Seattle Pride Parade Goes Smoke-Free with Help from Gay City

Photo: Steph Brusig/The Seattle Lesbian

Photo: Steph Brusig/The Seattle Lesbian

Seattle Pride has announced that with the help of Gay City, this year’s Pride Parade will be smoke-free.

“This year is historic in so many ways,” stated Adam McRoberts, Communications Director of Seattle Pride. “As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, this is just one more way we’re looking to make history, marking the first time we’ve asked participants in the parade to refrain from smoking while marching.”

“This is a bold move,” stated Fred Swanson, Executive Director of Gay City, a local LGBT health organization. “The high rate of smoking and smoke exposure in LGBT communities has real consequences.”  He added, “Research from the Washington State Department of Health shows that LGB people in Washington State are more likely to have asthma, diabetes and heart disease than the general population, and though significant data about trans populations in Washington is only now being looked at, it is clear that trans folks experience significant health disparities.”

One reason for this, he explains, is that “the percent of LGB people in Washington State who smoke is 1.5 times higher than in the general population, and one in six LGB people is exposed to secondhand smoke at home, twice that of the general population.”

“When we decided to do this, Gay City was a logical partner to talk with,” said McRoberts.  “They’ve been working on these issues for years, and really understand our desire to create a healthier and more comfortable experience for all marchers.  We had several groups ask us about this over the past year, so we wanted to be able to address their concerns.”

In addition to asking marchers not to smoke, Seattle Pride will not be accepting tobacco sponsorship. “A key factor in the high rates of smoking in our communities is the result of years of aggressive targeting by big tobacco,” said Swanson. “We applaud Seattle Pride’s decision to not allow big tobacco to use our Pride parade to market cigarettes to LGBT people.”

The 40th Annual Seattle Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 29 in downtown Seattle.  The contingency will be led by Celebrity Grand Marshal George Takei, and Community Grand Marshals; including, Aleksa Manila, Zachary Pullin, Danielle Askini, Out in Front, Gay City, and Three Dollar Bill Cinema.

Seattle Pride is a non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington, focused on informing and educating the community on LGBT issues through community outreach and produced events, including the annual Seattle Pride Parade, Pride Idol, and Seattle Pride Picnic.

Gay City Health Project promotes wellness in LGBT communities by providing health services, connecting people to resources, fostering arts, and building community. For more information, visit gaycity.org.

For more information on health disparities experienced by LGBT people in Washington State, please click here.