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June 4, 2015 Comments (11) Views: 5763 Controversy, News, Seattle Pride 2015, Seattle PrideFest

Guns, Gays & PrideFest: An Expression of Freedom Or A Recipe For Disaster?

"Sparkles" is the pseudonyum for the local organizer of a queer "Open Carry" demonstration being planned for PrideFest Sunday, June 28th. Photo Courtesy of Sparkles.

“Sparkles” is the pseudonym for the local organizer of a queer “Open Carry” demonstration being planned for PrideFest Sunday, June 28th. Photo Courtesy of Sparkles.

“Liberty With Pride” an LGBTQ Open Carry Walk At PrideFest Sparks Discussion Over 2nd Amendment Rights

On Monday, June 1, a new event invitation popped up on Facebook for a Pride event to happen on Seattle Pride Sunday, June 28, 2015. Nothing unusual about that; there are dozens of events being produced all over the metropolitan area. But, there was something different about this event…actually, quite a few things made this invite stand out from your typical LGBTQ pride party, show, or rally.
“Liberty With Pride” Open Carry Walk Hosted By *Sparkles* was the name of the event and it’s scheduled to happen at Seattle Center while PrideFest is happening with tens of thousands of people in attendance. The invite read:

We’re here, we’re queer, and we refuse to be victims.

The amount of violence towards the LGBT+ community is unacceptable. Especially in this day and age.

I am calling on all of my LGBT+ brothers, sisters, and everyone in between, as well as our allies, to come do an open carry walk during Pride.

Let’s walk around the International Fountain, and surrounding areas, as a big group and hand out flyers and talk to others, encouraging them to refuse to be victims. Let’s show them guns are not scary and are a very great tool for defending oneself against a basher.

After a few laps, we can break off into smaller teams and enjoy the festivities. That way, everyone gets to have fun, and we will hit the booths as well and hand out flyers.

I look forward to having an EPIC pride with you all this year!

*Sparkles*

While “Sparkles” apparently only invited like minded friends to the event, word leaked out and some people opposed to the idea of guns being openly carried throughout a festival with thousands of people in attendance, raised objections in the comments on the invite. It was noted that Seattle Center doesn’t allow weapons in the park or in park buildings. Sparkles replied:

1. Open carry state
2. The fountain is a public park
3. Those “rules” hold NO legal weight
4. We will not comply

According to the comment thread, both PrideFest and its president, Egan Orion are aware of the event. Sparkles remarked that the group would contact PrideFest and work in unison with them and Seattle Police Department to ensure a safe demonstration.

We contacted Sparkles via Facebook to find out some background on the event and the person behind it and they agreed to be interviewed.

SGS: Who is “Sparkles”? What’s your background? Your FB page claims you are an entertainer. Does Sparkles have a “backstory”?

Sparkles: “Sparkles” is my nickname, I gave it to myself. I am a Marine, an American, and a Patriot. Why did I name myself Sparkles? Because I Sparkle and NO ONE can ever take that away. The reason I put my FB page as entertainer is because that page is going to be the hub for all of my channels. I intend on creating multiple Youtube channels and posting humorous videos in different genres.

SGS: Will you eventually reveal your legal name?

Sparkles: Due to escaping an abusive family, I am in the process of changing my name, so probably not.

SGS: What’s your gun background? Did you grow up with guns? Are you ex-military? Are you associated with any gun groups?

Sparkles: I bought my first gun when I was 18. It was a Marlin 795 .22LR rifle that I still have. When I was 19, I went into the Marine Corps as an infantry man. I served for 13 months until I destroyed my knee and got processed out. I don’t subscribe to one particular group, I will stand with anyone who stands for TRUE liberty.

SGS: Would you describe yourself as a Libertarian?

Sparkles: I am VERY libertarian.

SGS: Are you gay? Bi? What’s your connection to the LGBTQ community?

Sparkles: I am biamorous, pansexual, bigender. I realized I was pansexual two years ago and came out the next day. I’ve never hidden who I am because I did not destroy my body, and my brothers did not die, for us to live in fear. Then I went through another self discovery phase where I realized I am bigender.

SGS: Do you have a pronoun preference?

Sparkles: My preferred pronoun usually goes with how I look. If I am having a masculine day, I prefer to go by “he” and when I feel Sparkly, I prefer “she”.

SGS: Why do you want to stage this Open Carry at PrideFest? What do you hope to accomplish?

Sparkles: I wanted to stage this during PrideFest because that is the single biggest gathering of Washington’s LGBT+ Community I can think of, and I wanted to get a group to walk around and pass flyers and engage people in conversation to encourage them to learn their rights and to take responsibility for their own safety. The amount of violence towards the LGBT+ community is completely unacceptable, ESPECIALLY in this day and age. What I hope to accomplish is to start a conversation. I want the LGBT+ community to start talking about our own defense, I want to hear the LGBT+ community refuse to be victims.

