Preparing for Olympic Pride 2024

Posted 4/3/24

“What has happened to Olympic Pride?” is a question posed frequently over the past few months. The answer is positive and affirming.

While the non-profit organization “Olympic …

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Preparing for Olympic Pride 2024


“What has happened to Olympic Pride?” is a question posed frequently over the past few months. The answer is positive and affirming.

While the non-profit organization “Olympic Pride” has dissolved — according to past Olympic Pride President Becca Mack (Maurer), “The challenges of managing a tiny nonprofit that is completely dependent on volunteer labor were simply not sustainable long-term” — the Olympic Peninsula’s annual Olympic Pride celebration continues with its most ambitious plan to date.

Scheduled for Saturday, June 8 from 11 to 4 in Pope Marine Park, Olympic Pride will be presented by Danny Milholland’s The Production Alliance (TPA), with primary event coordination by another past Olympic Pride President, Kerri Kitaji.

“Celebrating the diverse communities that exist within the broader Olympic Peninsula is part of The Production Alliance’s mission and inclusivity is one of our core values,” Danny said during a Zoom chat with Kerri. “Producing Pride is a natural fit for us.”

“We want to bring everyone together to celebrate our LGBTQ+ communities in a safe inclusive space and have a great time,” Kerri added. “We’re still in the planning stages and looking for partnerships, sponsors, and support. As Olympic Pride merges with the Production Alliance, we want the community to know that we’re still here, still active, and inviting everyone to be a part.”

With Olympic Pride, the Peninsula joins Pride events worldwide that commemorate the June 28, 1969 start of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York’s Greenwich Village. While Stonewall wasn't the first time LGBTQ people fought back against oppression, the rebellion changed the course of the movement for LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms.

The modern gay movement in the U.S. began in late 1950 when Harry Hay co-founded the Mattachine Society. Five years later, just as Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the Daughters of Bilitis for lesbians, Mattachine devolved into a mild-mannered homosexual rights organization that attempted to gain “respectability” for gay men and lesbians.

During the Stonewall Rebellion, as gay men, trans people, and lesbians spontaneously joined together in the streets to actively resist police brutality, survival rather than respectability was the overriding concern. Sparked by an oppressive police raid on the Stonewall Bar on Christopher Street in the West Village, Stonewall’s week-long series of street protests inspired Martha Shelley to help create the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), of which I was a member. GLF’s formation sparked the worldwide movement for LGBTQ+ rights.

The first annual celebrations of the Stonewall Rebellion took place in Los Angeles and New York City on June 27 and 28, 1970. Both were spearheaded by GLF members, including Ellen Broidy, president of New York University’s Student Homophile League / NYU Gay Students Liberation, and an early member of New York GLF. 

Earlier, at the Nov. 2, 1969 Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations, Broidy proposed to hold an annual march on the last Saturday in June called “Christopher Street Liberation Day.” As someone who joined with up to 10,000 other LGBTQ+ individuals in that first 50+ block march from the Village to Central Park, I can attest that our elation at bursting America’s closet door wide open was beyond words.

Fifty-four years later, Olympic Pride’s June 8’s events will replace a traditional march with a LGBTQ+ Boat Parade. Given the strong Republican push to cancel LGBTQ+ rights and identity, Pride Day will likely draw more than last year’s estimated 1,200 to 2,000 attendees. Expect at least 30 booths from local non-profits and LGBTQ organizations, lots of food, and a full line-up of stage events. Again MCd by Drea Diprete, entertainment includes True Reckoning, Drag Story Time, and a Drag Show with Katrina Duall and Friends. You’ll also discover a huge kids zone, a quiet and relaxing sensory zone, and more beads, face paint, glitter, colorful dress, smiles, and hugs than you can imagine.

Plans for Pride weekend continue to evolve. This year includes a Saturday evening Afterparty and, if all goes well, a sea-parting LGBTQ+ Sailing Regatta on Sunday. Rumors that the Salish Sea will turn lavender for the day remained unsubstantiated at press time.

For the latest information, check the Production Alliance website [] and gudlife, the Peninsula’s weekly LGBTQ+ mailing (write to join the confidential mailing list). Hope to see you there.

Jason Victor Serinus is a critic of culture, music, and audio. The oldest member of the WA State LGBTQ Commission, he’s also a professional whistler. Column tips and ideas: