Until the end of July, those passing by the Tacoma Dome will notice a colorful and historic addition: The first Pride flag to wave above the iconic event venue.
The City of Tacoma conducted a flag raising at 10 a.m. on July 9 to kick off the beginning of Tacoma Pride Festival. It’s tradition for the city to raise a Pride flag over Tacoma City Hall to commemorate the festivities, but this is the first time one has sailed above the dome.
Council member Ryan Mello performed the honor of scaling the flag atop the dome, with Puyallup Tribal Council Member Annette Bryan, Washington State Representative Laurie Jinkins, and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards in attendance.
From the parking lot below, Executive Director of the Rainbow Center Manny Santiago and his predecessor, Michelle Douglas, delivered remarks to a crowd of approximately 75.
“Displaying the flag is an act of visibility,” Santiago said. “It shows that we are, truly, a welcoming city where everyone is celebrated and affirmed.”
The crowd erupted in applause as the flag began its ascent. The Cheer Tacoma squad, hair adorned with rainbow-colored bows, cheered the crowd on. Teary-eyes and heartfelt hugs were abundant among audience members.
The effort to raise the rainbow flag over the Tacoma Dome started more than 10 years ago with a letter-writing campaign initiated by trans women activists, said Douglas. She reflected on how, 10 years ago, Tacoma Pride was merely a four hour event held in Wright Park. Now it is a two week celebration spanning across the city with participation at an all-time high.
From 5 to 6 p.m. on July 9, the Tacoma City Council Meeting will include an LGBT Proclamation declaring July Gay Pride Month in the City of Tacoma. A flag raising ceremony will also be held at the Pantages Theater on July 12 following the LGBTQA Community Awards.
Other events include Drag Show Bingo, a downtown block party, screening of LGBT films, and more. For a full list of Tacoma Pride events, visit this website.