Seattle pride event asks Whites $50 'repatriation fee', critics shamed for 'reverse racism' claim

Two other pride event organizers who called the event 'reverse racism' and were attacked for not supporting Taking B(l)ack Pride

                            Seattle pride event asks Whites $50 'repatriation fee', critics shamed for 'reverse racism' claim
The banner for the Taking B(l)ack Pride event in Seattle (Facebook)

A pride event in Seattle is currently in the midst of a furious debate after it was announced White attendees would have to pay a 'repatriation fee'. While the event has got the support of mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez and the Seattle Human Rights Commission, others have slammed the event, including organizers of another pride event. 

Like racism, the LGBTQ community has been dragged into America's 'culture wars' as people have divided opinions. In April 2020, a straight pride event was mocked by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for not featuring any women. In May, we reported on the furious debate over kink and open depictions of sexuality at pride marches. Controversies aside, pride parades have also been targets for hate crimes. On June 19, a truck driver plowed into a parade in Wilton Manors, Florida


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Now, the latest controversy stems from the idea of 'repatriations', which many Black activists have long campaigned for. While most governments are yet to act on the matter, it appears as if a pair of pride organizers has decided to take the matter into their own hands. That's at the center of the storm in Seattle, which has now spread nationally. 

Members and allies of the LGBTQ community dance and celebrate at the end of the Pride Walk and Rally in Freedom Plaza on June 12, 2021, in Washington, DC (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


Pride event charges 'repatriation fees'

The event, called 'Taking B(l)ack Pride', is scheduled to take place on June 27, at Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle. According to the Facebook event page, it is being hosted by Queer The Land, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, and musician Momma Nikki. The event is being held to promote "the voices, narratives, and contributions of black queer and trans voices."

The page says the event is free to attend, but one post adds that "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 & BROWN Trans & Queer community." The fee will be charged on a sliding scale depending on an attendee's ability to pay. It's that fee that people are debating. According to Seattle's municipal code, "It is unlawful for any person occupying or using any park or recreation facility for any event, activity or exhibition... to deny to any other person the full use and enjoyment of such park and recreation facility because of race..." 

Nonetheless, the organizers appear to be going ahead with the event. The Facebook page is still up indicating the event will go ahead. Of the many people that objected to the event, two prominent names are Philip Lipson and Charlette LeFevre. 

Philip Lipson and Charlette LeFevre at the 2013 'Capitol Hill Pride Festival' in Seattle, Washington (Capitol Hill Pride)


Protesters shamed

Lipson and LeFevre, who are organizing another pride event called 'Capitol Hill Pride' wrote an email to the city. That email was publicly shared by the Seattle Human Rights Council (SHRC), an independent advisory commission to the city. In the mail, the duo wrote, "We consider this reverse discrimination in its worst form and we are being attacked for not supporting." They asked the city to review the event's admission policy, and "investigate the event as a possible ethics and elections violation."

The duo ended the mail by saying "we will never charge admission over the color of a person's skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values." The email was tweeted by the council, with their number on full display for everyone. 



That tweet sent of a storm of angry users who attacked Lipson and LeFevre for their stance. Lorena Gonzalez, a candidate for Mayor of Seattle tweeted she won't be attending the event, saying, "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." She wasn't the only one. Another person tweeted, "Do NOT support Capitol hill pride. They literally tried to get Taking B(l)ack Pride shut down for charging non-Black people to attend as reparations and EMAILED THE SEATTLE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ABOUT IT. The commission stands with Taking B(l)ack pride and so should you."




Others have slammed Taking B(l)ack Pride. One user tweeted, "@reggieaqui can you believe Seattle pride is making people pay white fee and reparations up to $50 to get into pride. This makes me want to never be a part of pride again." Another said, "So to fight racism, they deploy racism, the left makes the memes that are used against them. 'Reparations Fee' to Be Charged for White People at Seattle Gay Pride Event."




However, Lipson and LeFevre's email seems to have had the desired effect. Local journalist Jason Rantz tweeted that Taking B(l)ack Pride organizers have since scrubbed the mentions of repatriation fees on their event pages. At the time of publication, the original post on Facebook was still up though. Seattle Parks has also confirmed that the event is not permitted to Rantz, but they did not specify if any action would be taken against the organizers. 

It is unclear what the status of the event is as of now. While Seattle Parks said it is not permitted, the event's Facebook page is still up, with a large list of performances scheduled for the day. 

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