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KING 5 NEWS Interview with Gaysha Starr and SGN Employees
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 26, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 26
Remembering not only an editor, but a friend
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Remembering not only an editor, but a friend

by James Stansberry - Special to the SGN

I think we can all agree that these are weird times, and having no Pride celebrations that bring the community together when so much is happening feels even weirder. So the news that George Bakan - owner and editor-in-chief of Seattle Gay News and a personal friend for many years after I retired from the paper in the mid-2000s - has died makes this year even stranger. And a bit sadder, too.

I met George shortly after moving to Seattle in 1987, having moved here from Chicago. I came with a recommendation from my editor at Outlines, which was still only a small Gay newspaper in Chicago at the time (it's since grown to become a magazine on newsstands next to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times).

So much was going on in Seattle at the time, including new laws regarding LGBTQ+ rights and legislation regarding HIV/AIDS transmission. I was just past my first Saturn Return and learning who I was, getting into the leather community, and eventually coming out as Trans before I left the paper. And George helped me like a Gay mother hen to find myself and my writing voice, even letting me do a column called Lipstick and Lust, a sexy, saucy, and spicy column that let me indulge fantasy and flirtation, and he eventually let me run a serial story that ran for almost two years. We - George and I and the SGN staff at that time - went through many changes, including losing some of our friends to HIV/AIDS, seeing the neighborhood around Broadway become more expensive, more corporate, and less Queer. George and I had many discussions and debates on issues of the day, and shared much of our views on life when It got late into the evening before I went home.

I'm not sure there's room in three newspapers to say how much George meant to me, and how grateful I am for all the opportunities knowing him gave me. From meeting movie directors, actors, and musicians and seeing my first drag show at Julia's On Broadway during our annual Christmas get-together to being able to meet and greet the community during Pride from our SGN community booth, all of this was due to knowing George and becoming his friend.

I will miss him, and I will miss seeing him in his van when I'd go by the Safeway on 23rd, and he'd talk about how the neighborhood had changed. I'm sure he's somewhere out there still being fabulous, hopefully watching a heavenly drag show with lots of hot guys in tiny G-strings, his blue eyes sparkling the way they did when he was happy. And I say: Well met, good friend. Travel well, have many adventures in the beyond, and if it's Goddess' will, may we meet again in other bodies and remember each other and renew our friendship all over again. I will and do miss you here.

Tell a friend:

Remembering George Bakan
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George Bakan: Rescuer of lost souls
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IN MEMORIAM - Randall Jess Spohn
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Remembering not only an editor, but a friend
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Remembering George Bakan
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A tribute to George Bakan from Julie Shaffer
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Tributes and eulogies for R. George Bakan (via Facebook)
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