Local Events for Celebrating Pride Month in 2023

"Gay Pride Tel-Aviv" by [nivs] is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

June 1 is the first day of Pride Month, a month-long celebration of the history, society and culture of the LGBTQ+ community. The gay rights movement started as early as the 1900s after the creation of gay and lesbian organizations in Europe and North America, like the Society for Human Rights, which was founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago in the 1920s. After World War II, groups published gay and lesbian newsletters, demanded recognition, and protested against discrimination. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were denied civil rights until the historic riot at the Stonewall Inn. 

The Stonewall Riots started on June 28, 1969, when the New York Police Department raided a bar, the Stonewall Inn, which was a popular bar for gay and lesbian people. The police dragged patrons and employees outside, fights were prompted against the NYPD, and the event led to six days of protests. The riots ended on July 2, 1969, and made the gay rights movement largely recognized as the discrimination they faced was published around the world.

One year later, activists marched through Manhattan in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, a part of the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, named after its organizers, the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee and Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations. On June 28, 1970, two years after the riots, the first official Gay Pride Parade was held in New York with 3,000 to 5,000 people in attendance. Activist Craig Schoonmaker originally proposed the term ‘pride’ in gay pride to empower people:

“I authored the word ‘pride’ for gay pride … [my] first thought was ‘Gay Power.’ I didn’t like that, so I proposed gay pride. There’s very little chance for people in the world to have power. People did not have power then; even now, we only have some. But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change.”

30 years later, in June 2000, President Bill Clinton announced June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and in 2009, President Barack Obama renamed it Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Pride Month represents the celebrations and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community, but also serves as a protest against the repression and discrimination the community still faces with an increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation, especially regarding trans youth. 

Local events, including Bellevue College’s Tie-Dye shirt event; Pride Progress Flag raising in Bothell, Sammamish, Kenmore, Bellevue and Kirkland; and the Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra Pride Concert, kicked off Pride Month, but there are still more to come:

On June 3, Seattle’s 49th annual Pride in the Park is happening at Volunteer Park. This year’s theme is Galactic Love, and it will feature LGBTQIA+ performances, food trucks, local non-profit booths, queer vendors and more. The event is free and runs from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

On June 4, the first Paws and Pride Dog Jog and Walk will be held at Ashwood Park from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The event is highlighting the work of Eastside Pride PNW and Seattle Humane of Bellevue and Lambert House. It is a non-competitive 4k, with or without your dog. Tickets are $12.50 to $25.00 and required for all human participants.

On June 9, Bellevue College’s LGBTQ+ Task Force and the LGBTQ Resource Center are hosting their Lavender Graduation for LGBTQIA+ graduating students and those wanting to celebrate them. A Lavender Graduation is a celebration recognizing LGBTQIA+ students and their contributions on campus. The event will be at 4:00 p.m. Graduates should arrive by 3:30 p.m. The event takes place in Room 312/313 in the U Building and on Zoom. Registration is required, and masks are required for in-person attendees. 

On June 10, Golden Brick Events is holding their June Refuge Day celebrating Pride Month. This event is geared towards BIPOC, but everyone is welcome, and the event features an all-QTPOC artisan market, outdoor activities, DJ sets and workshops. It is free and will be at Seward Park Amphitheater from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

On June 25, the Seattle Pride Parade will be held on 4th Avenue in Downtown Seattle. The parade officially starts at 11 a.m., with a pre-show at Westlake from 10:00 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. The event is free, but seats in the Grandstand can be purchased.

For anyone between 6th grade and 18 years old, the following event is available:

On June 9, Shoreline Teen Center is holding their annual Pride Prom from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The event is free and will have food, crafts, games, music, and a safe and inclusive environment. Registration is required, and the event is open to anyone in Shoreline or neighboring areas. 

For anyone 21 and over:

On June 15, the Seattle Aquarium is hosting their after-hours pride event from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event features a DJ, drag performances, habitat viewing, animal-themed experiences, a no-host bar and food for purchase. Tickets are $34.95 and are required in advance. 

On June 23, Sparkle and Doom Productions’s Carnivale: Pride will be held at The Rendezvous from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. The event will feature a pride variety show with drag, belly dancing, burlesque and more. Tickets range from $30 to $45.

On June 25, from 4:00 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sapphic Pride is happening at Neighbours Nightclub. There will be performances, games, music and more for queer women, sapphics, and trans and non-binary sapphics. Tickets range from $25 to $50, and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required to enter. 
For more upcoming events, take a look on Eventbrite for pride events near you!