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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gay Leaders Slam Pride Parade

Posted by on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

It wasn't just me who raised an eyebrow over today's news about Seattle's gay pride parade. Elected officeholders, business leaders, and activists are growing increasingly peeved that political officials are being asked to pay $1,200 to march this year—while businesses only have to pay $700.

"It's like a tax on being a supportive candidate," says Representative Jamie Pedersen, who sponsored the House version of a marriage-equality bill passed by the Washington State Legislature this year. And it's a big tax on politicians. Since last year, the fee for Pedersen and other elected officials went up $530, while business saw only a modest $30 rate hike.

"They are basically saying, 'We don't want candidates or elected officials in the pride parade,'" Pedersen says.

Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP), which produces the parade, simply explains on its website that participants must pay higher fees this year due to "increasing cost associated with putting on such a large event." Reached by e-mail, SOaP director Adam Rosencrantz said that the group created a fourth category of parade entrants—elected officials and political organizations, which used to pay the same amount as businesses—because "we needed to be proactive in our fund raising and to increase parade fees was one of our options." What's the logic in targeting political leaders for the money? Rosencrantz refused to elaborate, saying, "I clearly answered that question." He added that "we are maintaining the current pricing structure."

But several LGBT leaders have terse words for pride organizers.

Gay-rights activist Thomas Pitchford has created a petition that accuses the parade of "bilking candidates and office holders" and questions SOaP's accounting. "Where does the money go?" the petition asks.

And as Pedersen points out, "One of the key purposes of pride has been for the community to show its political power and support. When you have someone like Senator Ed Murray or me making the calculation that it doesn't pencil out to march, there is something drastically wrong."

Meanwhile, Louise Chernin, president of the Greater Seattle Business Association, is nonplussed: "I am not even sure why they would do that. If the fee discourages participation from people who are working to support equality and rights, that is a serious problem. I am going to call them and ask what is the purpose of this is."

Finally, the marriage equality director of Equal Rights Washington, a group named one of the parade's grand marshals, expressed his concern, too. "SOaP is not a deeply political organization," Josh Friedes acknowledges. "We can do a better job educating SOaP on making it easy for elected officials who want to show their support to do so."

"There are an awful lot of elected officials who worked hard this year to secure marriage equality," Friedes adds. "They deserve thanks, and we need to be raising money to get them reelected, not taking their money."


Comments (37) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I've been over Seattle's pride for a few years now. It's just a giant parade of advertisers. Remember when, gee I don't know, GAY people and gay civics groups used to march in the parade? Not beer trucks and other advertisers who just want to ride the gay pride marketing demographic? It's never been the same since it left Broadway anyway. Instead of a huge ridiculous mega event how about a smaller, less expensive event that has gays and gay groups as the core? Oh well, whatever, I won't be going anyway. Vancouver BC pride is way more fun. It has some commercialism, they all do, but at least most of their floats are civic groups.
Posted by hifiandrew on May 24, 2012 at 9:34 PM · Report this
boring parade is boring
Posted by Forgotton2011 on May 24, 2012 at 9:36 PM · Report this
StellaLuna 3
I still don't understand how the grand marshals aren't Murray, Pederson, and Jinkins, that's fucked up. Have the parade organizers been living under a rock in regards to Washington State politics?
Posted by StellaLuna on May 24, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Report this
Fnarf 4
@1, there were beer trucks in the first parade I ever saw, circa 1981.

I'd be curious, though, to see SOaP publish their books. It sounds like most of the expenses go to the other group, while SOaP rakes in most of the money? Seems odd. A little transparency can make all these questions go away.
Posted by Fnarf on May 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM · Report this
Pride, Inc.®
Posted by DOUG. on May 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM · Report this
This is asinine. Ed Murray should be the Grand Marshal. Make Alaska Airlines and Starbucks pay out the ass to advertise in the parade. Let in supportive elected officials in for free. The parade sucks anyway. I'll probably just go fishing that weekend.
Posted by soundslikepuget on May 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Fuck off !!! 7
Bullshit!!!!! It's all bullshit!!!! The gay bars control Seattle's gay scene. Try finding a real festival at Seattle Center. You will only find that you will have to go back to Cap Hill and pay to enter. Fuck Off!!!!!!All the bars in Seattle are trying to make as much as they can off our gay's. Fuck Off, Again!!!!How about pooling our money to make the best damn pride festival in the world, Bitches!!!!!!It's about being out and proud you fucking assholes!!!!
Posted by Fuck off !!! on May 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 8
@1, Yes, the parade was so much more pure when it was on Broadway, sponsored by the Freedom Socialist Party (where, whoever screamed the longest and loudest at their meetings, won), and it was, officially, a "March and Protest". When every year, I would arrange with K&L for a beer truck to promote the charity I worked with.

