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'Pride in the Park' kicks off Seattle's LGBTQ+ celebrations

Thousands visited Volunteer Park Saturday for the event.

SEATTLE — Thousands of people traveled to Volunteer Park on Saturday, for Seattle’s “Pride in the Park,” kicking off the area’s Pride celebration throughout the month of June.  

"It feels amazing to be back, a little bit surreal honestly, but I think that building community is more important now than ever," said Cookie Couture, who was named "Miss Gay Seattle" in 2021.

Couture said the last couple years have been very difficult. 

"Definitely a troubling time for all different kinds of marginalized groups," said Couture. 

She said there are other places in the country with even fewer LGBTQ+ protections. 

"I have friends, fellow drag performers, scattered all over the country. Places like Florida right now are really scary for Trans people, for Queer people," said Couture.

According to Rayven Vulpes, who attended Saturday’s event, believes there are still plenty of issues here in Washington state. 

"I still personally see some of that stigmatism and it can be disheartening to be like this is one of the queerest cities in the country," Vulpes sid. “We still have so many problems."

Vulpes argues one of the biggest problems, is the lack of protection and understanding for LGBTQ youth. She said she's heard too many stories of youth being forced to leave home for being their true selves.

“It would be nice to see more people take responsibility in saying we should be trying to prevent that, rather than allowing parents to still have that level of say it literally can be a matter of life and death," Vulpes said.

Vulpes and Couture acknowledge hopes that Washington and throughout the country will continue turning the page on hate, one day at a time.

"I'm here to live my life and I'm here to lift other people up and treat people how I want to be treated. And unfortunately, there's some people that you can't really bring with you and that kind of bubble of equality and acceptance, that's their loss," Couture said.

Seattle’s Pride Parade is later this month on Sunday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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