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Pre-2008 Posts

Pride and Politics: Seattle Out and Proud Still Hasn’t Paid the Bill for Pride 2006

spaceball.gifLast spring in a blog post entitled Pride and Politics,  I described events unfolding around last year’s Seattle PRIDE celebration.  The male leaders of Seattle PRIDE, now “Seattle Out and Proud,” had announced, as a done deal, that they were moving the 31-year-old Seattle Pride celebration from the heart of Seattle’s lesbian and gay community in Capitol Hill to the Seattle Center miles away.  Outraged local gay- and lesbian-owned businesses and residents of Capitol Hill had organized and presented a petition signed by 8,000 people to PRIDE organizers to no avail.   Dykes on Bikes said they were staying in Capitol Hill.  Several regular sponsors of the event said they would be supporting the  traditional Capitol Hill event.  A commenter from Seattle wrote in response to my blog post:

What is more disturbing is Seattle Out and Proud has no LGBT community representatives and no oversight. It appears the board is made up of friends and room-mates and last year awarding themselves the advertising contract for the official guide. Cozy set-up eh?

Sponsors should responsibly ask where their money went last year before they consider future donations.

In the end, there were two PRIDE events, one at the Seattle Center, one on Capitol Hill, both of them led by Dykes on Bikes. 

So.  Seattle Out and Proud, according to tonight’s Seattle Times, has yet to pay the $100,026.33 bill to the Seattle Center for last year’s PRIDE.   According to Seattle Gay News,  SOAP has cancelled every meeting scheduled with the Center so far to discuss the bill, even though SOAP signed a three-year contract with the Center and is already soliciting donations from sponsors for this year’s PRIDE.   SOAP is said to have been “sticker shocked.”  Sponsorships did not cover last year’s expenses, they say, and only $121.00 was donated during the course of the event.  $121.00?  From 200,000 people?  Where are the proceeds from the beer garden, parade and concessions?

The Seattle Center says if SOAP doesn’t pay, there won’t be any PRIDE at the Center this year.




6 thoughts on “Pride and Politics: Seattle Out and Proud Still Hasn’t Paid the Bill for Pride 2006

  1. Our communities are being gentrified, toned down, middle-classed and remarketed back to us. Our events are shifting out of accessible range and many organizations are receiving their fiat not from community members, but from career workers more interested in the bottom line and respectability. It’s not just Seattle. I suspect these sorts of stories are being repeated all over.

    Posted by darkdaughta | February 22, 2007, 5:47 pm
  2. So true what you say, darkdaughta. There’s a great (old) article about this WRT women’s/feminist/lesbian events, here.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 22, 2007, 7:14 pm
  3. Right on, darkdaughta (and welcome, I don’t think I’ve “met” you yet :)).

    Amy, that is a FANTASTIC article. I loved every word! Is Sinister Wisdom still good like that? I have been meaning to subscribe and just never have gotten around to it (and have wondered if it’s good or has gone the way of .. well, everything else!). Thank you for posting that link!

    It reminds me of something I was thinking of posting in the Tyranny of Tyranny thread after I’d posted about food co-ops. I was going to say that one reason women sometimes don’t “get” the significance of food co-ops is what happened to the co-op movement, which got co-opted in just the ways the writer of that article described. Instead of the co-ops being part of women’s communities, remaining in women’s garages and homes with each woman directly invested and enjoying her participation, people got the bright idea to rent store space, incorporate (as nonprofits, but still), have boards and meetings, then sell co-op goods to the general public like stores do, except it’s “natural” foods, but we all know how that goes, pretty soon it’s just a store, people are making money, making business plans, trying to maximize profit, it’s not community anymore at all, it’s just a freaking store people go to. And I don’t even want to get started on that lest I start talking about the gentrification of natural/organic foods outlets which at one time were, even if they weren’t in someone’s garage, at least small and staffed by progressive, alternative, caring people. Not any more! Now the only people who can shop in those places is rich people; I know I can’t think of shopping there, and that includes Trader Joe’s. And also not to mention the way the only store I know of now that has a real “natural foods”, bulk foods section is Fred Meyer, but there again, that was the beginning of the end, when gorcery stores moved in and started offering “bulk” health foods and make-your-own peanut butter and that was the end of the co-op movement, which was such an important movement in so many ways for progressives.

