The timing couldn’t be better for an all-Black kiki ballroom house to come to the spotlight. The Royal House of Noir is a house of talented and devoted performance artists and community activists in the greater Seattle area. There are currently a total of six members: house parents Lü (she/they/Queen), Chi (they/she/Queen), and CarLarans (he/they/King) and children Avery (they/he), Aísha (she/her/goddess), and Elle (she/her/duchess) Noir. These six individuals are taking the community by storm with their intentionality, mindfulness, and focus on community safety and liberation.
Despite a historic heatwave and serious security concerns, this year’s Taking B(l)ack Pride event continued on with huge success. On one of Seattle’s hottest days ever, hundreds gathered at Jimmy Hendrix Park to celebrate Pride Month, and specifically the contributions of BIPOC people in the LGBTQ rights movement, hence the name Taking B(l)ack Pride.
The event has become a nationally trending topic after disputes around a request for a reparation-based entrance fee system. But nothing could have stopped the second annual Taking B(l)ack Pride event. Black performers showed no sign of heat exhaustion while on stage and continued well after the sun set.
“I felt like I was at Brooklyn again at AfroPunk,” says one performer.
The term “Gay Pride,” coined by gay rights activist Thom Higgins in Minnesota, has become the most common way to articulate the many celebrations held during this month every year. In the U.S., Prides and festivals are usually held in the month of June to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations by the New York City Queer community protesting a violent raid of the Stonewall Inn and the ongoing brutality they were experiencing at the hands of the New York Police Department. Today, Pride Month is a time to celebrate the increased visibility of and continued desire for equality and self-affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community.
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
Hand-sized stickers bearing a rainbow-colored police badge are ubiquitous in storefront windows around Seattle. They are the calling card of the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) “Safe Place” program, a 6-year-old project that theoretically recruits business owners to provide shelter to victims of hate crimes and to report hate crimes to the department. The project doesn’t cost the department much — stickers, printed materials, and a single staff member are the only expenses. But whether it has made a difference for victims of hate crimes is still hard to discern.
by Raven Two Feathers in collaboration with Julie Keck
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
June is commonly recognized in the United States as Pride Month, a tight 30 days during which LGBTQIA+ folks, whom for brevity I’ll refer to as queer in this piece, are typically expected to embrace being out and proud. Before pandemic times, parades and throbbing beats and feather boas were abundant; corporations are still leaning hard on adding rainbow filters to their logos. However, not as many people know June is also Indigenous History Month in Canada which has bled into the U.S. through proximity and because the same genocidal tactics are happening on both sides of the border. This month lies at the intersection of queerness and Indigeneity, which is especially lovely, because so do many of my loved ones, including yours truly.
Osiyo, Sgeno, Nya:wëh sgë:nö’, Haa marúawe, ʔi, syaʔyaʔ. Hello, my name is Raven Two Feathers; I’m Cherokee, Seneca, Cayuga, and Comanche. I live on Coast Salish territory, commonly known as Seattle. I am from Pueblo, Diné, and Apache territory (Albuquerque, New Mexico). I’m an Emmy-award winning creator with a B.F.A. in film production, and most pertinent, I’m Two Spirit and trans masculine. No need to worry if this is the first time learning the term Two Spirit: I wrote a whole comic about my journey toward better understanding myself called Qualifications of Being. It includes a primer on what it means to be Two Spirit on page 25. You can read it here for free!
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
LGBTQIA+ small business owners have a lot to be proud of, from overcoming the barriers of being queer and out in the professional world, to navigating the year of pandemic shutdown that shocked the world. Despite it all, they keep going.
Historically, LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and spaces have been places of refuge, of rebellion, and the only places queer people could find other people like them. To this day, our communities gain so much from LGBTQIA+-owned small businesses. Queer business owners create safe, welcoming community spaces, donate profits to LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations, and queer children have role models to look up to.
LGBTQIA+-owned businesses contribute over $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy, creating good jobs and innovating industries, and building wealth in the LGBTQIA+ community, according to The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Take this opportunity to spend with pride and be intentional about giving money back to LGBTQIA+-owned small businesses.
This month, Intentionalist is teaming up with Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign, Seattle Mariners, and Seattle Kraken to encourage everyone to Spend With Pride. Upload your receipt from a local LGBTQIA+-owned business to Intentionalist’s website for a chance to win a Pride prize pack from your favorite sports team. If we hit our goal of $25,000, each team will make a donation to support local nonprofit Gender Diversity.
Here are three Seattle-area businesses where we encourage you to Spend With Pride!
This Friday, Dec. 11, the co-editors of The Black Trans Prayer Book (TBTPB), J Mase III and Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, along with other contributors, will share readings, perform, and connect at a Seattle Public Library online event. A collection over three years in the making, TBTPB was released in April and features poems, stories, rituals, spells, and theology by Black trans people of many faiths and spiritual traditions. At once a tool for reclaiming spirituality and healing from religious trauma, TBTPB is also an important contribution to liberation theology, which views religion as a means of liberation for oppressed people.