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Pride Event in Seattle To Charge White Attendees a 'Reparations Fee'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 22, 2021

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Stock image  (Source:Getty Images)

A Seattle Pride event will charge white attendees a "reparations fee" on a sliding scale between $10 and $50 — a move that has drawn both controversy and support, Newsweek reports.

The event, called "TAKING B(L)ACK PRIDE," is slated to launch June 26 at Jimi Hendrix Park and will be hosted by Queer the Land, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, and Alphabet Alliance of Color.

"The event is not associated with Seattle Pride, which will be hosting all of their events virtually this year," Newsweek said, citing a Seattle Pride spokesperson.

"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," per the event's description.

The event's page adds: "'TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE' is about lifting the voices, narratives, and contributions of black queer and trans voices. It's about centering who we are and what we need to feel empowered, joyful, and heard."

Organizers of Capitol Hill Pride sent a complaint to Seattle's Human Rights Commission, alleging "racism," Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported.

"We will never charge admission over the color of a person's skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values," reads a complaint made by Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson.

The Commission rejected the complaint and urged LeFevre and Lipson "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," reads the Commission's response, which notes that those communities "often face shame not only from the cis-heteronormative community, but within the queer community at large as well."

The Commission added: "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."

LeFevre and Lipson's complaint was also slammed by Washington's United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance.

In a Facebook post, the Alliance stated: "We are disgusted by the actions of Capitol Hill Pride Directors, Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, who felt emboldened to make claims of 'reverse racism' for the only community-led Pride event this year that truly centers and honors the kaleidoscopic lived experiences and truths of all Black, Indigenous, Brown, two-spirit, queer, trans, nonbinary, intersex, gender diverse loved ones that tend to the needs of our communities with deep care, tenderness, trust, and patience."

The blog also indicated that, in the wake of their complaint to the Commission, LeFevre and Lipson have faced "an ongoing wave of condemnation and cancellations."

"Dozens of scheduled participants including mayoral candidates, community groups, and entertainers for the planned festival in Cal Anderson Park have announced they will now not take part in the organizers' Capitol Hill Pride in-person events this weekend," the blog recounted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.