It is most energizing to be among folks who gather and empower others to be their best selves. The South Whidbey Pride Parade June 22 brought together businesses, churches, drag queens, schools, libraries, organic farms and rainbow-clad people and dogs to celebrate diversity. David Welton took these excellent photos of a memorable day when the weather gods cooperated and speeches were genuinely heartfelt. Being among 450 parade participants, hugging the good folks of our community, made my day.

Meander Dance Collective

Beck Diamond, center, grooves with Meander Dance Collective in to a flash mob dance following the parade.
Autumn Duenow, with Meander Collective

Faces in the Parade

Unicorn, neon fishnets and tutus.
Tulle, ribbons and a beard
Fairy godmother
Dancing in black
From left- Sirene the Barbi, formerly of Oak Harbor, braved the reduced ferry service and made it to the Langley Pride Parade on time. Sirene is joined by Ivanna DD from Oak Harbor
Folks in full on color celebrate their diversity
Rainbows and feathers for Karen McInerney, Lead House Manager for the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
Fairy godmother greets parade revelers at June 22 South Whidbey Pride Parade, which attracted 450 participants

Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity Lutheran Church

A rainbow White House

Textile artist Doe Stahr’s rainbow White House

Crocheted artistry

Artist Anne Ferry crocheted her hat, skirt, belt, banner, and necklace. We asked how she could walk in her gold high rise platforms.

Dachshunds show their colors

Love Wins–Dachshunds and their owners. Jean Dieden organizes the dachsies’ performance

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

Deana Duncan, WICA Executive Artistic Director

Langley’s Chief of Police

Tavier Wasser, Langley’s Chief of Police

Langley Mayor Kennedy Horstman, who is so far successfully steering her ‘Village by the Sea’ toward economic health, spoke about being the first ‘out mayor’ in the city’s history. How it was terrifying for her to come out 37 years ago. The experience made her question everything she previously believed.

Langley Mayor Kennedy Horstman blows bubbles as South Whidbey’s Pride Parade Grand Marshal
Langley Mayor Kennedy Horstman knocks it out of the park with her Pride speech

“How profoundly grateful I am to the folks that carry on the fight for our civil rights,” Kennedy said in a speech following the parade. “I’m moved to tears at how far we’ve come. I’m married to a woman I’m partnered with 18 years.”

Kennedy went on to talk of LGTBQ+ kids who feel unsafe where they live. “We have to prevent harm,” she said. “Two things motivate human behavior–fear and love. We are radically inclusive. Pride sees diversity and embraces it. Please be politically active. At the very least, register to vote.”

Mary Elizabeth Himes, a poet, described herself as “Queer, not lesbian or trans. I am original me.” She spoke with frank and powerful emotional strength: “Will you sing the new song of freedom? When we lose our fear, they will lose their power.”

Poet Mary Elizabeth Himes- “Open your mind and your heart and the universe rewards you.”
Following her poem, Mary Elizabeth Himes is enveloped in a hug by Pride Parade president Jeff Natter

Brook Willeford, a board member of the South Whidbey School District, has, with the support of the board, implemented students’ requests for an expanded curriculum, spoke about fluid sexuality, and “our being authentic helps others feel authentic. Love, care and kindness helps others come out of the closet. We create a future where others feel safe to come out.”

Brook Willeford, South Whidbey School District board member

Ebo Barton, representing the Washington State LGBTQ Commission, asked that folks participate in a state survey so that safer worker conditions for LGBTQ+ people can be made law, under-represented groups can participate in advisory committees, and expanded school curricula can be created, among other policies.

Ebo Barton, WA State LGBTQ+ Commission- “The modern pride movement started with the Stonewall Riots–a pivotal moment in our fight for rights and recognition. These acts of resistance lead by trans women of color Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.”

Ebo spoke about the origins of the Pride movement, which  the Stonewall Riots ignited in 1969.

“It was a pivotal moment in our fight for rights and recognition. These acts of resistance were led by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Their courage laid the groundwork for human rights we have and continue to fight for today. Pride is not just the celebration. It is a profound commitment to protect and support each other.”

To learn more about South Whidbey Pride, visit this website.

Jeff Natter, Pride parade president, walked around with a rainbow face paint stick, adorning celebrants at the 2024 Pride Parade in Langley


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  1. Great Blog Kate and wonderful photos by David
    Thanks for the Pride tribute and all your stories of our Whidbey communities and your travels 🙏
    ( I can vicariously travel 🤗)

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