Seattle is an introvert’s dream. Bookish and laidback, residents are known for hibernating in coffee shops, sipping on microbrews, and being a little shy and socially awkward is completely acceptable, even expected. Come summertime, though, for the LGBTQ introvert, Pride weekend can be tough.
Introverts are not necessarily shy or anti-social as is often assumed; they are folks who appreciate and need frequent alone and down time to recoup their energy. Awareness of this quality is growing in large part due to the popularity of writer Susan Cain and her recent book The Power of Introverts. While not quite a social movement just yet, nearly one third of the population is thought to be introverted, and beginning to expect more accommodation in the workplace and in schools.
There seem to be few ways to celebrate and appreciate LGBTQ culture that do not involve huge parties, a crowded bar scene, and parades with thousands of people. Though a deeper exploration of Pride events in the area tell a different story, with several, off the beaten path gems emerging.
If you are in search of celebration and quiet this weekend, read on.
1.) Queering History
In the early ‘30s, Pioneer Square, not Capitol Hill, was the early home of the LGBTQ community. Being out openly out in public carried risk and social stigma giving rise to a slew of nightclubs and bars in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, some of which still are in operation today. Nightclubs, like the Casino, a 1930s speak easy located originally on 2nd Avenue, held after-hours for drag queens and same-sex patrons to meet in the basement. Interestingly, Pride Celebrations here don’t go as far back as you might think: the first Gay Pride week took place in 1974.
The landmark exhibit, Revealing Queer, takes place now through July 6 at the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union, and traces Washington State’s LGBTQ history from the early speakeasy days through the Stonewall Riots, and up to the advancement of marriage equality legislation and ballot victory in 2012.
The exhibit does an effective job of localizing the impact of nationally significant moments, and is housed in the Linda and Ted Johnson Gallery, known for its quiet, intimate setting. This Saturday, the 28, MOHAI is hosting Family Day in honor of Pride. If you are looking to avoid crowds, the Museum and the exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
2.) Sexy and Sustainable Dining & Drinks
Co-owners and life partners Sarah Murphy and Amy Weems opened the St. Dames Restaurant in 2010. The duo has been together 16 years and have been vegetarians nearly as long. Their interest in and appreciation of religious iconography, imagery, and art influenced the name and the restaurant’s quirky décor.
Located in Rainier Valley, St. Dames is an off the Hill, cozy, candle-lit space that is, according to Weems, both “family friendly and date appropriate.” Murphy and Weems serve up seasonal, globally inspired, vegetarian and vegan comfort food daily. The summer menu unveiled last week boasts new items like the Spinach Mushroom Ravioli and Lemon Zucchini Risotto. Don’t worry, the old favorites like the Vegan Mac and Cheese and the Fried Mushrooms are still available. The restaurant also serves brunch with donuts, mimosas, and delicious egg scrambles.
For drinks, head over to Capitol Hill’s Tommy Gun, the only Lesbian-Owned Craft Cocktail Bar on the West Coast. Tucked away, just off of East Olive, you can order The Chicago Typewriter, the bar’s most popular cocktail, containing Bourbon, Aperol, cardemom, and mole biters. The GSBA and Apparel Company TomboyX are hosting an event together at Tommy Gun on June 28 for women. Doors open at 8 p.m.
3.) Lambda Literature
Introverts are a reading people. For those in search of solitude and a good book, there are number of talented, new LGBTQ award-winning authors to get to know. Each year, Lambda Literary presents awards to outstanding writers in a number of categories including best gay poetry, transgender fiction, bisexual nonfiction, gay memoir and biography, among others.
Northwest finalists for this year’s award include Nicola Griffith’s Bisexual Fiction Hild, Amber Dawn’s How Poetry Saved My Life, and Megan Volpert’s This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. These books are available for purchase at Elliott Bay Books on Capitol Hill.
4.) Trekkies in the Strata-sphere
Avoiding the parade may be priority number one for the gay introvert, but it doesn’t mean you can’t meet the parade’s leading celebrity. Former Star Trek Legend and Parade Grand Marshal George Takei is teaming up with Seattle Restaurant King Tom Douglas for a brunch benefit on Sunday, June 28. Douglas is serving up his famed Strata Breakfast including a layered casserole (strata) with wild mushrooms and greens, served with fresh citrus and fruit with Greek yogurt, and Bavarian-style meats and bacon. Takei will keynote the breakfast giving a special address to attendees. The brunch takes place at Tom Douglas’ Palace Ballroom at 8:30 a.m. Purchase tickets here.
5.) Spiritual Renewal
Religion, faith, and spirituality can be thorny topics for the LGBTQ community. Understandably so. Yet, there are a number of welcoming and affirming congregations providing services and support year round like Temple Beth Am, led by Rabbi Ruth Ziotnick.
The congregation is hosting a citywide Pride Shabbat. This is open to the entire community, and is a celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Jews, with their friends, allies, and families. The event takes place June 27 at 6:15 p.m.
For a full calendar of events, visit Seattle Pride at www.seattlepride.org.