That ship sailed long ago, dearie, mostly because the pier it was moored to rotted away. Take your revisionist history to Vancouver and try to peddle it there.

As for this year's controversy, what would the Pride Parade be without something for someone to be outraged about? I'm of the mind to make all the politicians pay, even the most supportive. What's $1200 to be seen in the biggest, most politically engaged parade of the year?

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on May 24, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this
@8 revisionist history? No idea what you're talking about, dear. All I know is pride used to be fun here, now it's not. So thanks, I will go peddle in Vancouver, see ya'll up there in August.
Posted by hifiandrew on May 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM · Report this
michael strangeways 10
This is such a NON-story.

The pricing info has been on the SOaP website for months and apparently not one politician has complained about this...until now, after registration for the parade has closed.

Let's move this non-discussion along as briskly as possible so we can start bitching about the Pride Flag not being on the Space Needle...

Posted by michael strangeways on May 25, 2012 at 12:32 AM · Report this
I agree: Make Jamie Pedersen the grand marshall-- and let our supportive allies be recognized as our guests!
Posted by CapHill2012 on May 25, 2012 at 12:46 AM · Report this
Obviously SOaP has no problem throwing Murray, Pedersen, and Jinkins under the bus... the Governor is the only elected official invited as the grand marshal.
Posted by realitycheck on May 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM · Report this
tainte 13
oooooh!! cat fight!!
Posted by tainte on May 25, 2012 at 5:31 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 14
You'll have to forgive my jadedness on this issue, but I've been listening to the same arguments for twenty-five years.....

1.) The parade is too boring. It's just politicians, beer trucks, and groups of employees walking.

2.) The politicians are just there to pander to us.

3.) The drag queens, leather men and Dykes on Bikes make us all look like freaks, and don't represent "the community"

4.) The whole thing is just a celebration of alcohol, and the bars are exploiting us. We should be using this energy on (insert crisis here)

And, since the parade moved downtown, there is the additional argument that it has somehow been "diluted" or something by removing it from Broadway, where it was impossibly crowded.

At the end of the day, It's just a parade, like Seafair, or St. Patrick's Day, or the thing Macy's throws at Thanksgiving. Other towns do it much better, some do it much worse. Many places would kill to have the crowds and municipal support that Seattle has.

Relax and enjoy it for what it is. Or despise it and stay away. At least this new "controversy" is something different to wring ones hands over.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on May 25, 2012 at 6:39 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 15
I suspect most people that leave a comment about SOAP and the parade have NEVER NOT ONCE helped with any aspect of the parade. Just a guess.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 25, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 16
Agreed with @14 (this sooo much) and @15. While I don't necessarily agree with the decision of SOaP, I don't know the whole story and I definitely wouldn't want to deal with this crap. I challenge anyone to try and do better and satisfy everyone at the same time.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on May 25, 2012 at 8:09 AM · Report this
Catalina, you shine so bright on this! Honestly, politicians complaining they have to dip into their campaign war chests to spend a wee bit on a parade slot, when they could be saving those precious contributions to buy some more ads or yard signs or glossy flyers headed straight for the recycling bin...really, it is just so very sad.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 25, 2012 at 8:14 AM · Report this
I think the parade is great. It's a day to enjoy with my gay and straight friends.

I have marched in the parade with various factions at least twice on Broadway and twice downtown and I know what it takes to make it happen: time to prepare your contingent (float/banners/flyers), orgnaizing volunteers, getting up really early after celebrating all night and waiting in queue way down on 4th Ave waiting to march. I did it because it was fun and for the community.

I am now content to simply enjoy the show.

Please appreciate those who are dedicated each year.

Posted by CommonKnowledge on May 25, 2012 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 19
Am I the only one who is sad that Seattle's Parade lost it's coolness when it moved from the Hill to 4th Ave? I totally thought the move would be good for the parade and it is bigger and in some ways better.

