Seattle LGBT Group Speaks Out against Pride Event Charging White Attendees ‘Reparations’

US
People wave rainbow flags during the 2018 New York City Pride Parade (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

In the city of Seattle, an organization called Capitol Hill Pride hosts an annual festival to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

Capitol Hill Pride’s leaders say their goal is to create a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life in Seattle, so when they learned that an LGBT event — set to take place in the city’s Jimi Hendrix Park on Saturday — will bar white people unless they pay “reparations,” they sent a letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission demanding an ethics investigation into what it said constituted “reverse discrimination.”.

Organizers of the black-exclusive event, coined “Take B(l)ack Pride,” advertised that “white allies and accomplices are welcome to attend, but will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee (and given a wrist band as proof of payment.” The ad suggested that the funds raised will go towards subsidizing black and brown trans and queer members as well as performers at the parade.

In an interview with National Review, Capitol Hill Pride Director Charlette LeFevre confirmed her group’s rejection of the initiative and clarified their own mission: “We’re all inclusive, not exclusive.”

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After reading Capitol Hill Pride’s statement, Seattle City Council president and mayoral candidate M. Lorena González decided to withdraw from Capitol Hill Pride’s festival.

“I will no longer be attending Capitol Hill Pride after reading their letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission,” she said.

“After a year that has taken an unbelievable toll on all of our communities, I was looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate Pride in person. However, I simply cannot support an organization that is trying to stop Black people in the LGBTQ+ community from celebrating Pride in the manner that they choose,” she added.

LeFevre noted that it’s concerning that a political figure in the city would take such counter-productive, exclusionary views.

“There’s concern because there is a city council candidate involved. Candidates, when they run for office, are supposed to represent all constituents, not a select group or even political party. Seattle has a lot of division right now with candidates, and they take an oath to serve everyone,” she commented.

The Capitol Hill Pride letter reiterated the organization’s commitment to true equality rather than reparative justice that still disenfranchises some people i.e. white gay individuals.

“We will never charge admission over the color of a person’s skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values,” the complaint concluded.

The Seattle pride controversy comes after New York City’s Pride event organizers announced it would ban police officers from marching in their annual parade until at least 2025, regardless of sexual orientation.

The Gay Officers Action League, representing gay law enforcement members, lamented the decision in a public release, calling the ban an “abrupt about-face” and saying that the move to “placate some of the activists in our community is shameful.”

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