Pride is alive and well in Renton.
On June 6, the city’s first openly queer councilmember, Carmen Rivera, raised the Progress Pride flag in front of Renton City Hall. In a proclamation by Mayor Armondo Pavone, the flag will remain there until June 12, and the entire month of June is officially LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.
To celebrate Pride in Renton, the city’s LGBTQIA+ community is collaborating with local businesses and organizations in a program called the organization’s second Renton Pride Passport event.
“It’s supposed to be a mutually beneficial program,” said Renton LGBTQIA+ Community president Sara Palmer. “At the end of the day it’s about respect and about being kind and that helps us be good neighbors.”
The Pride Passport is a month-long event that highlights Renton establishments, businesses and organizations that have supported and been allies to the Renton LGBTQIA+ Community, an organization that “seeks to foster a community that celebrates all LGBTQIA+ identities and their intersectionalities throughout the greater Renton area.”
“We originally formed in 2019, and we had grand plans for 2020, before the pandemic hit. At the height of the pandemic, we wanted to give back to the community but we didn’t want to create a superspreader event,” said Palmer on how the Pride Passport came to be. “We wanted an event that allowed people to feel safe and go to these places when they wanted to.”
The physical passport can be found at the participating businesses or can be downloaded and printed out at home, which can then be used to acquire stamps or stickers from each location that’s taking part in Pride Passport. The passport includes addresses and a map for participating locations.
According to the event website, once participants get as many stamps or stickers from as many establishments as possible, a photo of the passport must be submitted through an email by midnight on June 30 for “the chance to win a gift certificate to a local business.”
Local Renton restaurants, cafes, taprooms and bars that are part of Pride Passport include 8-Bit Arcade Bar, The Brewmasters Taproom, Dubtown Brewing Company, Four Generals Brewing, The Local 907, Melrose Grill, New Zen Japanese Restaurant, Puget Sound Cider Company, The Rose Gift and Cafe, Sparkle Gifts and Whatnots, Wyldwood Creative, Vino at the Landing.
Other businesses and city establishments include 4 Sisters Holistic Remedies, Antiques 4U, Ascendance Studios, Cugini Florists and Fine Gifts, Handsome Devil Ink, Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport, Idolize Tattoo, Obelisk Body Piercing, Renton Civic Theater, Renton History Museum, Renton Chamber of Commerce, Renton Cedar River Library and Renton Highlands Library.
There are also a few medical facilities involved with the Passport like Oodle Family Medicine, Valley Medical Fairwood Primary Care Clinic, Valley Medical Highlands Primary Care Clinic and Valley Medical Renton Landing Primary Care Clinic along with a few churches, specifically St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and United Christian Church.
Along with ongoing businesses there is also a chance to get a Pride Passport stamp for the Renton Juneteenth Celebration event at noon June 18. Including the Juneteenth celebration on the passport is part of the mutual benefits that helps bring the communities together. “Some of our members are also involved in local BIPOC organizations and we let them know that we would like to raise the profile of the event and have it included on our passport,” said Winter Cashman, vice president of Renton LGBTQIA+ Community.
Along with the Pride Passport, the Renton LGBTQIA+ Community is also holding a fundraising event at the Renton Civic Theater where members will volunteer for the 8 p.m. live showing of the musical “HAIR” on June 18. Palmer and Cashman want to encourage everyone to come watch the musical and attend the fundraiser after the Juneteenth Celebration.
Pride isn’t limited to the month of June though. The Renton LGBTQIA+ Community is currently making plans for the 2022 Renton Pride Picnic, which is set to take place in July.