Joe Mirabella

Seattle Pride: A Mix of Politics, Celebration, and Laundry

Filed By Joe Mirabella | June 29, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay rights, LGBT, pride celebration, Seattle Center, Space Needle

Seattle Pride was a huge success. Easily over 100,000 people participated in the Pride Festival and Parade. We made history by displaying the Pride Flag for the first time ever on top of the Space Needle. Politics were not shoved aside, but were prominently intermingled with more festive celebratory activities.

Most notably, Representative Jim McDermott gave a passionate speech about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

His speech was so moving, veterans were brought to tears as they hung on his every word. Organizers invited gay and lesbian veterans to the front of the stage where they received roses and coupons for a dozen cupcakes.

McDermott told the crowd, "You don't need to call your House members any more. We get it. The Senate is the road block. Call your Senators and tell them to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell now!"

My partner Joe Brokken was among the Veterans that chose to come forward. He too was moved to tears. It was the first time I saw him cry about his experience in the closet while serving in the Iowa National Guard. "These wounds may never heal," he said.

After the speech was over, the sun broke through for a moment. The enormous pride flag topping the Space Needle glowed over the thronging crowd. Dance music bounced, while young men and women stripped naked in the Seattle Center Fountain.

The smell of carnival food tickled our noses as I grabbed Joe's hand. I always feel like I am getting away with something when we publicly walk hand in hand -- even in an environment like Seattle Pride. "Shall we go?" I asked.

His hand remained firmly in mine. We passed tourists who were accidentally at the Space Needle on Pride. They stared at us. One man looked, then quickly looked away as his girlfriend exited their car. I felt uncomfortable, but did not let go.

The number 2 bus pulled up and the bus driver shouted, "Hop on boys!" She was clearly enjoying her day. The bus was full of gay men heading back to Capitol Hill for parties, or perhaps like us, for a chance to return to our normal life.

"What do you want to cook for dinner?" Joe asked while squeezing my hand.

"I don't know, why don't you cook and I'll start the laundry," I said.


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Thanks for writing this piece and putting together the slide show! I really wish I could have made it this year, but the drive from Bellingham WA after working all night (10pm-6:30am) throwing freight just was not in the cards this year. There is always hope for next year though! (especially since no more grave yards any more!)

Dodge man, there is a Bellingham Pride on Sunday July 11th. There's a parade, and the festival starts at noon at the Depot Market Square across from Neighbours bar. I'll be there at the WA. Gender Alliance table.

Okay, I'm a dunce. The bar is Rumours. Neighbours is in Seattle. Sorry about that.

I say this on all the Pride posts, but I really wish I could see Seattle Pride. I'll bet Los Dos Joes are hella tour guides then.

When I wanted Joe B to fall in love with Seattle so we could move here from Iowa, I brought him during Seattle Pride. Within 30 seconds he was ready to make the move.

We joke that I tricked him, because it is almost always sunny during Pride, and the boys are mostly shirtless. That's not quite the way it most of the year. :)

Seattle Pride seems to have only two different kinds of weather: sunny and broiling hot, or freezing cold and raining. So you won the weather crap shoot, as opposed to being deceptive. Anyway, Iowa winters aren't any great shakes, either.

Stuart Wilber | June 30, 2010 10:16 AM

Sweet post, Joe!
I would like to recognize the Husbands, Wives, Partners who encourage or at least accept gracefully the time we take away from our relationships to pursue our activism. John(my Joe B) and I were amazed at the numbers who came out for this year's pride festival. That a Rainbow Flag was flying over the Space Needle added to our feeling proud to live in Seattle. (The naked men cavorting in the fountain and the painted naked men in the parade were not a hardship.)