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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
Tributes and eulogies for R. George Bakan (via Facebook)
Section One
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Tributes and eulogies for R. George Bakan (via Facebook)

Tributes and eulogies for R. George Bakan (via Facebook)

 

Rest in Power, brother. I only knew you via Facebook, but you had a tremendous influence on me. - Abe Campbell

 

I'm heartbroken to hear of the passing of my friend and sparring partner, George Bakan. An icon in Seattle Queer history, he sued to keep me on the phone for an hour to give me an earful about the work we were doing at Equal Rights Washington and what we should be doing differently. But he also hired me, a struggling young freelance designer, at market rates to help produce the SGN Pride Guide four years in a row. Every time we ran into each other thereafter, he never failed to spot me in the crowd to shout, Adam! with that gigantic voice and a huge smile and, well, proceed to talk my ear off for an hour about everything everyone should be doing differently. An activist in the truest sense, he never gave up on a good fight. And whatever you thought about his approach, he knew what he was after and he showed up to do the work to get it. This community owes him everything. George, you magnificent loudmouthed bastard, Rest in Power, my friend. I am unequivocally better for having known you. - Adam Kuglin

 

Very sad to hear of the passing of George Bakan. He was a wonderful man whom I had the great pleasure of knowing and working with over many years. He always had an idea or opinion on anything I was working on, and will be very much missed in Seattle's LGBT community. - Adam McRoberts

 

Just found out a friend died. I'd actually had a dream about George and about writing for the paper again last weekend. I'd had a lot of those dreams, and now I know why. - Adrian Vetter

 

So many affordable flights to actions in other places. - Aimx Trujillo

 

I've been thinking all day about conversations I had with George Bakan, especially in the early 2000s. Generative as well as argumentative - with laughter and frustration, connection and divergence, and all the things - something I appreciated (and told him so) about George's way was how he brought blunt honesty to those conversations and was ready to receive the same. Thanks, George Bakan, for all your efforts. I hope you truly enjoyed the ride. - Airen Lydick

 

RIP to my former boss and friend, George Bakan. He gave me my first job as a paid writer, and though the pay was minimal, the opportunity it provided was immense. That job opened so many doors for me, and I'm forever grateful. Throughout my 16+ years writing for the SGN, while not always in agreement of my views and opinions and writing topics, he was supportive and trusted me to get the job done. RIP, George Bakan. I refuse to be sad. Instead, I'm going to celebrate knowing you, working for you, and thinking about the many times you talked my ear off about the strangest things at the office. - Albert Rodriguez

 

Rest in Power, George Bakan. Please send some love to the staff at Seattle Gay News& Rick, Maggie, Nate, Dru, MK,, Gaysha, Mark, past and present. Those virtual hugs can reach far and wide. Thanks, Egan Orion for the chat and walk down memory lane tonight about GB. Lots of laughs with always a touch of activism, just like ol' George would've loved it.Aleksa Manila

 

A true icon and legend. You are missed, George Bakan! - Alessandra Hunt

 

A good friend of mine and many others at Bemis Arts. So sad to see him go. - Alex Hupp

 

Indeed, a good man. - Alex Pava

 

George was one of the first people I met when I moved to Seattle ten years ago. Truly a pioneer for the community. - Alex Shockey

 

You will be missed, George, and may you RIP. - Alex Tayor-Taconetti

 

I'm very sad to hear the news of the passing of George Bakan. He was found at his desk at Seattle Gay News, which speaks volumes of how this man dedicated every moment of his life to making Seattle's Queer community a better place. I first met George in 2011 when DonnaTella and I decided to throw our hats into the ring for Mr. & Miss Gay Seattle. Every event we hosted, every fundraiser, every opportunity to speak for the cause, was covered by SGN. Our success in fundraising and as titleholders was, in the largest part, due to George believing in us.

