by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
Gay People in Seattle anniversary party
March 18 at 6 PM
Twelve months and over 1,300 members later, Gay People in Seattle (GPiS) is poised to celebrate their first year of monthly social networking events for LGBT people who call the Emerald City home. Due to a high volume of participants, Seattle's LGBT community has built an exciting and popular monthly event where friends are made, networks are forged, and - in some cases - love is found.
"GPiS events provide a social environment where members are encouraged to chat," U. Mark Chavez, one of the organization's organizers, told SGN. "We are helping to build a social networking community in Seattle and its surrounding areas."
Chavez, alongside fellow GPiS organizers Jim Hedington, Geoff Tucker, and Tracy Schultz, say participation has exceeded their expectations. "We started with a dormant group in March, 2009, with a little over 250 members," Chavez explained. "Since then, we've seen a steady growth each month. As we now celebrate our one-year anniversary as a Gay social group, we're over 1,350 members."
The best aspect of GPiS is the comfort level and ease of meeting new people and personally reconnecting with them.
"Whether you've just moved to Seattle or have lived here your entire life, or you're shy or just coming out of a long-term relationship, our events are a great way to make new friends, business connections, and meet people that you typically wouldn't meet outside of your social circle," said Chavez.
According to GPiS organizers, they average about 160 people at the monthly mixers. "The tough part is getting a chance to say hello to everyone you know and trying to remember everyone's name," Chavez told SGN. "But that's OK; we use name tags, so that takes care of that part."
For Chavez, GPiS monthly mixers are important for the LGBT community because they "give everyone a chance to network and meet people without the implication that you're looking for more than friendship."
It's a much safer environment, Chavez says, where "everyone can be themselves and not try to impress the other person."
To celebrate one year as Seattle's premier LGBT monthly social, GPiS is throwing their anniversary party on March 18 at 6 p.m., at Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle. This month's event is co-sponsored by Seattle Out and Proud, producers of the annual Seattle Pride Parade. Hotel 1000 has donated a dinner for two that GPiS organizers will raffle off at the event.
"The anniversary event is a way for us to thank everyone who has attended our events or invited and brought friends to GPiS over the past 12 months." Chavez said. "We love to meet new people and see new faces. We welcome everyone."
If you are interested in finding out more about GPiS, becoming a member, or for more information about their events, visit the organization on Facebook by typing in "Gay People in Seattle" into the search bar.
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