May 18, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 20
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Saturday, Jul 11, 2020



Dear SGN,

There has been a lot of comment these past few weeks about Pride, SOAP and the Seattle LGBT Community Center. Much has been made about the "fight" over Pride and it has gotten very personal. Yes, it is true that Shannon Thomas lives in West Seattle. It is also true that The Center's Fruit Bowl Awards will be held at Seattle Center. And those two facts mean...what?

The Center's volunteers (including the board, of which I am a member) live in every part of the Puget area from Bellevue to Quilcene. Fisher Pavilion got the nod for this year's Fruit Bowl because we expect 500 people to attend and there are few options The Center can afford. The point is, The Center does not advocate for Capitol Hill as the epicenter of Gay Seattle although it might seem odd to have the LGBT Community Center in Bellevue or Green Lake or West Seattle or Quilcene even though LGBT people live in all these places.

The LGBT Community Center is, in fact, a program of the Queen City Development Corporation, the one and only LGBT community development organization in the country. The Center acts as a fiscal sponsor to fledgling LGBT groups. We have over 85 organizational members from GSBA to Ski Buddies. Among the list of accomplishments is QArts, the only art space in Seattle devoted to LGBT artists. Equal Rights Washington (ERW) which did such an extraordinary job of moving our rights ahead this year was incubated at The Center. Ingersoll Gender Center is now thriving as a program of The Center. The Queer writers group, Bent, is housed at The Center. Successful and experienced LGBT writers are encouraged to volunteer their time and talents to this group. The list of ways in which The Center serves our Community is long and varied but it has never included putting on a Pride parade or rally.

Last year, when part of our Community came to The Center asking for help in creating a Pride event on Capitol Hill, the board debated at great length about the appropriateness of getting involved and whether we even had the resources to do so. In the end we agreed to do it because we are, first and foremost a Community Center that must be responsive to our Community. And, say what you want, a significant number of people wanted something on The Hill. The result was a march and QueerFest. Both were held on Saturday specifically to not compete with the parade and rally but so as to expand Pride weekend. It must be noted that the organizational skills and financial management displayed by Shannon Thomas resulted in the creation, from scratch, of an entirely new Pride event (QueerFest) that not only showcased Queer artist and entertainers but actually came out in the black.

This year, The Center reacted again when there was a question about whether or not Pride would even happen. The drama around Pride which swirled day by day led many to wonder if there would be a parade or rally at all. The board considered moving QueerFest to Sunday, ONLY if SOAP was denied a permit by the city or became financially unable to continue. As it has turned out, there will be a parade on Sunday and there will be a march and rally on Saturday and Pride will be on display from one end Seattle to the other. As Shannon wrote in an email to the board, "I see rainbows everywhere!" This seems like a win-win for everyone.

The Center has been cast as a villain by some and a savior by others. In reality we are neither. We are a group of volunteers and one overworked and underpaid employee trying to respond to the needs and wishes of our wide and deep Community. We are a safe haven for the newly out and a source of information for the newly arrived. We are, as best we can be, a cross section of our LGBT Community. As Scoop Nitzker used to say, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own." If you like or don't like what your Community Center is doing, volunteer your time, talents and resources. We need volunteers from the front desk to the board of directors.

If you have made a comment about Pride, talked about it with friends or wondered about what it might mean for you, then you are a part of our LGBT Community. We will have Pride this year and we will, with everyone's help, build it into a celebration unique to Seattle and worthy of our Community.

Ivan Wright
Member, Board of Directors
Seattle LGBT Community Center


Dear SGN,

I think I'm pretty simple. I love to wake up, work, play, rest, cook something tasty, share jokes and hot sex and interesting or dumb art/video/music with a beloved friend, and yeah, cuddle. Shocking? Nope. Revolutionary? Hardly.

I've zero hidden agenda. Yet, I keep getting shot down in flames. I'm the most "illegal alien" of all: TG. Fuck the Washington State Department of Licensing for disallowing an x or ? as options other than M or F on one's ID. This irksome, dateless, stateless, dislocation and dorky isolation goes deeper than mere "gender". I'm doomed eternally to piss off even my allegedly enlightened, progressive friends by daring (demurely) to suggest my non-unique blueprints...

It bugs the crap out of me that my dearest friends, whom I painstakingly select, based on intelligence and creativity, universally freak out... Just "don't hate me because I'm beautiful".

Cheers! Happy Pride 07!



Dear SGN,

Here are a couple ideas to consider: Let's bar left-handed people from employment. Maybe we can legislate against redheads. Sound absurd? These ideas make about as much sense as laws currently on the books in 33 states that allow Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual workers to be fired because of who they are rather than their performance on the job or laws in 44 states that allow employers to fire Transgender workers in a similar fashion.

You can't just wish discrimination away. The civil rights movement taught us that. We need a federal law that protects workers not only from discrimination in the workplace but from the evil of discriminatory and antiquated state laws as well. ENDA is the law we need and we need it now.

This week, many TWU members will be coming to Washington to lobby Congress. We are putting the full support of our 130,000 members behind the idea that our society benefits when workplaces are open and diverse and workers are freed from the fear of unfair dismissals.

Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 130,000 workers, primarily in commercial aviation, public transportation and passenger railroads. The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.


James C. Little
Transport Workers Union of America


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