Pride Month kicks off in Seattle as one of parade’s grand marshals is named

Seattle political and community leaders, including Mayor Bruce Harrell, raised the pride flag over Seattle City Hall to kick off Pride Month on Wednesday.

KIRO 7′s Niku Kazori went to Alaska Airlines headquarters to see how they prepared for the kickoff of Pride Month in Seattle.

First on the agenda was introducing one of the pride parade’s grand marshals, Elissa Maples. With this being the first pride parade she’s ever attended, Maples says the honor came as a surprise.

“I came from a place where it wasn’t okay and you’d be shunned,” Maples said. “So when I came out, I lost a lot of people and a lot of family and I moved across the country and came to Seattle.”

As Maples’ employer, Alaska Airlines takes pride in supporting the community and creating an inclusive environment.

“For us it’s about first and foremost creating an inclusive environment for our employees,” said James Thomas, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Alaska. “I always say that it has to be something that our employees feel and live and not just words on a piece of paper that we say. And so it’s about doing things like this. Recognizing our employees and celebrating their differences.”

Seattle Pride Month kicked off Wednesday, but organizers have been planning the events for months.

“We are most excited to just come together,” said Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride. “Our theme this year is family reunion, so it’s all about us coming back and getting to know each other again, celebrating again, but it’s also a chance for people who feel like they haven’t had a welcoming family to find that family here in Seattle, here with each other.”

Marx says they’re honoring frontline workers and talking to people who come from all walks of life and careers. Some honorees include a flight attendant, a schoolteacher, a banker and a Metro bus driver.

Seattle Pride says it is important to know that the month is not just about celebrating, but about remembering people who fought hard to give the LGBTQIA+ community the rights they have now.

And as a grand marshal, Maples has one message: “The biggest thing that I’d like to show to people who are in a similar situation as me is that it does get better,” she said.