Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celebrate Community - Defend Equality: Pride 2012

Above: Susan Haas and her partner Khristine today in Sylvester Park.

Celebrate Community - Defend Equality: Pride 2012

by Janine Unsoeld

A downtown parade, thousands of people, live music and entertainment in Sylvester Park, facepainting, flags and food, kids of all ages dancing, politicians, petition signing, community nonprofit booths and vendors, smiles, sunshine, and rainbows galore - it must be Capital City Pride 2012!

Thurston County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe enjoyed the day with her daughter Susan Haas and Haas' partner, Khristine. "Since she came out last year, I can't tell you the difference in my daughter - I support her 1000%....She is now the person God intended her to be," said Wolfe.

Wolfe says she is so proud of her daughter and thanked her for being who she is.

"For 40 years, I suspected she was gay," said Wolfe. "Then, she grew up, got married, and I thought, hmm...well, maybe I was wrong. But then, she called me one Sunday night last year, crying, and poured her heart out..."

Haas agreed, and picked up the story. "I'm 48. I was married for 23 years. I did everything right, had two kids...I didn't know I was gay, I just knew something wasn't right. Then, I met the love of my life," said Haas, referring to her partner Khristine, sitting nearby. Asked how her children, who are 17 and 19 years ago, took the news, Haas said, "They're coming around...they want me to be happy."

Above: The Capital City Pride parade goes past the colorful Governor Hotel.

Above: Female impersonator "Kimberly", 23, a student at the University of Washington, performed today in Sylvester Park. Her advice to queer youth: "Be you - don't conform to other people's expectations. Live for you, not other people."

Above: Female impersonator "Terronce", 19, a hairdresser at a salon in Lacey, wowed the crowd with Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)."

Above, from left: Alec Clayton, Gabi Clayton, and Capital City Pride co-chair Anna Schlect hold down the information booth for a shift today. Pride 2012 inaugurated a new annual award by honoring Gabi and Alec Clayton for their community work with the 2012 Gabi and Alec Clayton Activist Award.

Many more GLBT related events and activities are coming up:

"How Much Does Marriage Equality Matter?" June 19, 6:00 - 8:00pm, 317 4th Avenue, downtown Olympia. This free event will feature a diverse panel and opportunities for audience members to share their own thoughts. For more information, go to

Want To Start A Queer Band? Queer Rock Camp is July 23rd - July 28 in Olympia. No musical experience necessary - learn drums, bass, keys, guitar, vocals, or turntables. Perform in front of a public audience at the Capitol Theater. Apply online at

The Pizza Klatch is a positive, lunchtime support group in six local public high schools (Timberline, North Thurston, Tumwater, Avanti, Olympia, and River Ridge) for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and their straight allies. Pizza is served at each school one day a week. About 15 - 25 people attend per group at each school! Since pizza costs money, funds are raised through benefits such as auctions, dances, concerts, and private donations and grants. An auction is coming up on Sunday, September 9th. For more information, go to