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"Scaled down but mighty": Trans Pride Seattle returns

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Photo by Lindsey Anderson
Photo by Lindsey Anderson

Surmounting some financial uncertainties of just weeks before, Trans Pride Seattle returned last Friday to Volunteer Park, with booths, music, and live performances to celebrate and support the Trans, Nonbinary, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse communities after a difficult and isolating year.

At the amphitheater, Queer synthpop group Seaside Tryst brought soul to the digital age with hybrid instrumentation and lilting vocals. Indie singer-songwriter karinyo played sonorous tunes from their roots busking in the streets of Seattle, and DJs like "occasional drag performer" Michete and "Seattle's finest" DJ MIXX America kept the party going.

Seattle's all-Black kiki group Royal House of Noir helped celebrate with a focus on Black, Trans, and Queer performers like King Cee Jay Noir and Queen duo LüCHi.

The Gender Justice League, which was back at the helm this year, called the event "scaled down, but mighty," and at least a few attendees agreed with that description.

"It was at about 50%," said TransCapybara, who has worked security at the event since 2017 and asked to go by an alias. In her role promoting safety and watching over the crowds, she wasn't focused on the performances. But the vibes were absolutely her purview: "Everyone was really into it," she said. "It was a really nice, intimate setting."

In 2019, TransCapybara recalled, multiple Pride events — Trans Pride Seattle included — were plagued by the presence of emboldened Proud Boys. This year, though, despite Volunteer Park being more difficult to patrol, "security was uneventful."

Her spouse, who asked to go by their online handle GenderMeowster, described the event as a mixed bag for a disabled person. "Volunteer Park isn't very wheelchair accessible," they said of the change of venue. And even though promotional material stated that masks were mandatory, many guests weren't wearing them, making sticking around risky for immunocompromised and other vulnerable groups.

"A friend who's in a wheelchair visited me," GenderMeowster said. But because of the steep slopes and unmasked guests, "they only stayed for a couple minutes."

Still, they lauded the event's volunteers for being "very responsive," and acknowledged some ways in which it was more accessible than other Pride events — namely, one could get a half-table in a booth for free, rather than having to pay for it. Overall, they said, "I'm thrilled that an event happened at all."

Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

Hyde Nikolaev-Angelus, a local Trans artist, had nearly nothing but praise for the event. "Everyone seemed so happy just to be around each other," he said. "The clothing swap was great. Pretty much everyone I know found something that made them happy, and there was a good variety of clothing in all sizes revolving around the racks."

He also praised resources like free monkeypox vaccines, and people offering free food and drinks. "I'd say that despite it coming back from the pre-COVID era, it was a great experience." The only thing that saddened him as an artist, he said, was that there was only one artist booth. He hoped for more next year.

The annual Trans Pride march was also missing this year, since its rescheduling made getting permits from the city difficult. A march would have also required police presence, which the board didn't prefer.

"Trans Pride symbolizes a community uplifting its most targeted and marginalized peoples," wrote Ganesha, a safehouse advocate for Gender Justice League, in a statement last Friday. "It symbolizes a great reverence for the power and leadership of Trans peoples and our endless contributions to movement work, while simultaneously acknowledging the great sacrifice it takes for us to be us."