SGS: Do you have concerns on how this might play out? Folks walking around with guns WILL freak out people attending the event. Will you and your group wear something to identify yourselves as queer gun owners?

Sparkles: I knew going in, that given the bias against guns in the LGBT+ community, I’d have my work cut out. My only concern at this point is with some people at Pride not liking our presence and becoming violent with us. Although, I am going to be in contact with SPD and the event organizers to come up with contingencies to cover anything that might go awry. The group will be encouraged to dress in rainbow attire, though it will not be required. We will also have Pride flags, American flags, Gadsden flags, and flyers to pass out. I think it will be VERY hard for people to not realize we’re part of the LGBT+ community.

I truly look forward to seeing a big crowd of LGBT+ AND ally open carriers engaging in conversation with the PrideFest attendees and having a GREAT time. The Patriot community has been VERY welcoming and accepting of me and my Sparkliness, it will be good to see them there standing with us. As well as supporting us, and our rights to not be bashed.

SGS: I’ll be honest; your invite was rather alarming. It’s rather a relief to see that you’re very articulate and I think your motives are pure.

But, what concerns ME and I think concerns other people, is the fact that someone who is actually not as pure of heart, could tag along and cause problems. OR, someone who actually hates queer people could use this as an opportunity to blend in and cause something bad to happen.

How can we make sure THAT doesn’t happen?

Sparkles: Simple, if it happens, we will police our own. We WILL NOT allow others to come there in our name to cause trouble or bash people. As I said, I will be in contact with SPD and the event organizers, and we will come up with exact contingencies for those types of situations. Unfortunately, that threat is ALWAYS present no matter where you are, so we have to be vigilant. If people come and try to cause trouble or incite fear, they will be handed over to SPD accordingly.

We asked PrideFest president Egan Orion to respond but he wasn’t able to comment on the record but did say the situation was being reviewed by PrideFest and Seattle Center.

Update at 9:51am: Egan Orion, president of PrideFest issued this statement:

Seattle PrideFest is a big proponent of individual freedoms, but we can’t support an open-carry gun rally on the busiest day in Downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center throughout the entire year, where a collision of people, alcohol, and religious protesters bring excitement and tension to our City streets. With the expected Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, this will likely be a busier year than most, and will bring out more protesters. Adding an open carry rally to this incendiary mix is irresponsible and detracts from the LGBTQ focus of the day’s events. We are reviewing the matter with Seattle Center and our board of directors, but since we’ve rented the Center for our exclusive use that day (on behalf of the community), know that anybody who open carries at the event will be peacefully asked to leave the festival grounds.

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11 Responses to Guns, Gays & PrideFest: An Expression of Freedom Or A Recipe For Disaster?

  1. Avatar Nathan s says:

    You know me Sparkles. We have stood together many times for liberty. Ignore the haters. This is a great idea. Go forth and let none tread on you

  2. I was one of the gentleman who manned the “Open Carry” table at the 2014 Pridefest in Bellingham. We were well armed and no one was injured, none of the firearms jumped out of their holsters and went off, and nobody had a heart attack. We were well received by all and we will be supporting Bellingham Pride again this year. Stand up for yourselves. Do not allow yourself to be a victim.

  3. Avatar John Havercroft says:

    Well, judging from the update, looks like we are going to have to limit our attendance to Bellingham where they believe in the right to self defense as much as the right to be gay.

  4. Avatar John Havercroft says:

    Mr. Orion and PrideFest Directors,

    Let me get this “straight.” I openly carry a firearm in my daily life in public to protect myself and my family with should we be attacked by a criminal. An added benefit is that it provides an image to the public that it should be normal for a person to have the desire and the means to protect themselves and there loved ones. So you are asking me to change the way I normally dress in public, expressing the basic human right of self protection, in order to support your quest to be considered normal? Hmmm…… but that’s OK, I understand. America has a long history of equality for me, but not for thee.

  5. Avatar Daniel Adams says:

    Sounds like they don’t believe in Civil Rights.

  6. John Havercroft: That was an amazing reply that I know I will be asking that day, should they approach me. Expect to be loosely quoted on video. LOL

  7. Avatar Kelly says:

    These guys are clearly working to destroy and sabotage any goodwill the gay community has built up during the last 40 years. I smell a tea-party rat.

  8. Avatar John Havercroft says:

    Can you be more specific, Squirrelbutts?

  9. Avatar TheButterZone says:

    If 40 years of built-up goodwill isn’t enough to stop getting bashed…
    It’s well past time to act in self-defense against aggressive violent bigots. Watch bigots’ aggression melt away once they are faced with their own mortality.

  10. […] attention from fringe groups/individuals earlier this year ended up not being of much importance. A call for queer gun owners to gather for an Open Carry demonstration at PrideFest this past June failed to result in an actual event, while a local man’s desperate cry for […]