This weekend marks one of the largest annual celebrations in Seattle as thousands will head to the city for Seattle Pride. Throughout the month of June there have been events taking place, but beginning Thursday a weekend filled with events kicks off as dozens gather for a town hall conversation on the issues facing the LGBT community. The weekend wraps up on Sunday with the 43rd annual Pride Parade.
“It has evolved from obviously the march of demanding equal rights to more of a celebration of our progress over the years,” Seattle Out and Proud President Kevin Toovey said.
Toovey is the President of the group putting on the Pride Parade. This year’s theme for the parade is ‘Indivisible.' Toovey said that it is about standing together with everyone.
“This theme on this parade says that we are inclusive, we will include you, we will stand up for your rights, and we’ll make sure that you are safe along with us,” Toovey said. “I really want to see more people than ever just come out, celebrate with us, but also take some kind of action back to stand up for all of our rights.”
Toovey said it will be a record-breaking year for the parade with more than 200 groups participating. Those groups include local and national businesses, as well as individuals and non-profits.
“I think what I love most of all is seeing people from all walks of life, whether it’s a family with a mom and dad or a family who have same-sex parents,” Toovey said. “So just seeing how it brings people together is just really heartwarming, it has me excited and hopeful for the future.”
But Toovey knows there is more work to be done. He said despite all of the progressive work done in Seattle, he knows that is not the case everywhere.
“We know that our leaders will stand up for our rights and secure that for us. Sometimes we don’t see outside of Seattle though, and that’s where we want to focus our efforts as well," Toovey added. "Whether it’s going out to Spokane or going down to Olympia or going further around the state, it’s not as progressive as Seattle sometimes, and so we really want to spread that message of love and acceptance throughout the state and throughout the country."
If you are interested in learning more about the different Seattle Pride events taking place over the weekend, you can head to SeattlePride.org