The 39th annual Seattle Pride Parade Grand Marshals represent both victories for the LGBT community and, reminders of the ongoing efforts to achieve unity, equality and an HIV/AIDS free world. They will join Seattle Out and Proud in celebrating the passage of Referendum 74, and to inspire us to continue ahead towards a loving world; on Sunday June 30, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. starting on 4th Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle. The diverse list of dignitaries span years of work against legislative inequality, social injustice and the continued ramifications of HIV/AIDS.
Just moments after Midnight on December 5, 2012 Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen, became the first same sex couple in the history of Washington State to be granted a wedding license, as a result of the passage of Referendum 74. The West Seattle residents had been together for 36 years before having the right to marry. Both Jane and Pete-e were active in the Referendum 74 campaign. They appeared in the Drew Emery film Inlaws and Outlaws, which premiered in the 2005 Seattle International Film Festival, documenting the lives of both gay and straight couples with a common purpose, love. Jane and Pete-e are engaged in the community, especially through their work with the Seattle Women’s Chorus which they co-founded in 2002. Jane and Pete-e will hold a special place in this year’s Seattle Pride festivities.
The call to approve marriage equality in the state of Washington would prove critical to the achievement of equal rights. Washington United for Marriage was formed to secure a bill for marriage equality in the State legislature, and then defend the measure in a statewide referendum once the bill was challenged. Leaders of the coalition include Human Rights Campaign, Pride Foundation, ACLU, Legal Voice, ERW, UFCW 21, SEIU, and Planned Parenthood Votes NW. More than 800 organizations, businesses, labor unions and congregations in Washington State worked to secure marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples; ultimately the campaign would out raise the opposing organization Preserve Marriage Washington by more than $10-million dollars. Lacey All, Chair of Washington United and, Zach Silk, the coalition’s Campaign Manager will join Seattle Out and Proud during the 39th Seattle Pride Parade.
As of May 2013, 12 state governments and the District of Colombia have legalized same sex marriage, two years after the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the federally mandated restriction on openly gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from serving in the United States armed forces. Gautam Raghavan, a graduate of Stanford University was invited to join this year’s Seattle Pride Parade for his personal involvement in supporting the equal rights movement. Guatam has served as the Deputy White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense and as the Outreach Lead for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” working group. Gautam has previously worked for the Obama campaign, Democratic National Committee and Progressive Majority.
Award-winning journalist Sarah Toce, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Seattle Lesbian, will also participate in this year’s Seattle Pride Parade. Sarah has interviewed and profiled many of the world’s most influential players in the coming out of America ranging from high-level politicians, key civil rights advocates and celebrities like Cher, Brandi Carlile and Meredith Baxter. Her diversified portfolio runs the gamut between local, national and international news coverage and features. The Seattle Lesbian reached a threshold of one million readers on a global scale. Sarah has been a leading voice in the call for unity within the LGBT community and the online magazine is recognized for its inclusiveness and dedication to bridge the divide between all communities regardless of sexuality, gender, stereotyping, and abridged discrimination.
The humble beginnings of Lifelong Aids Alliance began at Volunteer Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood when in 1983 a soup can was passed around, raising $42 to help members of the community living with HIV/AIDS. Today Lifelong empowers people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions to lead healthier lives by, facilitating access to health insurance and building a strong network of support for their programs and services. Events like the annual Seattle AIDS Walk and Dining Out For Life raise both awareness and financial support for people living with HIV/AIDS in Seattle and the rest King County. Besides advocacy work, a housing safety net and an impressive food program, Lifelong counsels individuals to help reduce the likelihood of risky behaviors and offers educational programs that increase prevention and promote community awareness.
Founded in 1972, Emerald City Metropolitan Community Church was the first congregation formed in the Pacific Northwest by and for LGBTIQ community members, their families and allies. Emerald City MCC has served the area for nearly 45 years. Their work in the United States and around the world has led civil rights activism and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS, they fight for marriage equality, civil rights of GLBTIQ people on a global scale and have called for a shift towards acceptance of LGBTIQ in other Christian churches.
Though we honor the victories of determination and the healing of wounds suffered by all LGBT people, we must also continue moving towards a united, equal and HIV/AIDS free future. Please join Seattle Out and Proud on the morning of Sunday June 30, 2013 to celebrate – Equality: Passed, Present and Future.
Seattle Out and Proud 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 the Seattle Pride Picnic.