Last 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.