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Flying the flag at Bellingham Pride

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The powers that be at Bellingham Pride are well aware that many similar events happening throughout the country take place in June, which is fitting, as that is National Gay and Lesbian Month.

However, as Bellingham is geographically located in a region where summer doesn’t typically begin in earnest until July—and presumably because they’re located in a burg that prides itself on doing things a little differently—somewhere along the line organizers decided to move the days-long event to July, when the weather is predictably more pleasant.

But while Bellingham Pride’s calendar dates may differ from those of its counterparts in states from Florida to California, one thing remains the same: those who take part are committed to celebrating their individuality and exercising their freedoms.

And, as this is the first year the event will be taking place since same-sex marriage in Washington state became legal—and since the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned sections of the Defense of Marriage Act—part of the celebrations that will take place at a variety of venues July 12-14 throughout town will no doubt be focused on how far gays, lesbians and bisexuals in this country have come in the 14 years since the first Bellingham Pride.

While it’s not on the lineup on the Bellingham Pride website, a Wed., July 10 event, “LGBT and Religion: Honoring Stories from the Soul,” will act as the unofficial precursor to the events that will follow. At the gathering, which begins at 7pm at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham (2401 Cornwall Ave.), six members of the local LGBT community will engage in a panel discussion focusing on their journeys regarding faith traditions.

After that, things take a turn for the festive. From 7-10pm Fri., July 12, those 21 and over can attend a “Prime Time Kickoff Dance” at Rumors Cabaret (1119 Railroad Ave.), while the all-ages set can head to a “B-Proud Dance” starting at 8pm at Love to Move Studioz (311 E. Holly St.).

Come Sat., July 13, a Pride Family Picnic begins at noon at Maritime Heritage Park. Families of every shape, stripe and configuration are welcome to attend, and cash donations for food are all it will cost you. An annual Pride Drag Show begins at 6pm that night at Rumors, followed by a Rumors Pride Celebration.

It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that all of the events happening through the weekend aren’t just for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Straight allies and those who believe gay rights are civil rights are also encouraged to attend.

That ethos applies to the Pride Parade, as well. Join your fellow citizens before noon Sun., July 14 to line up at Bellingham High School, and then follow the rainbow-hued flotilla as it wends throughout the streets of downtown before coming to rest at Railroad Avenue’s Depot Market Square.

The Pride Festival, which continues until 4pm that day, will feature various vendors, activities for kids, appearances by local and state dignitaries, and, if all goes according to the plan, a day full of sunshine and welcoming temperatures.

But even if it’s not a perfect day where the weather is concerned, don’t let that stop you from coming to show your support. Be proud of where you live and who you live with—whomever that happens to be.

ICU
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