In the Beginning, there was Darkness…
Gothic Pride Seattle has a history that stretches back to 2001. In that year, Gay Seattle title holder Lancer Forney decided to bring the two communities together. Gay Seattle title holders are a group of titles held by individuals in the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Olympia and Rainier Empires (ISCORE); a large fundraising and charity organization of the LGBT PNW community.
A longtime volunteer in various alternative communities, Lancer
utilized the skills and experiences learned from being a titleholder and a volunteer on various boards, to the Gothic community. In the year of his reign as Gay Seattle titleholder, he chose to produce the first Gothic Seattle Pageant, as a one-off fundraising event.
The event was based on the classic beauty pageant model, with four competition categories; Evening wear, Club wear, Q&A,and the infamous Suicide Dance, in which contestants have to dance to the a mystery track chosen by the DJ. Judges were chosen from the local Gothic scene. The original pageant took place at the Vogue nightclub on September 30th, 2001. The first Mr. and Ms. Gothic Seattle titleholders, scene veterans Gim Shadowbear and Cate Englehart, were crowned that night. They embraced their new titles and became Gothic ambassadors to the Seattle LGBT pageant scene.
In the summer of 2002, Cate brought the Gothic Seattle titleholders along with the Gothic community contingent to march in the annual Seattle LGBT Pride Parade. She wanted to pay respect to the origin of the Gothic Seattle titles, as well as involve the Gothic scene in the larger LGBT community. The contingent was just a small group of goths, with the titleholders riding on top of a decorated hearse. The positive response from the crowd was overwhelming. That autumn, Gim, Cate and Lancer decided to carry the pageant forward and the tradition was set. There have been 8 Pageants in our 10 year history, and many of our past titleholders remain active in the organization.
In 2006, Cate changed the name of the organization from the Gothic Seattles to Gothic Pride Seattle (GPS) to bring it in line with the greater LGBT community. That same year, GPS officially adopted the crowned bat logo created by Ms. Goth 2006, Jennifer Dowling, along with the tagline “Darkside of the Rainbow”. The Gothic Pride Seattle contingent continues to march of goths and a single hearse to huge crowd of goths on a fully decorated float. GPS is still popular with the Pride Parade crowd; even placing fourth in a contest put on by The Stranger newspaper in 2007.In 2011, GPS celebrated its 10th year anniversary of being in the Pride Parade!
Since 2007, Gothic Pride Seattle has had many events besides the Pageant and participating in the Parade. You might have heard of Angst Hour, Fete Tenebrae, Open Crypt, Little Black Flea Market, Tea For All, and Hocus Pocus. Some of these events were one-off events, some had a short run, and others continue to this day.
In 2015, Gothic Pride Seattle officially became a certified 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our board of directors has grown, and now consists of 8 board members: A President, Vice President,
Secretary and Treasurer, and General Board Members, whose duties vary.