City of Seattle’s LGBTQ ‘work plan’ includes community center

As Pride Month on Capitol Hill rolls quickly forward, the Seattle Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission is out with its 2014 plan to “address and present the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens” and one of its priorities for the year dovetails with the renewed discussions about community priorities for the Capitol Hill Station transit oriented development.

In the 2014 commission plan, the Community Infrastructure Committee supports “community efforts to expand, improve, and establish community spaces and organizations providing culturally competent services to LGBTQ communities in Seattle.”

The work may include “supporting community efforts to establish an LGBTQ Community Center,” the plan states.

Community Infrastructure priorities also include advocating for an Office of LGBTQ Affairs at City Hall or the appointment of an LGBTQ advisor to Mayor Ed Murray.

An LGBTQ center is one community element that has been discussed as a possible component of the coming development around the light rail station on Broadway though others have advocated for a broader mission for any facility.

At a meeting earlier this week to discuss development priorities for the projects, George Bakan, publisher of Seattle Gay News and president of the Capitol Hill Community Council, said he wanted a true community center, one that expanded beyond just an LGBTQ center.

The commission consists of 15 representative citizens of Seattle appointed by the mayor and city council. It meets every third Thursday at 6:30 PM at Seattle City Hall. You can learn on the Seattle Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission site at seattle.gov/LGBT/

10 thoughts on “City of Seattle’s LGBTQ ‘work plan’ includes community center

  1. As I remember, there was a LGBTQ Center on either Pike or Pine a few years ago, and it failed after only a short time. Why would a similar center in the new light rail development be any different? It would make a lot more sense to design a community center which would be open for all.

    • Hi there,

      The old center is an example of what we do not want to create at the TOD site. Many LGBTQ Community Centers around the country were built out of a great need and reaction to the varied issues our community faced and still faces. These centers were built on the financial support of the community itself, which has proven to not be sustainable. We must applaud the efforts to support our community that came before us or that we even participated in. But we can collectively learn and build something better, iconic, and create a new idea of space and interaction for our community. We have a sustainable business model and will be creating something that will surprise and hopefully be greater than the communities expectations. What we build is for the long-term protection and expansion of our culture and our identity in the larger sphere of our city and region. This will be a center that is open to all, but it will also house connections, services and referrals to support the unique needs of our LGBTQ specific community which have been sorely lacking. It will also be the bridge that connects the strength and best that our collective community organizations offers and hopes to create a greater synergy among them. If you would like to get involved, visit our website or send me an email.

      Cheers, George

      • George, thanks for the information and clarification of what your plans are. I like the idea that the center could be primarily a LGBTQ-focus, but also open to all. But I agree with Kgdlg that it needs to be financially sustainable and not rely on City funding to keep it going. Do you have some ideas about how this could happen? After all, the whole development there will be privately owned, so rent will need to be paid by someone., and it will probably be a significant amount.

  2. I am glad to see George saying such sensible things about this idea. I have said it before and will say it again – please please look at what happened when San Fran tried to do this! I personally think a glbtq center makes no sense at all, unless it has a wider community purpose (low rent space for all kinds of nonprofits or adjacent to some kind of medical or dental clinic for community, country doc expansion maybe?) Otherwise you are building an extremely expensive space with no rent paying tenants planned and it is doomed to be one of those spaces that needs money from the city every year to operate. The center closed on pike and that was in a tiny cheap dumpy building. How will this be different?!

  3. What will they do for the community? Would it be a better use of money just to train the workers there on the LGBT lifestyle? Then they could support all, not just a group of people. Do we need to do this for every ethnic group also?

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