Port Townsend Revs Up For Pride

By Jason Victor Serinus Special to the Leader
Posted 7/11/19

Buoyed by June 3 Pride Month proclamations from the City of Port Townsend and Jefferson County, the Board of Jefferson County Pride is preparing for another annual Pride Celebration.

This year’s …

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Port Townsend Revs Up For Pride

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Buoyed by June 3 Pride Month proclamations from the City of Port Townsend and Jefferson County, the Board of Jefferson County Pride is preparing for another annual Pride Celebration.

This year’s Pride in the Park, which unfolds on Saturday, July 13 from 11-3PM in Pope Marine Park, 607 Water Street, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. A spontaneous act of resistance to repression and societal condemnation on the part of gays, lesbians, and transgenders, which took place in the streets surrounding the Mafia-run Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early morning of June 28, 1969, sparked the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and the modern international LGBTQ rights movement.

Billed as a “family friendly event” open to LGBTQ people and their allies of all ages, Pride in the Park will center around a stage set up on the side of the Cotton Building. Bales of hay scattered about plus a lovely stretch of grass perfect for lounging in the sun promise perfect views of a stage populated with performers and speakers. While organizational tables and vendors should be available by 11, expect stage events to begin around noon.

“Pride in the Park presents a wonderful opportunity for LGBTQ+ to proudly take our positions as citizens of the community and have very positive exchanges with our allies,” Pride Board member Dawn Darington, 73, told the Leader. As the author of “View from the Closet,” which recounts her experience of coming out in 1978, Darington brings to the event decades of experience as an out lesbian who spent most of her time in Seattle, but brought her lovers to the “magical” city of Port Townsend for special weekend getaways.

According to Emelia de Souza, the central organizer of the county’s recent Pride events, a long-term goal of the Pride Board is to raise funds for the PT Rainbow Center. Foreseen as a LGBTQ Youth Center, it would be modeled after the Q Center in Bremerton which serves LGBTQ youth and their allies ages 13-20.

“The Q Center saved my life,” says Eamon Redding, 24, a non-binary person (they/them) who works as a Public Health Clinic Support and Medical Records Clerk at school-based health clinics in Port Townsend and Chimacum. “A lot of queer youth have rocky starts. Often they can’t set boundaries about what is acceptable in relationship with their peers and older people. We want to create a safe space for youth where they can learn how to set their own boundaries, form healthy relationships, and be free to be themselves.”

One long-term issue that often surfaces in the LGBTQ community is the division between its younger and older members. As Redding insightfully pointed out, the loss of so many community members due to AIDS crisis has created artificial generational split that has eroded the time-honored mentoring relationship between older and younger. In addition to the mentoring opportunities that the PT Rainbow Center will bring, the community holds monthly intergenerational second Saturday potlucks at 6:30 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wednesday Out and About brunches, and quarterly GBTQ Men’s Potlucks. There is also a second Thursdays Jefferson County Transgender Support group-for information, write transjeffco@gmail.com. General information about events and happenings for the Jefferson County LGBTQ community can be obtained by subscribing to the free Gudlife mailing list at gudlifept@gmail.com.

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