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2009 Pride Parade and Grand Marshals
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2009 Pride Parade and Grand Marshals

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

The 2009 Seattle Pride Parade Sunday, June 28 will start at 11 a.m. from the corner of Union St. and 4th Ave. near Westlake Park. The parade will last approximately two and a half hours, however, it should only take about an hour from the start to reach Seattle Center.

The Parade announcers' booth will be located at West Lake Park. Parade organizers Seattle Out and Proud (SOAP) are asking that all those attending the Parade watch from the sidewalk, for their own safety, but also because the streets need to keep open so the Parade can keep moving.

The Parade will proceed down 4th Avenue to Denny Way. Although foot traffic will be allowed to cross Denny Way, all vehicle traffic will be turned west onto Denny and will have until Western Ave. to pull over, drop off passengers, secure their vehicles, and leave the area. It is important to note there will be no parking permitted in any areas along the route and all vehicles must be registered, display an event pass and have a driver in the vehicle at all times. Parade organizers warn that unattended vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.

From Denny Way participants are encouraged to continue on until Seattle Center for the afternoon festivities planned at the park.

This year's Pride Parade Marshals have been named. They are Charlene Strong, Anne Melle, and Seattle Gay News Editor-in-Chief George Bakan.

Washington State Human Rights Commission member Charlene Strong has been a tireless advocate of marriage and same-sex equality. Her testimony before the Washington State legislature helped pass landmark domestic partnership legislation in the state. Her past involvement in the LGBT community was with the Human Society's Pet Project, who provided HIV/AIDS patients with help and care for their pets. She also worked with the Archdiocese of Seattle on an LGBT task force dedicated to improving acceptance and understanding within the Archdiocese of LGBT parishioners. Charlene maintains a close working relationship with Equal Rights Washington.

Anne Melle has been a Seattle Out and Proud board member since 2005. The mother of two Gay sons, she became involved in the LGBT community 40 years ago when she joined a Chicago group called Parents of Gays in 1977. Several years later the group became one of the first PFLAG chapters in the country, of which Anne was a founding member. Anne spent 12 years in Maine as PFLAG's Mid-Coast representative and served on the PFLAG crisis hotline. Since 1997, she moved to Seattle and has served in varying capacities on the Seattle PFLAG chapter, including co-president and president. She is currently serving as board treasurer.

George Bakan has been overseeing the operation of the Seattle Gay News for 26 years and has been a Seattle Gay activist since the early 1980s. He organized the Seattle AIDS Action Committee in 1983, which later became Mobilizations Against AIDS. During the early days of the AIDS epidemic he helped organize an annual candlelight vigil at SCCC. In 1984, he co-chaired the Freedom Day Committee, now known as SOAP. George served as regional co-chair for the 1987 and 1993 National Marches on Washington, DC. During both organizing efforts, he led the Northwest-sponsored push for Bisexual and Transgender inclusion at the national events. He's served on the Hands Off Washington Executive Committee, and was Vice Chair for Hands Off Washington.

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