But it has become a parade of mostly corporate ad's and apparently higher drama and bitching. Like last year, I'll skip the parade and hang out at the beer garden getting groped by hot guys.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on May 25, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
There is certainly a disconnect between people's perception of political organizations and reality. For those who think elected officials and political organizations have deep war chests, think again. No, majority of them are not like Presidential campaigns or HRC. If SOaP is indeed fair about the affordability, elected officials and political organizations with an annual budget less than $250k should qualify for the $200 registration fee just like the local nonprofits! And most elected officials and political organizations, believe it or not, would qualify for that! Most people that march with political organizations are volunteers. Just because you see lots of people passionately support a cause or a candidate does not mean it is ok for SOaP to gouge them!
Posted by realitycheck on May 25, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Aurophobia 21
What StellaLuna said. This is a ridiculous way to treat the people who have worked so hard for the LGTB community.
Posted by Aurophobia on May 25, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 22
I don't need a parade anymore to be proud of who I am or to go out and party my Gallifraynian butt off. I'm proud EVERY day of the year.
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on May 25, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
At $1200, shouldn't the political orgs and elected officials qualify as parade sponsors? They should get to march first and have their logos plastered proudly by SOaP!
Posted by realitycheck on May 25, 2012 at 9:10 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 24
' pride goeth before a fall'
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on May 25, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
riz wins again.
Posted by deepconcentration on May 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
@23, I'm pretty sure they make actual sponsors cough up more than that. To get a sense of it, a couple years ago the PrideFest, to keep it all admission free, was charging $3K for the lowest level of sponsorship. Here's the brochure - in 2008 getting the big sponsor benefits, which included pride of place in The Stranger's marketing materials for it, were in the tens of thousands....this link will download a PDF of the sponsor packet back then:…
Posted by gloomy gus on May 25, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Get with it SOaP! Not only are you insulting these elected officials WE voted for to represent us and also make history, but have you seen a salary of what these guys make? The government isn't quite the cushy kind of money. It first started when you moved it off Broadway (big mistake) and it is coming quite apparent that this is becoming more about money and less about community.
Posted by collinhinshaw on May 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
What a joke. SOaP needs to get with it, these elected officials are who WE voted for, yet you insult them with this price hike? Have you seen a senators salary? Not all that flossy. Moving pride off Broadway was your first fail, now it is just a 4 hour infomercial. This is about community, not sponsors.
Posted by collinhinshaw on May 25, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
"We're here,
we're a clusterfuck,
get used to it!"
Posted by RonK, Seattle on May 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
very bad homo 30
Our parade pales in comparison to any other major city. It has become 3 hours of groups marching with banners, and companies trying to sell us stuff. There's nothing to see here any more. Maybe I'm old and jaded after 20 years of attending, but it just feels like there is less and less to see every year. We're not even trying to be interesting.
Posted by very bad homo on May 25, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
very bad homo 31
And I also agree that the politicians that are fighting for gay rights should be leading the parade, not paying to be in it.
Posted by very bad homo on May 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Here's the right thing to do: SOaP should invite Murray, Pedersen, and Jinkins to march along with the Governor as the grand marshal. Is that going to offend the Governor? I doubt it. It's the right thing for our community to do to acknowledge all those who worked hard to bring us the right to marry. The more SOaP hesitates or remains defensive, the more publicity this will brew.
Posted by realitycheck on May 25, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Gurldoggie 33
I don't have a dog in this fight - I'm not part of this community and I've only been to Pride twice in my many years in Seattle. But I will say that the parade organizers look terrible from the outside. Why would you alienate the people who are working the hardest for your cause? It makes no sense at all. Hopefully it was all a naive miscalculation and the organizers are right now planning how to walk it back.
Posted by Gurldoggie on May 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Simply Me 34
I love how every year SO&P does something really fucking stupid. It is a tradition. It makes Pride interesting. I wonder what they will do next year. Perhaps they will volunteer to cut-up and sell the giant pride flag scraps that used to fly on the Space Needle. Oh wait, that was last year.
Posted by Simply Me on May 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Baconcat 35
Our parade is one of the largest and best attended. Seattle just isn't as festive as other cities.

So far as fees, low if they can but high if required. I reckon businesses pay less because they generally sponsor at pridefest, too
Posted by Baconcat on May 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
The broadway pride events are where it's at anyways. Parades are boring.
Posted by tortuousGoddess on May 25, 2012 at 5:37 PM · Report this
OMG, Torchlight Parade entry fee is $115 for non-commercial entities...…
Posted by realitycheck on May 25, 2012 at 6:55 PM · Report this

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