Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Pride Flag Represents More Than Gay Rights

It is time to let your Pride flag fly and join together to celebrate our colorful and diverse LGBTQ community! This has been a big year for Seattle and for Washington. In February of 2012 Washington State Passed the Marriage Equality Act, allowing same sex couples to get married and have the same rights as heterosexual couples. This is an exciting development for the gay community and hopefully will begin to change the hearts and minds of many who have seen this community through a negative lens. The gay community and it's allies have worked hard this year to see that make marriage equality a reality, but they battle for equality does not end there.

Not very many people know this, but the Seattle Space Needle has not always been very supportive to the gay community. Over the years they have selectively flown the pride flag during pride week in order to maintain a positive face for the community. However, The Wright family, who owns the Space Needle, is quite conservative. It could be argued that in the past they have only decided to fly the flag during times when they found it would be detrimental for business if they did not. This year, with all of the support for marriage equality, they were eager to meet with gay activist and supporters to let them know that they would like to fly the pride flag to show their "support." That was until they found out there were other necessary conditions attached to this agreement.

Another thing people may not know is the Seattle Space Needle has been going through a labor dispute with their employees for the last couple years. The administration has refused to give their employees fair contracts that would allow them fair working conditions, health care benefits, and job security.

The Seattle LGBT Commission and other LGBT organizers have been working with immigrant and workers rights organizers in Seattle to see that these discriminatory practices are stopped. These communities came together to write a letter in support of the fair labor agreement for the employees of the the Space Needle. They spoke about how the Pride flag represents more than the gay community. It stands for equal rights for all communities. They made it clear that they did not want the Pride flag to fly on a monument that was run on unfair practices and was promoting inequality.

When the Seattle LGBT Commission and other LGBT organizers came together to meet with Seattle Space Needle's management team, the Space Needle's management tried to placate these organizers by agreeing to fly the Pride flag if they would drop their support of the immigrant and labor rights communities. They refused to accept this underhanded offer and instead started a petition to encourage the Space Needle to do the right thing!

If you want to know more, check out the petition and help us get the Pride flag flying for the right reasons!

Although the Seattle Space Needle is definitely off the list of gay friendly places, for the moment. There are a lot of awesome organizations who are excited to support LGBTQ youth. Lambert House has some great resources for LGBTQ youth. Lambert House is a safe place for youth to be supported and evolved in the community, you can check out their website at
to find more LGTBQ youth resources and information about the house.

If you have any questions about more organizations or just want someone safe to talk to don't hesitate to call Teen Link at 1-866-TEENLINK (833-6546). It is open every night from 6-10pm.

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