Seattle gay pride event, sanctioned by city, charges ‘reparations fee’ to ‘white allies, their accomplices’

A gay pride event in Seattle is charging white people a “reparations fee” if they want to attend this year while BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) attendees are welcome free of charge.

The group organizing the June 26 event apparently has the support of Seattle City Council president and mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez and the Seattle Human Rights Commission, which responded after Capitol Hill Pride filed a complaint with the commission over the exclusionary and penalizing policy based on race.

That complaint was denied by the SHRC which asserted last week that the event, to be held in Jimi Hendrix Park, did not violate “human rights.”

Organizers for the Taking B(l)ack Pride event claim that everyone is welcome to attend, however, “white allies and accomplices” will be required to pay the reparations fee, assessed on a sliding scale of $10 to $50 depending on the ability of the person to pay. They do not explain how that is determined.

The event page on Facebook reads:

****All are free to attend HOWEVER this is a BLACK AND BROWN QUEER TRANS CENTERED, PRIORITIZED, VALUED, EVENT.
White allies and accomplices are welcome to attend but will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee that will be used to keep this event free of cost for BLACK AND BROWN Trans and Queer COMMUNITY. ****

 

The legalities of the fee are allegedly being challenged. as the festivities are to be held in the park owned by the city of Seattle.

Since the Seattle Municipal Code pointedly prohibits racial discrimination, critics are questioning race-based admission fees. And in response, the organizers of the event are calling that criticism “casual violence.”

Taking B(l)ack Pride is hosted by a number of social justice-oriented groups. These include Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, Alphabet Alliance of Color, and Queer the Land.

The event is being promoted as an opportunity to amplify “the voices, narratives, and contributions of black queer and trans voices.” The listing for the gathering claims they will be “centering who we are and what we need to feel empowered, joyful, and heard.”

According to Seattle Municipal Code (18.12.280): “It is unlawful for any person occupying or using any park or recreation facility for any event, activity or exhibition open to the public, whether or not under a permit and whether or not an admission or entrance fee is charged, to deny to any other person the full use and enjoyment of such park and recreation facility because of race…”

Ironically, the Capitol Hill Pride Rally and March, which banned gay and straight police officers from attending their event, are criticizing the reparations fee.

Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, the organizers behind Capitol Hill Pride, submitted a complaint about the reparations fee to the Seattle Human Rights Commission, which shared it on Twitter. The SHRC is ostensibly a far-left, activist group that advises Seattle on human rights issues. Capitol Hill Pride is surprisingly calling the proposed fees “reverse discrimination.”

“It has come to our attention that an event called Taking B(lack) Pride at the Jimi Hendrix public park June 26th is charging whites only admission as reparations. We consider this reverse discrimination in its worst form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile emails,” the letter from Capitol Hill Pride reads.

“Additionally,” the letter noted, “we would like you to investigate the event as a possible ethics and elections violation as Taking B(lack) Pride is hosted by Nikki Etienne—a campaign manager for Nikkita Oliver who just recently dropped out of our event Capitol Hill Pride over non support of Take B(l)ack Pride.”

The SHRC vehemently disagrees with their assertion. They heatedly defended the event and are telling organizers to “examine the very real social dynamics and ramifications of this issue.”

“Black trans and queer peoples are among the most marginalized and persecuted peoples within the LGBTQIA2S+ community,” the commission stated. “They often face shame not only from the cis-heteronormative community, but within the queer community at large as well. In making the event free for the Black Queer community, the organizers of this event are extending a courtesy so rarely extended; by providing a free and safe space to express joy, share story, and be in community.”

Seattle City Council president and mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez also spoke up concerning the event. She also supported a ban on gay police officers at a pride event. Gonzales was so dramatically offended by LeFevre and Lipson that she canceled her scheduled appearance at Capitol Hill Pride.

“After a year that has taken an unbelievable toll on all of our communities, I was looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate Pride in person,” Gonzalez informed Seattle residents via Twitter. “However, I simply cannot support an organization that is trying to stop Black people in the LGBTQ+ community from celebrating Pride in the manner that they choose.”

“Our allies, supporters, and accomplices, pay our sliding scale donation ‘reparations” because they are able to understand that as folks with privilege, equity can start with making sure that people who possess various levels of marginalization are able to have spaces that center their needs, safety, identities, and contributions to LGBTQI culture,” Taking B(lack) Pride organizers posited.

They actually claim the reparations fee is not discriminatory because “Black and Brown LGBTQI folks do not possess the institutional power or enforcement of that power to be racially “‘oppressive’ to white folks.”

The organization specifically called out LeFevre. “She has decided to use her power and privilege as a white passing woman to elicit an emotional response & dangerous reaction from people like herself in order to create unsafe and potentially life threatening conditions for Black and Brown LGBTQIA folks,” the group contended.

“Charlette LaFevre acted out of entitlement and casual violence because she was mad, and felt that her hurt feelings gave her the right to make Black and Brown trans folks, sick and disabled folks, sex workers, migrants, elders, youth, and communities already under constant threat of violence and criminalization pay with their safety and potentially their lives. This is not ok. SUCH is the fallacy of LGBTQIA white and white passing liberals,” they added.

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