As Seattle and the region prepares for a month-long Pride celebration of our LGBTQIA+ community, anchored by a two-day Seattle Pride virtual "Resilience" event June 26 and 27, the Kraken, in partnership with First Founding Partner Symetra, will keep pace with the festivities.
Let's start with a bit of background and history. The LGBTQIA+ community embraces an acronym to stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual.
For those not sure about certain acronym terms-or maybe those who would like to know but are hesitant to ask because it seems they should already know-here's a primer:
- Queer: Formerly in some circles used as a negative label, the term is "increasingly being used to describe all identities and politics that go against normative beliefs," according to the nonprofit It Gets Better organization, which focuses on supporting LGBTQIA+ youth. It can be an appropriate term to describe people with "more fluid identities" and is "valued for its [sense of] defiance" of traditional norms.
- Transgender: Individuals whose gender identity differs from the one assigned at birth. Many transgender people identify as male or female; others see "transgender" as an umbrella term to including gender non-conforming or queer. FYI, it is in not a noun.
- Intersex: Umbrella term that describes bodies outside the strict male/female binary, representing individuals with reproductive or sexual anatomy that do not align with typical definitions for the female or male sex.
Pride events affirming the LGBTQIA+ community will be ongoing in June throughout the city, country and world. The first "gay liberation" parades and rallies were held in June 1970, to protest and mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, prompted by local police raiding the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in lower Manhattan's Greenwich Village neighborhood.
The early parades were organized by activists and coalitions, with the movement gaining momentum and support across the U.S. over the next decades. The first Seattle celebration was in 1974 with Gay Pride Week events from June 24 through June 30. By the 1980s, "gay pride" universally replaced "gay liberation" to represent a more inclusive term.
As a sports franchise that views "community as bedrock" to its mission and purpose, the Kraken marked Pride Month last June with a series of stories and videos, highlighted by a video panel discussion about hockey and the LGBTQIA+ community. The panel was sponsored by the Kraken's first founding partner and exclusive life insurance partner, Symetra.
"The energy in this town [about NHL hockey] is crazy," said Trinity Parker, Symetra senior vice president of marketing, communication and public affairs, during last June's video panel. "It's so exciting. We want to be a part of that.
"At Symetra, we are incredibly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We have outspoken views about gender and pay equity and inclusion across the board. Any partnerships we have will be with organizations with which we have aligned values,"
Another story featured last June covered the founding of the Seattle Pride Hockey Association with Steven Thompson and Joey Cole as the driving forces behind the new association. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans to stage an inaugural Seattle Pride Classic tournament, but hasn't deterred Thompson, Cole, other leaders and SPHA members.
Check back with us for an update story about the SPHA next week, plus more details about the inaugural SPHA tournament now scheduled for the weekend of June 19 and 20 at Olympicview Arena in Mountlake Terrace. We will be covering the invitational in real time. There will additional coverage related to LGBTQIA+ and hockey during the month.
Seattle Pride's "Virtual Pride: Resilience" event will feature a number of musical acts (Big Freedia, Mary Lambert, Perfume Genius, mxmtoon) performing on the Hopin app platform June 26 and 27 (6 to 8 p.m. both nights) to "commemorate the past, celebrate new wins for equality and get encouragement for the work yet to come ... and, quite frankly, it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun." Check out the full schedule here.