    There’s an article in the Times about PRIDE tonight. Here’s a quote:

    The festival now draws more than 200,000 people, he said, and it’s still cobbled together by eight volunteers.

    The June celebration commemorates what many consider the birth of the gay-rights movement — when New York police raided Stonewall Tavern, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Over the past three decades, it has evolved from a political protest to a celebration of gay love to a gay — and straight — family weekend outing. Coffman said the group has hired a professional consultant to work on corporate sponsorships and is trying to attract a more diverse group of sponsors beyond breweries and personal-lubricant makers.

    “Three years ago, the largest thing at Volunteer Park was this giant balloon of ID lube … ,” he said. “Somehow we’ve got to accommodate the Dykes on Bikes who want to take their tops off and ride at the front of the parade, and we have to accommodate a bouncy castle for 4-year-old twins and their straight parents.”

    SOAP is supposedly “broke” but is considering incorporating. Since it isn’t incorporated as a nonprofit, there is no way to know what happened to whatever money SOAP made, but the president is no longer the president, and supposedly he’s the one who got the “estimate” from Seattle Center.

    And how right on time, in the context of that article, Amy, is that quote! Argh.



    Posted by Heart | February 23, 2007, 4:56 am
  4. Hey Heart. I remember my mom being part of a pre-order co-op like you describe when I was a kid, and it seemed like a good experience. However, I was in a pre-order co-op in Maine a few years back and it was NOTHING like that–it was all middle class, “trendy” people who just wanted their supplements etc. for cheap. For example, once I brought up the fact that the warehouse would take back the plastic laundry detergent bottles etc. and refill them and give us like $1 credit or something. The group leader said, “Oh, well, I just recycle mine, it’s easier.” And looked totally blank when I pointed out that REUSING something was more environmentally friendly than recycling it.

    Part of the problem too is that the warehouses that serve these co-ops are all being corporatized–that happened to the warehouse that group bought from during the time I was part of it. It went from being a cooperatively owned and run natural foods supplier to being bought out by a corporation. And of course, all the policies changed accordingly, so it wasn’t ultimately that much cheaper to shop that way–when you figured in the time you were putting in doing the unloading of the truck, the sorting etc.–than to just shop at the chain “natural foods” stores.

    My (storefront) co-op here is fantastic–it has that small local organization feel, staffed by crunchy folks who are friendly, freaky, and helpful. I think it might depend on your area–because there was a store co-op like this in Pittsburgh that still gave discounts for volunteering, and there are several in Minneapolis as well. There was NOTHING like it in DC, although there was a small local chain of health food stores that unfortunately were tiny, cramped, and unfriendly. But still nothing like the Whole Foods/Wild Oats/Trader Joe’s genre. So I do think there are some places where some or all of that ethos survives. But yeah, Pride has been totally commercialized, to the point where they have huge Coke banners and other evidence of corporate sponsorship all over the place. Just one more reason why I don’t bother to go.

    And WTF? Dykes on Bikes taking their tops off is bad for kids to see? What about the sex toy booths and the people walking around in full SM gear and on leashes? Puh-leeze.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 23, 2007, 6:13 am
  5. Oh, BTW, I haven’t read very many recent issues of Sinister Wisdom; my only exposure to issues since 1990 was their “women in prison” issue a couple years back which was, IMHO, quite porny. But they may be doing good work otherwise, I just don’t know.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 24, 2007, 1:53 am
  6. Gay business is often presented in a commercial, fluffy way using terms like ‘the pink pound’, or homoerotic adverts for gay-fronted companies. But the gay media is no diverse, happy-clappy equality playground – in fact, in my experience it’s dark and corrupt and incestuous. I’m sure many gay people in the media would compromise their beliefs for money.

    Posted by morgan | February 24, 2007, 3:29 am

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