by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Queer Youth Space (QYS) officials spoke with Seattle Gay News this week to update our readers on the youth-led organization's search for a physical space in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
'These past few months we have been busy touring a very promising space with the city of Seattle, the architect, and some amazing designers,' QYS officials said in a March 1 email statement to their supporters. 'We are very excited to open this community organization after all ya'll have advocated for.'
Still, QYS officials Logan L. Thompson and Emma Petersky, two youth leaders serving on the organization's Board of Directors, told Seattle Gay News they are not ready to announce the physical address yet.
'We are very excited to be moving on a space in the heart of Capitol Hill, and we want to share our excitement with the community,' Petersky and Thompson said in a written statement to SGN. 'That being said, this is a delicate process with many moving parts. Until the lease is signed and final contracts are in place, we are not planning to release the address publicly.'
'As soon as a lease is signed we will announce the details,' they said.
So what would a Queer Youth Space look like? 'In our original grant application, we wrote that the cultural arts center promises to be something very special and very Queer: a space that (by definition) cannot be measured, traced, or pinned down,' QYS officials told SGN. 'Our current goals for the space come from the 2010 Mutiny and the Queer youth who attended: we want to provide space for young people to hang out, make media, share ideas, perform, and organize around issues they care about. Moreover, to keep the space responsive to the community that created it, we want it to be planned and directed by and for young people.'
According to Petersky and Thompson, at the Mutiny, Queer youth asked for two things: community organizing that is youth-positive and youth-led, and a cultural gathering space created by and for Queer youth.
'As we get closer to moving in, we plan on holding more conversations with queer youth in the community around their vision for this space,' they said.
In addition, QYS leaders have asked volunteers to help them install a 'very real and very Queer' gender-neutral bathroom.
'It is so important to us that our space is inclusive and comfortable for people across Queer identities,' said officials. 'Gender identity is a complex spectrum that doesn't always fit neatly into male and female restrooms. The last thing we want is to force a person in our space to define their identity by the bathroom they use.'
QYS are currently in the process of relaunching a 'new and usable website' for Queer youth and adults who want more information about the non-profit.
If you would like to offer your time and energy with this process or have any questions for QYS, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To answer their critics about the time it has taken for QYS to move into a physical space, QYS officials remind, 'These things take time.'
'There is an amazing, natural momentum behind QYS that has kept it moving forward all these months. We thrive because of our highly motivated constituents, who are leading this movement as board members and volunteers,' conclude officials. 'Though founding members have moved away and new members have come in, the need for Queer Youth Space in Seattle has remained strong. This process, though intricate and slow at times, has been intensely rewarding for all involved. We are proud of the accomplishments we have made since the Mutiny two years ago, and we are excited about the potential that physical space will offer us.'
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