Welcome to Pride Month!

back of person with long hair, arms raised up, holding a rainbow striped scarf or flag in front of the sun

“We have more rights and more wrongs than ever.”

With this declaration, Alok Vaid Menon (a BIPOC trans/nonbinary luminary) sets the tone for this year’s Pride.

As I joined GenPride as Executive Director earlier this year, I’m deeply aware that we are each navigating our way forward amid very challenging and uncertain times.

Nationally, hate crimes against 2SLGBTQIA+ people increased by 70 percent between 2020 and 2021. Individually and as organizations, we’re operating in an era of massive economic uncertainty, high costs, cynicism, and overwhelm. Democracy, bodily autonomy, and fundamental human rights are threatened daily.

It is understandable if we occasionally believe that the way forward is to play it safe, keep our heads down, work hard, stay at home, hold on to our dollars, be suspicious of others, and wait for the proverbial shoe to drop.

It may be understandable, but these tactics don’t create a world where we and others can thrive.

Rendering of Pride Place by Environmental Works.

Rendering of Pride Place by Environmental Works.

To navigate these challenging times, I am focusing on collaborating widely so that ALL rainbow older adults are celebrated and safe, respected, and resilient, together and free. I hope that Pride Place, the Pacific Northwest’s first affordable housing and community center designed with LGBTQIA+ elders in mind, can be a beacon of hope when its doors open this fall.

Many small and huge acts brought us to this moment. GenPride was founded in response to “At-Risk and Underserved: LGBTQ Older Adults in Seattle/King County,” the 2015 University of Washington Aging with Pride Report, which confirmed that King County’s 2SLGBTQIA+/ rainbow elders experienced pronounced housing, healthcare, and social support disparities.

Just before the pandemic, the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing approved Pride Place, and GenPride was chosen as the ground floor service provider for the building. We are grateful for our partnership with the Rise Together campaign, coordinated through Community Roots Housing, to help raise funds for this project.

We anticipate that Pride Place will be completed by the end of August. We expect to move into the new GenPride Community Center in early September, a hub for our countywide efforts. Residents will complete the leasing process and move in between September and December.

We are working hard to ensure that QTPOC (queer, trans people of color) are fully aware and prepared to apply to live in Pride Place to enjoy the fantastic views of the city and Mt. Rainier, easy access to resources, and a community where everyone is celebrated. Join me in ensuring that rainbow elders countywide experience support, acceptance, joy, and visibility as the new normal.

We’re beginning a new phase in Seattle/King County, one where rainbow elders experience greater visibility, wellbeing, and power. We can now anticipate and plan for Pride Place’s first Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter holidays, and so much more. My deepest hope is that, in the days ahead, we will build a mighty movement alongside rainbow elders fueled by justice and joy.

GenPride’s programs remain free and possible with funding from the King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy, the City of Seattle Human Services Department, the Inatai Foundation, and many generous donors.

Contributor Judy Kinney, MSW is Executive Director of GenPride. For more information about Pride Place, including their leasing folder, see Frequently Asked Questions.

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of AgeWise King County.