I was standing next to George when Governor Chris Gregoire signed marriage equality into law in 2012 - he'd gotten a caravan of us together to drive to Olympia for the bill signing. And it was George who steered DonnaTella and I to the core of our Mr. & Miss platform that year: registering as many voters as we could, knowing we were going to have to fight for marriage equality. George was sitting in my car and told me, If they will fill out the registration, I will pay for every stamp! Give them no reason not to register! We registered over 700 first-time voters that year. Courts across the state and country took up the challenge themselves, and it started with George. I'll never forget being out with him and Rick on election night - we won! George was a mentor, a friend, and a fierce advocate - and I mean fierce! Any level of pessimism that we might fail was met with a swift temper: We will not be able to win if we don't fight with everything we have, and you can't fight with that attitude! When George was on your team, failure was never on the table. Rest in Pride, George! Rest in Pride! - Alexander Manila

 

My heart hurts. I adored George. Hard to believe he's gone. - Allena Gabosch

 

I first met George Bakan in the 1990s. We were both advocating and collecting signatures for WHIP (Washington Hemp Initiative Project), an initiative whose goal was legalizing medical, industrial, and recreational cannabis. Whether you knew him or not, Seattle has just lost one of the strongest voices in our community. George has been vocal about various social issues personally and through his work at Seattle Gay News. My love goes out to all who knew him - what a loss! My thanks to George for dedicating his life to making the world a better place - what a human! - Allison Bigelow

 

I was one of the designated George-handlers at Washington United for Marriage. He'd often call and tell me what we were doing wrong and what we should be doing instead. Other staff would see me on the phone for long spans - barely getting a word in edgewise - and mouth, Who are you talking to? I'd mouth back, George. They'd nod, Ahh, gotcha, because everyone understood that fielding calls from George was a necessary element of the campaign. We always signed off as friends. - Andy Grow

 

I liked George a lot. - Ann Paris

 

George was an amazing guy with an encyclopedic memory of all the LGBTQ struggles and wins here in the Pacific Northwest. He knew the stories and the people and their work because he was there shoulder to shoulder fighting alongside them. Rest in Peace, George Bakan. - Anna Schlecht

 

This is so sad! He will be sorely missed. - Ardith Arrington

 

Such sad news. We have lost a community treasure and a true icon. George, thank you for making the world a better place for all of us. - Arnaldo Inocentes

 

My condolences. I've had opportunities to work with George over the years, and he was great at telling stories and debating politics. He was a great friend to the friendless, a passionate journalist, and a large part of what made Seattle great. I will miss him. - Barbara Sehr

 

George was one of the first people I met when I moved to Seattle to work on the Hands Off Washington campaign. He was very generous, kind, and passionate about positive change. I'll never forget all the good times that our crew spent in the mid-90s on the corners of 11th and Pine fighting the power! God bless. - Barbara Wilson

 

His smile will never be forgotten. His memory will last forever. - Barbie Roberts

 

Thank you for your voice and your heart. I will miss you and your voice for the truth and justice so much. - Bartja Wachtel

 

I will never forget all those many years ago when I went in to his small office at the Seattle Gay News to place an ad. He told me that I was better than the ad I was about to place, which helped me make a better decision and become an actual massage therapist legitimately. Eventually, I became a sports injury therapist, and often reminded him that his kind but stern words resonated with me and sunk in. He was amazing, and I will never forget him. - Bartley Deen

 

Saddened and shocked to learn about the death of George Bakan. George saw and nurtured in me qualities I didn't know I had and helped me find my voice. He set me on a path that flung me across the world, where I am still today. He wasn't just an editor, an activist, or newsman. He was a visionary, a leader, and one of those rare people in my life who changed my path forever. RIP, George. This week's edition isn't your problem now. - Beau Burriola

 

