Students prepare for Seattle Pridefest

_DSC0712In 1974 the Seattle Gay and lesbian community celebrated their first Gay Pride Week. Fast track to 2013, and Bellevue College’s very own LGBTQ Resource Center is joining in on the fun. On Sunday, June 30th Seattle Pridefest will host its 39th annual Pride Parade with many organizations marching in the parade. Just to name a few, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Swedish Hospital and not to mention, Bellevue College.

The LGBTQ Resource Center “leadership members and the director have been planning this for months” said Lauryn Shinaul who is a leadership member at the resource center. Part of this planning includes making packages which they’ll throw out during their march. There will be little packs for both children and adults with gender booklets and bracelets and necklaces with this year’s pride theme of “We Do” on them; the adult packs will however have condoms.

The planning however, isn’t all about the fun of the celebration, this year a major concern is safety. “Safety for us is our number one issue” said Shinaul. “For a lot of our members it will be their first time at pride so  we’ve held meetings about safety.”

This year “we’re also celebrating marriage equality,” said Sam Crenshaw, leadership member. Because of this, there are expected to be more protesters this year. One way of employing safety was “everyone on the bus who goes with BC is required to know one leadership members cell phone number” said Crenshaw. And if you leave, “you must go with a buddy,” adds Shinaul.

Safety is important, but it does not overshadow the excitement that comes with this event. Seattle Pridefest is unique because it falls on the Sunday right after the Stonewall Riots which took place on June 28th, 1969. It was a series of violent resistance by the gay community against the police during their raid of the Stonewall Inn. It is also “one of the three days where it is legal to be completely naked in Seattle” said Crenshaw.

For Shinaul, it will be the second time attending the parade, however for “a lot of people, it will be their first pride,” said Crenshaw. The importance of this is because they “are introducing them to pride in a safe environment which is controlled through BC”.

“It’s our community and it’s showing people that ‘yes it’s okay,” said Shinaul. The Pride festivities allow for people to see that “there are a lot of people who think this is okay” and that they’re not alone, said Crenshaw.