to create a community of positive and mindful LGBTQ leaders, Namasgay hosts virtual and live events throughout the year, meeting up for a variety of local activities like astrology nights, meditation, yoga, group dinners and mixers. In April, Namasgay held a 3-day summit in Seattle as a transformational and fun experience for purpose-driven LGBTQ leaders to connect with themselves and others on a deeper level. “I think it is time for something like this,” Frank said. “I believe it is very easy to get sucked into negativity and get misled that we cannot make a difference. It’s easy to look around and feel like there’s no choice. We are beyond tolerating. We are ready to show up as leaders.” The community is very inclusive and allies are welcome. The stories and experiences are shared from LGBTQ perspectives, but the themes are universal. It’s not a singles group, either. Namasgay is a group for all the LGBTQ community, and it is place to build meaningful relationships with other people. “So many in our community don’t feel they can thrive,” Frank said. “Namasgay is a way to inspire — a way to be seen, heard, and thrive. We all have a special story to share, and when we do, then we are all capable of soaring.” In addition to founding Namasgay, Frank works with forward-thinking organizations in Seattle to develop communication and leadership skills in the community. Find out more about the movement at namasgay.com.
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GENERATIONS OF TRANSITION CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27
then I sprung this on her. But one of the greatest things about our relationship is our communication. She was pretty surprised and shocked at first, but we talked through everything. She’s my greatest support, and I’m so lucky to have her in my life!” Did you have any fears about seeking out a provider to help you transition? “After my partner and I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to start, I was scared and excited at the same time when I finally made my appointment. I was about to start the next chapter of my life. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. The day my doctor called to tell me I could start injections was such a huge relief. The staff at the office was great, and they were so excited to teach me how to do injections. This isn’t to say that everything is great with my transition. I certainly wish things would progress faster and I would have more dramatic changes, but it’s great that my doctor is working with me to help out. I still get scared about getting ID’ed, too, because I haven’t updated my legal documents yet. I remember a time when I went to the pharmacy and the pharmacist called me ma’am. I just wanted to ignore it and didn’t feel it was worth my time to correct her, but it still bothers me at times.” Do you have a message you want to get out there? “There’s so much going on that I feel it’s pretty sad that we can’t be genuinely kind and accept each other regardless of how people identify. People were serving in the military before and did a great job at it. What is this new proposed ban going to really accomplish anyway besides hurt a group of people that want to serve their country? This all comes from people who don’t know, and fear what they don’t know. People either don’t want to learn or are judging people based upon what they were taught. But to my fellow trans community members, I know it’s scary especially for those who haven’t come out yet. I know it’s a frightening experience to come out, but we’re here to support you. There is hope, and there are a lot of people who want to help. Sometimes those folks are hard to find, but you’d be surprised where you’ll find them!”
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“Veronica Valdez” – A 20-year-old person who identifies as female, assigned male at birth, uses she/her pronouns, unknown sexual orientation at this time. Tell us your story. “When I grew up, I always had girlfriends and never wanted to do anything with the boys. I didn’t want to do anything that was classically male. My teachers certainly noticed this and told my mother how I was acting. I would dress up and put on, ‘feminine’ clothing during costume times, wanting to play the queen and not the king. This set off an alert of sorts for my teachers, but nothing that was ever really negative. One of my teachers was gay and noted to my mom that I tended to express myself differently. Again, it was never negative but just different. Whatever was said must’ve made an impression on my mom, because she would let me dress any way I wanted at home. During this time, a lot of my teachers encouraged us to get involved with PFLAG and the LGBTQ community. This was completely new territory for us since, in my culture, a man is a man, and we have a very machismo mentality. But we learned so much from these groups about pubertal blockers, hormone therapy and gender identity. And it felt so good to have a mom who was and is so supportive. Once we knew what was happening, we then started to get care at Seattle Children’s, ‘trifecta’— the endocrine, urology and behavioral health departments. I had to go through a lot of tests and meetings with therapists before I could get any sort of pubertal blockers or hormone therapy. But it was also a different experience than my other appointments. They focused on what I felt about my gender, and the life I wanted to lead. It was a bit scary, though, because a lot of the people I met there hadn’t worked with a lot of transgender youth, and it was a learning experience for them, too. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for their work and help, but it was sort of new for them at the time. So I started pubertal blockers at around middle school, so this was a way for me to put things on hold for a bit. My middle school was really supportive. They asked me what name I wanted to be called. I couldn’t legally correct my name at that time, because of my court case dealing with my immigrant status. This caused a lot of confusion at school, and it was awkward when my legal name was called out. My friends had no idea who that was, and it was tough to explain it to them. For the
most part, though, things went well. High school was a bit more problematic. My friends started to go through puberty, and I didn’t get to start hormones until the second half of my high school years. But when I finally started hormones, it was exciting to start to develop. I also knew that I wanted an orchiectomy and that was a pretty big ordeal. I felt there were so many barriers to my getting surgery, and I had to see multiple therapists to talk about the loss of fertility if I were to have the surgery. That just isn’t a priority of mine, and the hoops I had to jump through seemed so useless. But once that was done, the actual surgery was easy to schedule. I’m still working on completing my journey. I’m enrolled in college and all my friends see me as female. I still have some ways to go with some additional procedures I want to get with some changes to my hormone regimen, but it’s a step in the right direction.” How difficult was it for you to come out so young? “It was easy with my family because of my experience at school. My teachers met with my mom, and she then set up a safe environment at home for me to express myself how I wanted. My siblings all know and are all supportive of me. We don’t have a large family, so I didn’t have to worry about that too much.” How has your undocumented status affect your transition? “The funny thing is, my identity as trans helped me stay in the United States. My country of origin has a very masculine culture. If I was forced back to that country, my life would’ve been in danger. My family’s safety would be in danger. My judge saw that and granted me asylum along with permanent residence.” What message would you want to tell your peers? “Be aware that the decision and transition journey is completely yours. But also be aware that it takes time. Insurance and doctors put up barriers to your transition. It’s not that they don’t want to help you, but these are things that we have to go through. It doesn’t mean it’s right and doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change. Hopefully the process will change, but you need to have patience. Although I’m still working on having the body that matches my identity, my doctors and Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic have been so instrumental in my transition, and I’m grateful for their help!”
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