Attendees at Seattle’s downtown Pride parade in 2016, waving rainbow flags and smiling from behind gate-type barricades separating the crowd from the street

Celebrate Pride 2023, South End Style

by Jas Keimig

Last Updated on May 30, 2023, 4:13 pm.

Pride is the best time of year. 

Not only is it a time of celebration, but it’s also a moment for the community to come together and revel in our strength and resilience. Though we are only halfway through 2023, the Human Rights Commission estimates that as of May 2 of this year, there have already been a staggering 540 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced by state legislatures across the country, with more than 220 bills specifically targeting trans and nonbinary people. It’s more important than ever that we show up for one another in whatever ways we can — whether that’s through mutual aid, on the streets, through collective care, or during Pride. We recommend checking out the Emerald’s guide to supporting local and national BIPOC-led trans organizations. 

Thanks to Seattle’s large LGBTQ community — 10.7% as of 2020!!!! — we have a lot to be proud of, and Pride events throughout summer reflect that. For Seattle, Pride typically kicks off in June, with most events centered around downtown and Capitol Hill, the city’s historically gay neighborhood. The 17th annual PrideFest will take place on Capitol Hill on June 24 and at Seattle Center on June 25, with the massive Seattle Pride Parade taking over downtown on June 25. However, lots of Communities of Color and places in the South End will be celebrating Pride throughout June, July, and August.

Below is a chronological roundup of Pride events happening throughout the South End or events centering Communities of Color:

May 28: — Pride ASIA Fest

Close out Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander month and get a jumpstart on Pride at the same time by heading to Pride ASIA on May 28. Hosted by drag queen and Pride ASIA founder Aleksa Manila and Seattle drag legend Gaysha Starr, this celebration of the AANHPI LGBTQ+ community is now in its 11th year. Head down to Hing Hay Park to see performances by drag queens like Whisper Watershadow and Duchess Drew Nightshade, musician Sepanta Bahri, and David Leong’s Northwest Kung Fu & Lion Dance.

June 2–4: Burien Pride

Burien Pride unofficially kicks off on June 1 with the raising of the Pride flag at Burien City Hall, giving those rainbow colors a hearty salute before engaging in a weekend of LGBTQIA+ activities. On Friday, June 2, there’s a Burien Pride Street Dance from 5–11 p.m. featuring DJ Disco Vinnie. On Saturday, take the family to Burien Pride’s all-day festival replete with music from bands like The Nasty Habits and Kim Archer, as well as a kids’ area in Burien Town Square. There, you can also enter a raffle to win this beautiful Pride quilt stitched by Kellie Bassen. And cap off the weekend with Drag Queen Bingo and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.

June 2: Renton Pride

Renton Pride has events for families and the 21+ crowd. At the Renton Pavilion Events Center from 5:30–8 p.m., a free (!!!) all-ages event brings together local artisans and other LGBTQIA+ vendors and organizations, with an unannounced special guest slated to perform. For those looking for a little more adult fun that night, $35 will get you a ticket to Renton Pride’s Sip & Strut Wine Walk, which weaves its way through businesses in downtown Renton featuring a sample of local Washington wines. Make sure to have a carb-y dinner! Throughout the rest of the month, you can use your Renton Pride Passport by getting stamps at affiliate businesses and nonprofits.

June 3: White Center Pride Street Festival

For the past several years, White Center Pride has really been poppin’ off, and this year is no different. On June 3, head to downtown White Center for an all-day street festival. The event opens at 11 a.m. for the benefit of families and noise-sensitive folks, with street merchants opening at noon. Find a good spot to watch the Puppy Pride PAWrade Parade before checking out what the 100-plus vendors have to offer. Throughout the evening, musicians, DJs, and performers like DJ Baby Van Beezly, singer and producer Taylar Elizza Beth, and drag queen Queen Andrew Scott will take over the main stage to get you into the Pride spirit. 

June 3–25: Brown PRIDE Art Show

White Center’s Chicana/o Latine-focused art space, Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery, is hosting an opening reception on June 3 for its Brown PRIDE Art Show. The exhibition features the works of seven queer Latine artists: Alena Prendez, Carlos Martinez, Dia Knight, Eileen Jimenez, Jo Cosme, Maribel Galvan, and Vaquero Azul. If you can’t make the June 3 opening, fear not — Brown PRIDE runs through June 25. 

June 4: Columbia City Beatwalk — Pride Edition

During the summer months, Columbia City Beatwalk goes down every second Sunday of the month. Organized by Tish Gallow, Kate Bond, and Jardea Kane, the event is a lively celebration of the neighborhood with tons of live music and vendors. And, for the first time ever, Columbia City Beatwalk will officially host a Pride edition of the event on June 4. The day will feature musicians, drag queens, and other LGBTQ+ performers as well as vendors. Check out Victor Simoes’ article for more information on Columbia City Beatwalk and its organizers.

