The streets of Seattle were taken over by the city's first Gay Pride parade in three years on Sunday, with some parade participants appearing fully nude in front of children.
The parade kicked off around 11 am with members of the Boys and Girls Scouts of America, who marched in uniformed fashion while proudly holding both American and Pride flags.
While the Girl Scouts have remained a group for girls, the Boy Scouts changed their name in 2019 to "Scouts BSA," and allowed girls to enter their program, according to NPR.
Following shortly behind the Scouts, a large group of naked cyclists circled in front of the crowd and exposed their genitalia to children who came for the "family friendly" event. Some were partially covered in body paint, while others decided to leave nothing to the eye unseen.
Seattle's Pride Parade is the first held in person since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to its website, featured over 500,000 parade attendees, and 200 participating groups.
One group seen at the parade was the Seattle Fire Department, though Seattle Police were absent, after parade managers banned them from participating in uniform.
"(Police officers) need to recognize the privilege that they hold," Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, told Kiro 7. "They get to take off their uniform every day, (whereas) we don't get to take off our queerness."
The move marks the first time since 1994 that the department would be largely absent from the parade. SPD is home to more than 100 employees that are proud to call themselves LGBTQ, and the department is notably the most progressive in the nation.
SPD Interim Chief Adrian Diaz sent a letter to the Executive Board earlier this week, strongly disagreeing with their decision, and Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan slammed the board in a fiery press release, calling on elected officials to help stop the war on police.
"SPOG members took an oath to serve our entire community equally and without
discrimination. It's a shame to see that the commitment to equality and inclusion doesn’t flow in both directions," Solan said.
"Banning uniformed Seattle Police officers from Pride events is disgusting, bigoted, discriminatory and contradicts our community's beautiful inclusive LGBTQ message. Our LGBTQ members serve our community with distinction and pride. They value inclusiveness and demand respect not only for proudly being LGBTQ but for serving our community as police officers," Solan continued. "Anyone that believes in their banishment has no place in Seattle and does not believe in the inclusive LGBTQ message."
Solan concluded, "To date, close to 500 police officers have left our agency. The bigoted decisions banning uniformed officers from Pride events do not aid in stopping this mass exodus of cops. All we ask as SPOG members is some reasonable messaging of support from our elected officials and people in positions of power/influence. Police are fantastic human beings especially SPOG members."
As the parade wrapped up, attendees made their way to Seattle Center for Pride Fest, and participated in festivities that included singing, dancing, and a clothing-optional water fountain party.
Both men and women took the opportunity to escape the heat and stripped fully nude as they stood alongside children playing in the water at the International Fountain.
Public nudity is permissible under the city's indecent exposure laws, as long as it not used as an intentional act to make an individual feel threatened or harassed.
While there were many shameless moments from participants throughout the day, the majority of attendees steered clear of that behavior and proudly celebrated being LGBTQ alongside their family, friends, and fellow members of the LGBTQ community.
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