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July 21, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 29
 
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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

 

 



 
Tacoma Pride: For one brief moment, Tacoma shines
Tacoma Pride: For one brief moment, Tacoma shines
by Logan Chrysler - Special to the SGN



"For the most part we're just a small Military town wedged in between Seattle, Olympia, and Portland whose community only gets together either in the bars, or if the occasion arises, when it's livelihood is threatened&"

- Common misconception about Tacoma



Myths, urban myths, about a city is the one thing that will either make a city or scar it without any malice. This is what makes the inclusion of its LGBT community the capability to either make said city a showcase, or keep it locked in its "Closet" until they're needed for something or when the greater community is threatened. Such is the case with Tacoma. When all you have is McChord AFB and Fort Lewis at your south end and a somewhat fragmented Arts community (in comparison to other towns) that still shows its mettle. Tacoma isn't what you'd call a force majeure, like Seattle or our capitol, Olympia. Out in the Park, an LGBT celebration held every year in Tacoma's Wright Park, seeks to change that and bring the community together.

In the past, (or, since the years since I've lived in Tacoma) the festival took on a homey feel where we felt that we were a community for -- at least -- one Saturday. And even though there was a small rain storm that shortened last year's Fest, things have changed a lot since then. With the inclusion of LGBT civil rights in the Tacoma city charter, as well as in Washington itself, and the ongoing battles and the lives lost in the struggles, we still have our yearly festival that showed the best in our community from A to Z.

This year's Out in the Park was one that stood out. For one brief moment, the community of Tacoma shined like a comet burning bright. From the Drag performers, rockers, singers, and our tireless activists, this year's Fest even outshone Seattle's pride "double feature." I felt a confidence in the community now, something I never thought I'd feel since San Diego, Montreal, and, of course, Seattle. With organizations like GLSEN, the SVDRA, and the Tacoma Gay-Straight Alliance's. Our elected and soon-to-be-elected officials and even the Swedish Medical Center's breast examination unit trailer as well as the many churches in the city that were and are welcoming congregations. (Next year I'm lobbying for DaimlerChrysler and Kraft to be sponsors.)

I enjoyed myself immensely, and listened intently to what is needed from the community. And for the first time, the community listened! The performers even gave their proceeds to pay for next year's OutFest. I have never been as proud of the Tacoma community as I have with this year's OutFest as the city was showing its finest and showing that it's there for the community and that we're doing our best 24/7. It has been a tough year here. The death of friend and activist Morris "Mo" Perry, the trial that ensued, and the senseless attempt by the notorious Tim Eyman to destroy what the community has fought several years for - Recognition! Respect was the order of the day and -- this time -- Tacoma's officials now know that we are a force to be reckoned with.

I've a feeling that the community is now maturing, as well as coming into its own. It took a while, but this was the best Out in the Park that I've seen. That's saying a lot. Never have I been as proud of our little community as I am now. We've been battle-scarred, and trial-stained but we came through it shining brighter than we have in years. And Tacoma is proving that we can step up to the bat and knock one out of the Park -- literally.

I know that even though I'll be calling Olympia my home, I would still love to help out with next year's festival, and show what we can do when we can get it done and make it together. I hope that we could make it a two-day event and get more International and local support. Tacoma can do it! Our community will stand for no less& As for me, I'm hoping that I get my '09 Challenger ragtop so I could show it at next year's Out in the Park. Hey, Tacoma's future is so bright, folks will have to wear shades.



Logan Chrysler is a race-car driver and activist who will be racing a 1978 Avanti with Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solomonese as his co-driver, in this year's Targa Newfoundland. A grueling race through the Avalon, Burin, and Bonaventure peninsulas of Canada's easternmost province. He can be reached at loganpercyc@canada.com or 253-779-0396.

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