June 10: The Black Trans Comedy Showcase

Ok, yes, this is technically on Capitol Hill, but this event is too good not to recommend. The doll, the legend, the icon, the moment, Ms. TS Madison, will be hosting the Black Trans Comedy Showcase at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian theater on June 10. Portland’s Mx. Dahlia Belle and Chicago’s KJ Whitehead are providing comic relief for the evening, while Spokane’s Beyonce Black St James will take the stage as a special guest performer (bring cash to tip!). Masks are required, and there will be ASL interpretation, courtesy of Malcome and RaeRae. Read more about the event in an upcoming Emerald article.

June 10: OL Reign Pride Night

Sports gays and allies, now is your time to shine. Don your OL Reign jersey and rainbow sweatband to go scream at the top of your lungs in support of the soccer team down at Lumen Field. On June 10, the Reign will be facing off against the Kansas City Current and are trusting in the spirit of Pride to push them over the top. Bring signs in support of queer Reign players, like Megan Rapinoe, Quinn, Jess Fishlock, Tziarra King, and Nikki Stanton. 

June 16: — Bongga Disco

Drawing on the liberatory history of disco, Bongga Disco’s Pride celebration brings together the local Filipinx, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ community to “gather in a safe space and openly celebrate music, art, and queer culture during Seattle Pride.” Peruse the wares of Filipinx, BIPOC, and queer vendors at their indoor retail and art market. Then settle in for their disco-themed arts and entertainment program featuring musicians, dancers, and singers of Filipinx, BIPOC, and queer experience. Come dressed in disco attire to participate in their costume contest, then cap off the night sweating out your edges on the dance floor. They love to love you, baby!

June 23 — Sho-Nuff Pride

From the brain of Seattle DJ extraordinaire Kween Kaysh comes Sho-Nuff, a new party centering queer BIPOC fun and pleasure with a curated drink selection, music, and a whole lot of dancing. And, fresh out of the gate, Sho-Nuff is taking on Pride for what’s bound to be a sultry time. While more details are yet to be revealed, their last party sold out quick, so be sure to follow their Instagram for more updates.

June 23: Trans Pride Seattle

Start the Seattle Pride weekend with style at Trans Pride Seattle in the Volunteer Park Amphitheater. This year, like last, there will be no march as part of the event. “After making the difficult decision to not hold a march for TPS ’22, we were reminded of the benefits in not having any police presence at TPS (as is required by city law to hold a march) or navigate the red-tape of securing the necessary permits,” it wrote on its website. But you can still count on tons of trans vendors, performers, and food for a night celebrating the trans and gender-diverse community.

July: Tacoma Pride

Tacoma celebrates Pride the second Saturday of July, but the festivities begin on June 30 with the Pride flag raising at the Tacoma Dome. On July 8 from 12–6 p.m. there will be an all-ages street festival with tons of vendors, a beer garden, as well as queer and BIPOC performers on ALMA Tacoma’s main stage. Later that afternoon is Tacoma Pride Block Party, a 21+ ticketed event hosted by Macy Marcs and Anita Spritzer and featuring a DJ set from the one and only Monét X Change, and performances from drag queens, like Cali The Stalli and Kristie Champagne. Throughout the month, Tacoma Pride is also hosting a queer interfaith celebration, John Waters’ Hairspray in People’s Park, and a PRIDE pARTy at Tacoma Art Museum before closing out Pride with an all-ages event at ALMA Tacoma on July 29. 

Aug. 9–13: Pacific Northwest Black Pride

Now in its sixth year, Pacific Northwest Black Pride is going down from August 17–20 at POCAAN in Columbia City. For the 2023 edition, the theme is “One Community, Many Faces,” which is a “testament to our principles of being unapologetically Black in our positions, where we are committed to collectively and courageously working for freedom and justice for all Black LGBTQIA+ people.” For the weekend, you can expect workshops, a festival, as well as performances from Black LGBTQ performers. 

Aug. 11: Taking B(l)ack Pride

Right in the thick of summer is Taking B(l)ack Pride, an event that came together after the 2020 Seattle Black Lives Matter protests as a way of specifically centering queer and trans Black voices. This year, Othello Park is hosting the Taking B(l)ack Pride festivities. While details have yet to be announced, the event is sure to feature an excellent lineup of performers, vendors, and musicians dedicated to liberation and celebration of the Black queer community. Follow the official Instagram account for forthcoming announcements. 

Aug. 20: Alki Beach Pride

Take in the briny sea air, feel the sun on your face and the sand between your toes, and celebrate Alki Beach Pride on Aug. 20. The family-friendly annual celebration takes place along Alki Avenue and inside participating businesses along the beach. While the details on the exact performers and vendors are yet to be announced, you can for sure expect a day of sun, music, food, and celebrations of all things LGBTQIA+. Bring your beach chair and a picnic blanket to enjoy the day with your chosen family.

Jas Keimig is a writer and critic based in Seattle. They previously worked on staff at The Stranger, covering visual art, film, music, and stickers. Their work has also appeared in Crosscut, South Seattle Emerald, i-D, Netflix, and The Ticket. They also co-write Unstreamable for Scarecrow Video, a column and screening series highlighting films you can’t find on streaming services. They won a game show once.

📸 Featured Image: Attendees at Seattle’s downtown Pride parade in 2016. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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