White people will be charged a "reparations fee" to participate in a Seattle gay pride event since it's focused on "black and brown" members of the "trans and queer" community — and the city council president and local Human Rights Commission support the fee, Jason Rantz reported in a piece for KTTH-AM.
What are the details?
TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE organizers said all are welcome to attend Saturday's event — but noted that "white allies and accomplices" must fork over a "reparations fee" of between $10 to $50.
"All are free to attend HOWEVER this is a BLACK AND BROWN QUEER TRANS CENTERED, PRIORITIZED, VALUED, EVENT," a notification from the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network reads. "The safety of Black and Brown Trans and Queer folks is PARAMOUNT, and we will make sure the safety of our community is prioritized at all times. White allies and accomplices are welcome to attend but will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee (and given a wrist band as proof of payment) that will be used to keep this event free of cost for BLACK AND BROWN Trans and Queer COMMUNITY but to also ensure that performers can be paid well."
Rantz added that the "reparations fee" will be charged based on one's ability to pay. In addition, he wrote that since the event is being held in Jimi Hendrix Park, which the city owns, there are questions concerning the legality of the fee.
According to Rantz, Seattle Parks and Recreation "explicitly prohibits racial discrimination in their parks. And it applies to event organizers using the park, with or without a permit."
He cites Seattle Municipal Code (18.12.280):
It is unlawful for any person occupying or using any park or recreation facility for any event, activity or exhibition open to the public, whether or not under a permit and whether or not an admission or entrance fee is charged, to deny to any other person the full use and enjoyment of such park and recreation facility because of race…
Pushback from LGBTQ leaders over fee
Capitol Hill Pride Rally and March leaders Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson — who actually banned gay and straight police officers from attending their event — complained about the reparations fee to the Seattle Human Rights Commission, arguing that it's "reverse discrimination" and a violation of local and federal anti-discrimination laws, Rantz reported.
But Rantz said the SHRC wasn't buying it.
"Black trans and queer peoples are among the most marginalized and persecuted peoples within the LGBTQIA2S+ community," the SHRC wrote back to the LeFevre and Lipson. "They often face shame not only from the cis-heteronormative community, but within the queer community at large as well. In making the event free for the Black Queer community, the organizers of this event are extending a courtesy so rarely extended; by providing a free and safe space to express joy, share story, and be in community."
Rantz added that Seattle City Council President and mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez was offended by LeFevre and Lipson so much that she canceled her scheduled appearance at Capitol Hill Pride.
"After a year that has taken an unbelievable toll on all of our communities, I was looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate Pride in person," Gonzalez tweeted, according to Rantz. "However, 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."
TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE rips Capitol Hill Pride
TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE blasted the "audacity of Capitol Hill Pride" over complaints about the reparations fee, noting that this isn't the first time such a fee has been charged.
"Our allies, supporters, and accomplices, pay our sliding scale donation 'reparations'' because they are able to understand that as folks with privilege, equity can start with making sure that people who possess various levels of marginalization are able to have spaces that center their needs, safety, identities, and contributions to LGBTQI culture," TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE wrote in a statement. "We ask our white supporters, allies, and accomplices to deeply consider their privilege and make a contribution that feels equitable for them (they often choose to pay more than what is asked, or volunteer with the event)."
TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE also argued that reverse racism doesn't exist — and that "Black and Brown LGBTQI folks do not possess the institutional power or enforcement of that power to be racially 'oppressive' to white folks."
"We encourage vendors, performers and candidates to boycott Capitol Hill Pride and not support ANY event that would contribute to white supremacist violence against Black and Brown LGBTQIA folks," the statement added. "Your community is watching."
TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE also slammed LeFevre, saying her "actions are no different from the actions of perpetrators of any other 'Karen-like' incident. She has decided to use her power and privilege as a white passing woman to elicit an emotional response & dangerous reaction from people like herself in order to create unsafe and potentially life threatening conditions for Black and Brown LGBTQIA folks."
The group added that LeFevre "acted out of entitlement and casual violence because she was mad, and felt that her hurt feelings gave her the right to make Black and Brown trans folks, sick and disabled folks, sex workers, migrants, elders, youth, and communities already under constant threat of violence and criminalization pay with their safety and potentially their lives. This is not ok. SUCH is the fallacy of LGBTQIA white and white passing liberals."
Event apparently has no permit from city
Rantz added that Seattle Parks and Recreation told him TAKING B[L]ACK PRIDE is not a permitted event, but the agency "did not respond to direct questions on how the city will proceed. An unnamed spokesperson wrote":
At this time, we are scheduling no events at Jimi Hendrix Park, due to a scheduled construction project. Unpermitted events happen in parks from time to time, the nature of the event and concerns raised would determine if a response from the City would be warranted.
Has scrubbing commenced?
Rantz also added a late update Monday saying Jesús Aguirre, superintendent of Seattle Parks, won't pursue an investigation into the event — and "organizers are scrubbing mention[s] of the reparations fee from some of their event pages." Indeed it appears to have disappeared from the description on the event's main page.
But at 6 p.m. EST, the reparations fee still is mentioned in an organizer's post under "notificiations":
Image source: Facebook