This years Capital City Pride, though, is looking to the future, intentionally looking to include those who werent born when Olympia began celebrating Pride Day in 1991.
Prides all over the country usually focus on people who are drinking age or above, and we really wanted to reach out to (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth, said co-chairman Matthew Shrader, who began working with Capital City Pride last year when he was in charge of the booths. In the last two or three years, youth suicide has been a major problem, and we wanted to make sure that as an organization, we not only reached those old enough to go to bars, but that we also reached out to the youth and made sure they know that there are groups out there that affirm them.
Events targeting a younger crowd are a youth talent showcase featuring drag queens, poets and a singer, and a 21-andyounger dance being put on with help from Stonewall Youth. For those who are old enough to drink alcoholic
Its fitting that Shrader is focused on the youth: He is just 25 years old. Im the youngest co-chair in Capital City Prides history, he said. The organization this year is a lot younger than its been in the past.
Hes learning the ropes with help from longtime festival co-chairwoman Anna Schlecht.
Olympias Pride parade began as a simple march in support of gay rights. In 1991, there was still a lot of fear and a lack of awareness around gay-rights issues, Schlecht told The Olympian in a past interview. Gay people were afraid to come out.
These days, Pride is still about rights and recognition, but it also is an opportunity for family fun. The event includes a childrens area run by the YMCA.
Pride is a big sibling of the other (LGBT) nonprofits, Shrader said. Its where everyone can come together like a big family reunion.
This is definitely a fun, exciting community festival that everyone should come and check out.