PHOTO ESSAY: Stories of Pride

Along Seattle’s Pride parade route, people from all different backgrounds and beliefs gathered to celebrate one of the most colorful days in the city.

Each story—unique, individual, and telling. From young children to grandparents, these are some of the people KING 5 met during the parade.

Savanah Whalen attended pride for the first time this year.

“I just love how everyone’s free to be whoever they want to be and there’s no hate.”

She loved watching the drag queens during the parade.

“Pride means being open, being proud of who you are, and not letting anyone discriminate you,” she said. “It is a great experience. It’s great to be around a whole bunch of people that get you and love you for who you are.”

Nathanial Castronovo’s friend invited him to Seattle Pride for the first time this year so he went with his girlfriend.

Here’s what he had to say.

Nakayela Gonzales went to this year’s pride parade with a group of friends. She’s been several years in the past.

“This is the most accepting place you’ll ever come to. Everyone comes here with a story,” she said. “Pride for me is just about accepting who I am, different walks of life, just being free and loving it all.”

And if you haven’t been to pride before: “This is a time when you can be yourself. Hang out, have fun, and live life,” she said.

Dianne Loschky and her husband live downtown. This wasn’t their first year at the parade, as they’ve lived here since 1969.

“We’re very liberal Democrats and we’ve always felt that gays should have just as much to say about anything as the general public,” she said. “Having pride in who you are as a human being—it doesn’t matter how different you are than somebody else. It’s how you feel about yourself. That’s the important thing.”

Glory Busic went to her first pride this year with her dad.

“This is my first time to Pride because I came out to my parents and friends a little over a year ago,” she said.

She described the parade as “really positive, colorful, loud.”

“Pride means positivity and supporting everyone and people outside of the LGBTQ community too,” she said.

Katie Reyerson came to Seattle with her parents and brother from Anacortes. This was her third year in attendance.

“I’m recently out as a lesbian and it’s just always meant a lot, but now it means even more to me as someone who has had problems in the past due to my orientation,” she said.

But what is pride?

“Pride is just – it’s full of energy,” she said. “I guess it’s just like, so happy… everyone is just excited and happy to be who they are.”

This is what it means to Katie: “Pride means accepting myself and others around me – and just being willing to – just – self acceptance and hope for the future.”

Madeleine McKenna and two of her friends celebrated Seattle Pride this year. This is what she had to say about the event.

Lisa Forrest, with her son and wife, came from Rainier for Sunday’s pride parade.

“I am proud of who I am and I am proud of this whole Washington state,” she said, admiring the colorful floats going by.

“I brought my son and my pregnant wife,” she said. “I want my son to grow up in a world where we are accepted as a family just like everyone else.”

And what about that heat?

“I don’t think I’d miss it. I think if it rained, snow, sleet, or whatever. Coming to have a good time and support my lifestyle.”

Carolyn Hall works at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Attending the pride parade is a tradition for her.

“I support everybody and the LGBTQ needs a whole city to come out and say ‘hooray’,” she said.

She’s a fourth-generation Seattle native.

“Pride, to me, means loving everybody in your community but also encouraging everybody.”

The heat didn’t stop her, either.

“It’s hot. But, you just deal with it. We have fans and hats and umbrellas and cold water.” “I’m just committed to being here. Plus, you know, it’s just joy in a really difficult, difficult year, and it’s so important to keep us going, you also have to have fun and joy.”

Over the years, she’s seen the parade evolve.

“I like seeing communities I know,” she said. “But I think seeing the children—the families—because that sure isn’t something I saw when I was growing up. The kids–just—this is our family. And so it’s wonderful … I’m 65, so I’ve been around to see things open up and change.”

Kevin Stewart moved to Seattle a few years ago from the New York City area. It was his boyfriend’s first pride this year.

“It’s overwhelming,” he said of the atmosphere. “It’s really wonderful. When you come from New York Pride, it’s ginormous—like you’re always swept up in it. But Seattle always has this kinda family feel, even though it is a great city, and it’s – it’s heartwarming.”

He enjoyed seeing the different groups of people in attendance to the parade.

“I would never miss it,” he said. It’s one of those things where—as you go on, and you start to see the younger generation, they’re a lot more open, they’re a lot more expressive, so being here and having pride and saying like, ‘this is who we are…this is what we do’.”

Mark Brown traveled to Seattle with his wife from Connecticut. They lived in Seattle a couple years ago, and this was their third year of attending the parade.

“This is the best city in the world. It’s the most accepting city–everybody loves each other. It’s a great place,” he said. “Seattle Pride is – it’s the atmosphere. It’s the vibration here. Everybody is open to each other—accepting. It’s a great place to be.”

He and his wife had umbrellas, water, and more to beat the heat.

“This is almost tradition,” he said. “Every year it’s hot, we get sunburnt, but we have fun. It’s so much fun… we don’t mind at all.”

The two have friends of every color, race, and sexual orientation.

“Pride means total acceptance of each other—period—no matter your race, gender, or sexual orientation may be—it’s pure acceptance and love.”

Sophie Hinz and two of her friends came from Fox Island for Sunday’s parade.

“This is my first year coming and I just really wanted to give some support because this year has been kind of a crazy one for me and figuring out who I am,” she said.

She said the parade was colorful, awesome, and “free.”

“Pride is being who you are and not being afraid of what people think of you and embracing oneself and one’s individuality, regardless of the situation.”

Abby Ross came to the parade with her boyfriend at the invite of a friend.

“It’s just like such a great thing to celebrate, like love is love, so I don’t understand why it’s not something to celebrate,” she said.

It was her first Seattle Pride.

“I would just say it’s a celebration of being who you are, whether you’re gay, straight, lesbian… whatever. It’s a happy place – it’s here to just celebrate love and who you are.”

Charlie Cahillcame to the parade with his old college roommate, best friend, and business partner. It was their first year at Seattle pride.

“It’s a pretty positive experience,” he said. “I was really surprised how much diversity’s here… how much acceptance is here.”

He loves new experiences and said Pride is a place where people can feel accepted and be themselves.

“Regardless of what your religion, your ethnic background, whatever—I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings,” he said. “We’reall just looking to be loved, and accepted, and understood for who it is that we are.”

© 2017 KING-TV

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