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SOaP board changes 2010 Seattle Pride Parade theme
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SOaP board changes 2010 Seattle Pride Parade theme

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

On June 27, Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) will present the 36th LGBT Seattle Pride Parade. With the second-largest number of LGBT residents by percentage of population in the country - an estimated 57,900 in Seattle and almost triple that metro-wide - Seattle is home to a wide variety of LGBT political points of view. So it should come as no surprise that the controversy surrounding the 2010 Seattle Pride theme was intense. Letting bygones be bygones, SOaP has announced the official theme change from "We Are All American" to the national Pride theme "Over The Rainbow - be seen, be heard, be there."

Seattle Pride is a month-long celebration held in June. Seattle Pride is one of the largest Pride events in the country, has no paid staff, and an all-volunteer board of directors.

Each year, record numbers turn out for the parade. As throngs of people line the sidewalk, each contingent honors the theme in their own unique way. Recently, when the first 2010 theme surfaced, it set off a social networking and media firestorm. The internet was ablaze with members of the community demanding the theme be changed. That change came this week, as it was out with the old and in with the new. The theme has changed, but the event is still the same: lots of fun, important issues, and brimming with pride.

"At first, we were very excited to announce the theme 'We are ALL American.' It was a metaphor representing equal rights for all, a march for full equality if you will," SOaP President Eric Albert-Gauthier told SGN. "Some time went by and it became apparent that there were many among us, as well as many community partners, receiving negative feedback on the theme."

Eric says that although SOaP is not opposed to controversy or lively discussions surrounding LGBT rights and initiatives, the organization felt it best to change the theme and "find one that was more inclusive to the community we serve." He said the new theme is about belonging, freedom of expression, and obtaining equal rights for all.

"Over the Rainbow" has a double meaning, Eric told SGN. "'Over the Rainbow' means 'I am super happy' and is quite relevant as we just passed Referendum 71 in Washington state. Also, there is the obvious reference to the Gay community rainbow."

Eric says The Wizard of Oz is like going on a journey to find yourself "which also fits the LGBT community. The Emerald City is directly relational to Seattle, as well. The Wizard of Oz is also about facing challenges and coming out on top."

Aesthetically, Eric says The Wizard of Oz characters are outrageous and in line with traditional Gay pride festivities and costumes. "The movie is a classic in the Gay community because of Judy Garland and her roles and status as a Gay icon," said Eric. "Plus, who doesn't love red sequins?"

Whether or not people care to make The Wizard of Oz connection or not, one thing is for sure: "Over The Rainbow - be seen, be heard, be there" is Gay camp to the max and sets the stage for a lively, fun, and rainbow-colored 2010 Seattle Pride Parade.

For more information about 2010 Seattle Pride, visit SOaP online at www.seattlepride.org.

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