When I came to Seattle from San Francisco, the only people who would hire me were from my own community. One of those very important people was George Bakan. I dropped my resume off at Seattle Gay News' office on 12th Avenue, and the next day I got a call. George took me out for lunch right around the corner on Pike Street, and he thought I had potential. He gave me an opportunity to do something. He gave a lot of people a lot of hope, and more importantly, a reason to speak out as an LGBTQ person. I remember sitting down with him in the office in Seattle during the time of the Iraq War in 2003, and he was furious. He said, This will turn into a tinderbox. And he was right, and I loved him for that. I loved that he urged me to go protest, which brought me onto the front lines with Jim McDermott protesting the Iraq War. I loved that he made waves, was LOUD, and at times, made you feel uncomfortable for all the right reasons. A friend told me that George's passing is like witnessing the last of the genuine, Gay prestige of Seattle. We have much to learn from this beautiful man. We still have so much to do. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for helping us when no one else would. Rest in Peace, my friend. Your energy will be sincerely missed. - Bellial Darshan

 

Sorry to hear this! George was a good man. May he Rest in Peace. - Bill Landeaux

 

I would say that through the SGN, George had the longest and strongest influence of any leader for the community in Seattle history, and he was never going to walk away from that work. He had a warm heart with a feisty attitude, and it's no surprise that when he passed, he was still working at his desk. For decades, he not only battled the multiple acts of oppression against equal rights, but also his own heart issues, which led him to make changes that added many years to his life. - Bill Wilford

 

Damn. RIP, Legend. - Blaker Sterling

 

George was a force. The A gays in the 80s weren't quite sure how to deal with him, but he won everyone over with his huge heart. Que Descanse en Paz. - Bob Bruneau

 

George was a good guy, dedicated to our community and supportive of equal rights. We will all miss him. - Bob G. Blackburn

 

George was a hero when we had few of them. A really good man. - Brad Tenary

 

Just found out that you got your wings, and I don't even have words. People like you are so very rare in life, but those who know you know how devastating your loss is to this world. I pray that in heaven you have found a world of peace where you no longer have to fight so hard for your rights and the rights of others. Blessings and farewell till we meet again. - Brandia Taamu

 

George was a great activist and a good friend and supporter of the Trans community in Seattle. I have so many memories of him since I was a baby Queer back in the day. I will miss him, and I'm sure he will be missed and memorialized by many. - Breanna Anderson

 

I only met George Bakan a handful of times, and each time, he was a pain in the ass. As a fellow pain in the ass, I appreciated that. Game respects game, after all. Rest in Power. What you built stands strong. - Brian Davis

 

George literally wrote the pages of Seattle's LGBTQ history. He was a royal pain and an amazing soul, a sweetheart, and a curmudgeon. A legend who got $+!# done. He stood for us before we could stand. RIP, George Bakan. - Brian M. Westbrook

 

I'm sad to learn of the death of my mentor, George Bakan. For a while at the turn of the century, I wrote for the Seattle Gay News, which he kept afloat as other LGBT newspapers from coast to coast folded. George was a true mover and shaker in the LGBT rights movement in Washington. He supported Gay marriage when I thought fighting for LGBT protections in the workplace was more realistic. Yes, he was controversial and could be a pain in the ass, but I and the LGBT community of Washington - and indeed, the nation - owe him a depth of gratitude. - Bruce Amsbary

 

Every time I asked George for help with a Gay City event, he said yes. Every time. We lost a wonderful elder. - Bruce Maeder

 

I loved and admired him greatly - he's a hero. I'm so glad the paper will continue. - Candice Gordon

 

What a gift George was to our whole community. - Carina del Rosario

 

            George has forever changed this community!! - Carissa Rudd

 

2020 is really pissing me off right now. George was one of a kind. He was so devoted to this community and a pain in the ass at times, but that was just him, and we loved him for it. He pushed us (and pushed, and pushed), but he alway had one focus in mind, and that was keeping our community together. I owe this man a lot. This Pride is for him. - Carl Medeiros

 

It's very much like him to go in his chair at work. He leaves a great big hole in the community. - Carmen Beaudry

 

I enjoyed George's company so much, especially after 37th District meetings over drinks with Jan Bianchi plotting the future. He was a master of irony and a softy at heart. RIP. - Carol I. Proud

 

