Over the last few weeks, a number of disturbing occurrences have marred the usual festivity of Seattle’s LGBTQ community during Pride Month. Appearances of right wing fascist groups like the Proud Boys on the streets of Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle over the last two weeks and their stated intent to counter march during the Friday, June 28th Seattle Trans Pride March have rattled community members and caused concern for event planners trying to keep all Pride events safe and secure for participants.
More worry was raised over this past weekend as Pride flags were ripped down from several gay bars in the area including Capitol Hill’s The Crescent Lounge and at bars in White Center including the just opened Swallow Bar and The Lumber Yard. The flags were all quickly replaced and re-installed.
Even more disturbing was the removal and theft of recently installed artwork in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill that was part of the AIDS Memorial Pathway Project. Pieces by area artists Gabriel Stromberg, Pete Rush, and Timothy White Eagle were removed over the weekend just a few days after their unveiling last Thursday, June 13th, at this month’s Capitol Hill Art Walk.
White Eagle, an acclaimed artist and designer who works with performance artist/playwright Taylor Mac, commented on Instagram about the thefts and stated that his pieces were made to honor friends lost to AIDS and were designed to be temporary works that would gradually dissolve in the elements and he wryly noted about the theft: “The project is about loss…what could be more perfect than to have them taken without warning?”
Seattle Police Department are investigating the incidents while the community prepares to be more vigilant during the next 11 days of area Pride events.