May 4, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 18
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Friday, Jun 05, 2020



by Dennis Cavalier

By classic definition, the word Pride is most well known to mean "an unduly high opinion of oneself; exaggerated self-esteem; conceit". If we are to look it up in a dictionary, this is the very first explanation of the word. Uncannily, this seems to fit quite well when used to describe the persons responsible for leaving us a legacy of debt, indecision and embarrassment.

News reports widely distributed around the country recently claimed that SOaP (Seattle Out and Proud) had succumbed to the idea of bankruptcy, in order to remove themselves from culpability for [over $100,000.00] in unpaid debt. There has been thread after thread after thread of blog responses, ranging from outrage (no pun intended) to emotional support for their predicament. Now, rumor has it they are backpedaling from that plan, and intending to make an attempt to pay the debt.

What are we to believe, and at what point are we to believe it?

Our community was divided civil war style, over where the Pride 2006 event should occur. During the 2005 celebrations, the group that became known as SOaP announced that they were moving the event to the Seattle Center in 2006, and sparked a debate that seemed never to end. The result was that Pride celebrations took place in both locations.

A Capitol Hill pride festival happened, at the request of the community at large, and the downtown and Seattle Center event took place as SOaP had planned it. One was a success, the other was a financial and PR disaster. There's little doubt that both events had their merit, and the downtown event was a good time for all. Nobody is attempting to claim it was a disaster by "party standards". It was fun and it was well attended; kudos for that. But this year we need a better plan.

The latest breaking news is that the Seattle LGBT Community Center (The Center) has indicated they will be bringing us the opportunity for a "fantastic Pride Celebration" on Capitol Hill by bringing forth a plan for a well-organized, financially accountable, and community inclusive event. Thank G-d!

As long as SOaP continues to issue statements and press releases that contradict one another, the chance our community being seen by the rest of the world as respectable and responsible may very well continue to elude us. In this political climate, where LGBT persons are being scrutinized on nearly every level, we can not afford this reputation we are being saddled with.

The second definition of Pride you may encounter in a dictionary is; "proper respect for oneself; sense of one's own dignity or worth". It is to this definition that I believe we wish to aspire. By taking back the reigns for our festival, and showing the world that we can look to the future with responsibility, accountability and direction, it is possible that there may once again be a Pride celebration at the Seattle Center. Until then, Soap needs to figure out what it is doing, and the rest of us need to just get on with it.

Dennis Cavalier is an activist and writer, based in the Puget Sound area.

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