The organisers of Taking B(l)ack Pride in Seattle have said they will charge white people a ‘reparation fee’ to attend the event scheduled for Saturday, June 26, 2021. 

The announcement was backed by the official Seattle Pride as well as the local human rights commission, but one group tried to claim that it was a case of “reverse discrimination”.

An attempt by Capitol Hill Pride organisers to claim “reverse discrimination” against the organisers of the Taking B(l)ack Pride event – Trans Woman Of Color Solidarity Network,  blew up spectacularly in their faces. 

Several people, including candidates for the Seattle mayoral elections, announced that they were cancelling their planned appearances at the Capitol Hill Pride event, which is also scheduled for this weekend, according to the Seattle Gay Scene

Reparation Fee

Seattle Pride, organises the city’s largest LGBTQI+ Pride event, but like the previous year, is organising virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A separate in-person Pride event is being organised on Saturday by Capitol Hill Pride organisers Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson. 

TWOCSN along with Alphabet Alliance of Color and Queer the Land announced another event to be held on Saturday in Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix Park for Black and Brown Queer Trans folks. 

The organisers said that the event was free, “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 event raised the ire of Capitol Hill Pride. LeFevre and Lipson, shot off a letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission claiming, “we consider this reverse discrimination in its worse form,” and sought an investigation into “ethics and election violation.””

The commission threw out the complaint saying the issue did not violate any of LeFevre and Lipson’s human rights. 

“Black trans and queer peoples are among the most marginalized and persecuted peoples with the LGBTQIA2S+ community. 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,” the commission stated. 

Support For Taking B(l)ack Pride

Other organisers came out in support of the Taking B(l)ack Pride event. “Reparations are an equitable way to redistribute resources, and Seattle Pride supports the organizers of Taking B(l)ack Pride in their efforts and why they are charging admission to non-Black folks,” said the official Seattle Pride. 

The United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliances said they were “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.”  

Seattle Pride, also chided LeFevre and  Lipson for causing a “serious level of danger and harm to Black folks who will be celebrating Pride (something that only exists because of Black trans women) by drawing the attention of white supremacists and more.” 

Trans Woman Of Color Solidarity network said in a Facebook post that they had been receiving “threats of violence from cis het and cis gay white men”. Taking B(l)ack Pride organisers said this was the second year that they were asking white attendees to the event to pay a “reparation fee”. 

Capitol Hill Pride faced calls for a boycott of its event and many Seattle mayoral candidates pulled out, saying they were cancelling their planned appearances at the event. 

“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.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,” said candidate M. Lorena Gonzalez. 

Facing a backlash, LeFevre and Lispon issued a groveling apology. “We apologize for the inquiry to the City of Seattle regarding Taking B(l)ack Pride, it was not meant to be an attack or divide but to ensure equality for all,” they claimed in a press release.


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