Seattle Celebrates 50 Years of Pride

By United Way of King County, on July 2, 2024 | In News

This blog post was written by Kayla Dunn, United Way of King County Editorial Associate.

On Sunday, a man wearing a button-down shirt and dress shoes stood alone on Denny Avenue. He held a picket sign as Seattle’s Pride Parade marched past.

The picket sign, a tool often used in times of protest or strike, stood out among the waving pride flags, balloons, and streamers.

“Seattle teacher,” the sign read. “Out since ’78 and proud.”

The sign felt like an extended hand—a peace offering and symbol of solidarity—that echoed through the streets. Last weekend marked 50 years since Seattle’s first pride festival, and thousands of people showed up in a myriad of colors to support the right to love.

From Cherry Street to the Space Needle, Fourth Avenue was lined with families, children, adults, and couples for the annual parade. Drag queens announced the floats as they passed, calling out the local organizations, churches, and businesses during the four-hour festival.

A group of friends chanted: “Love is love!”

“Happy gay,” a passerby called back, giggling.

Children chased each other and palmed for hard candies.

Chloe Guillot, a member of Quest Church in Ballard, marched the two-mile stretch alongside a float she had helped build the night before.

“This is the gay that the Lord has made,” The float proclaimed proudly on a church leaderboard, referencing Psalm 118:24 which states, “This is the day that the Lord has made.”

As the float rounded Denny Avenue, a young lesbian couple ran out and kissed in front of the sign. Their friends snapped photos quickly before the parade marched on. A Black drag queen sang the words out over the loudspeaker, and before long, the whole corner was matching the tune.

“We know that showing up for Pride as a church can carry a lot of complicated emotions, so we wanted our float to be unapologetically queer,” Guillot said. “It is about celebrating how far we have come and finding pride in the diversity of our queer community.”

It’s about love, she said.

At the base of the Space Needle, festivities continued. Performances raged from the mainstage, vendors sold art and food, and people were free to be themselves, frolicking in the same park where Seattle Pride first began 50 years prior.

Every year in Seattle, pride culminates on the last weekend of June, but don’t fret if you missed out! Pride events in surrounding communities are continuing into July.

Bellingham’s Pride Parade and Celebration is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 7.

Tri-Cities will host their Pride festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 8.

Tacoma’s Pride Festival is noon to 6 p.m. on July 13, featuring a block party and street vendors.

And the Puyallup Tribe will host their Pride Festival from July 20-21, featuring drag queens and food trucks.

United Way supports the LGBTQIA+ community and strives to build a more equitable future for everyone.


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