West Seattle celebrates Trans Day of Visibility

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HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Café — Photo by Daniel Lindsley
HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Café — Photo by Daniel Lindsley

The Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound (DAPS) held a gathering on Thursday last week, for this year's Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV). DAPS board chair and the SGN "Seattle's Best" Award winner Oliver Webb ran the event in the community space next door to Queer-owned HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Café in West Seattle.

There were soft drinks, snack foods with vegan options, stickers and pins for sale, and board games on every table. The merch was designed by DAPS members and Queer artists funded by stipends from the organization's artist-in-residency program. One of the most popular designs, Webb said, was his own: a cartoon cactus with glasses in a flower pot labeled "THEY/THEM."

Only a handful of people showed up to enjoy the amenities; most either lived in the area or had made the long trek through SoDo to cross the bridge over the Duwamish. It was generally agreed that West Seattle had been an island even before the main bridge was closed, but now the traffic was inexorable.

Webb said he was happy with the turnout, though, and had worried about the place being overcrowded. There was seating for no more than 20 people, after all, "and nobody RSVPs for anything."

The attendees, ranging from young to middle-aged, chatted at socially distanced tables about their troubles and triumphs. For one person, a milestone gender-affirming surgery was just months away. A couple had recently gotten married, and someone's workplace had observed TDOV.

When the subject of Capitol Hill came up, most agreed it wasn't very Queer anymore; "tech bros" had priced the Queer community out, and White Center was picking up the slack.

Many told tales of bizarre encounters with transphobia in the everyday, both abroad and locally, though the tone remained lighthearted throughout. "This isn't group," as Webb said. "We can just chill and talk."

During lulls, Webb talked about what DAPS had been up to. He said there were "big plans" for Trans Day of Remembrance in November this year, and that they'd be at ten different Pride celebrations. The organization had started committees to help local governments serve LGBTQ+ constituents, and certain Gay and Lesbian bars — Pony, Madison Pub, the Cuff — had reached out to DAPS for help on "being better" with the Trans community.

DAPS also has plans to expand its services into more areas of Seattle, Webb said, after other LGBTQ+ organizations went under during the pandemic. Future events will include picnics, barbecues, brunches, and the like.

Pacific Science Center — Photo courtesy of DAPS  

Beyond the island that is West Seattle, the arches of the Pacific Science Center were lit up with the colors of the Trans flag for a second year in a row. Webb said he was thrilled about that, given how visible those arches are all over the city. He also said he wanted more places to follow suit.

"I called around to get people and organizations to raise the flag for TDOV," Webb said. "But they should do it anyway, for the Trans people in their lives. Y'know, their siblings, their children, their spouses, and their friends."

You can find out more about DAPS services at diversityallianceofthepugetsound.org, where you can download a community calendar for use on most calendar apps.

You can find out more about DAPS services at https://www.diversityallianceofthepugetsound.org/, where you can download a community calendar for use on most calendar apps.