Some 2,500 or so people attended Capital City Pride Day at the Port Plaza in downtown Olympia last Saturday, June 4, some wearing COVID masks, others wearing very little at all. Most wore some kind of rainbow clothing to show support for LGBTQIA+ people.
More important, nearly everyone was wearing a smile, happy to be outdoors together or to be in a supportive environment and having fun. Many were catching up on old friendships; others were meeting new people. Our informal inquiries suggest that about three out of four visitors live in Thurston County.
There’s a rule of thumb used by event planners and magazine publishers: Pretty much no matter what you do, you won’t attract more than 10 percent of your potential audience to your shindig or rag. If that idea’s still good, it suggests that there are some 25,000 people in Thurston County who might have been there if they’d known about it, or had they not been scheduled to be somewhere else, or if it hadn’t rained part of the day.
That “potential audience” number is less than 10 percent of Thurston County’s population. Various demographers recently estimated that between 3.8 and 5.6 percent of the U.S. population are themselves L, G, B or T. My kind of math tells me that about half of the people were friends and supporters, straight or “cis-gender” types.
What kind of people were there? Well, we only talked with maybe 500 or so, but we looked at hundreds, of course. There were people holding hands, talking and listening, laughing and dancing. Some were 2 years old, others appeared to be in their 80s. The conveyed themselves in flip-flops, platform shoes, wheelchairs, rolly things and, well, street shoes. A handful of political candidates showed up, too, quietly meeting potential voters. Not all were those who situate themselves on the left side of politics.
What wasn’t present there? There were no emergencies, no protestors, no sirens and no arrests – at least none we learned about.
A big peaceful event in Olympia, attended by thousands of people with diverse perspectives and orientations. Huh. Think of it.
Danny Stusser is the publisher of The Journal of Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater and Executive Director of The JOLT News Organization.
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