George was a wonderful person and hero in Seattle's LGBTQ community for many years. I have good memories of him. He loved socializing with people in the deaf LGBTQ community. I love you and will never forget about you. - Casey Galichan Kinney

 

George was always there for the community. He was a major supporter of Lambert House when I was on the board and also marriage freedom when even the community was divided. Rest in Peace, George, after a life well justified. - Cat Jeter

 

Rest in Power, George Bakan. Such a powerhouse in the LGBTQ community in Seattle for decades. You will be missed. - Catherine Crusher

 

My Facebook newsfeed is filled with you, George Bakan! You were one of the greatest men I've ever known, supporting me every step of the way. You made such an impact on so many within our community, going above and beyond the call of duty. I don't know how we move forward after a huge hit like this, but one thing is for sure, we will be doing it to honor you and all you did for us in the LGBTQ community. You, sir, will be missed so much, that's for sure. - Ceasar Hart

 

I was lucky to briefly meet him and hear his stories when I was active on the hill. Such a charming and inspiring guy. - ChaCha Montenegro

 

RIP, George Bakan. - Chad Shue

 

I just heard that George Bakan, longtime LGBT activist and a decades-long Seattle leader of the LGBT community, has passed. He was a friend and a fearless advocate for Trans people before it was cool. He was the brother I always wanted, and the world is smaller without him. Rest in Power, my friend George. - Charles A. Susat

 

George was very kind and helpful to a brand new mayor of Seattle. Thank you for your service to our community, George. We will remember you. - Charles Royer

 

Thank you, George, for all you did for the LGBTQ community and beyond. - Cherie Schumacher

 

I remember George contacting me to interview me about being an Obama delegate back in 2008. Always a quiet guy in the room who managed to get the story. He was at the helm of a paper I always tried to get my hands on as often as I could. He will be missed. - Chris Porter

 

George changed me. What a loss. A champion but also a great force for change. On my arc to becoming today's me, he was instrumental. - Christi Keith

 

RIP, my sweet, sweet Uncle George Bakan. My heart is very heavy learning of your passing, but I know you have been reunited with your parents and one of your sisters. You changed a lot of people's lives. I love and miss you lots, but till we see each other again, Rest in Peace. - Christina Fairchild

 

My heart is shattered. The passing of George Bakan is devastating. One of our most important historians in the LGBTQIA+ community is no longer with us.

            You will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends. I am not certain of his religious beliefs, but I would like to say that may George Bakan rest peacefully in God's arms now. Love and Light be with you all. - Christine Heib

 

No wonder it's raining this morning. Be at peace, George. You leave big shoes to fill. - Christopher A. Sorensen

 

Aaahhhhgg, George made it possible for so many to BE. George literally knew every one by name. You will be missed. - Christopher J. Miller

 

Thinking of my friend George Bakan. Thank you for your friendship and kindness. Thank you for your mentorship and activism. Rest in Power! - Christopher Peguero

 

OMG!!! He will be missed. Rest in Peace, George. Sending prayers to family and friends. - Chuck Hold

 

RIP, George Bakan. - Cindy Michael-Baccetti

 

RIP, George. Seattle will miss you, but your legend lives on! - CJ Ringler

 

He began a legacy of information, affirmation, and inspiration. He will be sorely missed. Rest well, George Bakan. You've served your friends and community well. Thank you! - Coco Vaughn

 

I had just spoken with George over the phone last week. He reached out to me after he heard of my campaign, and said that he was going to do everything to help raise awareness through SGN and around the area. I am at a loss for words, but extremely grateful for our brief interaction, and to hear the stories of his life. A tragic loss of a major trailblazer in our community. - Colton Shane Myers

 

George Bakan will be greatly missed. He was a compassionate leader who led with love and a commitment to reduce barriers and open the doors to opportunity for youth. He mentored us all, encouraging and challenging us along the way. George guided me to lead with my heart and to continue to do the good work by closing opportunity gaps and dismantling the injustice of stereotypes and stigma. more tributes

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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