With a stop at Charlie’s, SPD rolls out Safe Place anti-hate crime program

LGBTQ Liaison Officer Jim Ritter was on Broadway Tuesday afternoon to help Charlie’s on Broadway owner Ken Bauer affix his new Safe Place program sticker to the front door of the longtime Capitol Hill restaurant.

Ritter said Charlie’s was one of 50 Capitol Hill businesses to sign up for the new program designed to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ hate crime — and give victims places to turn to if they find themselves feeling threatened. CHS wrote last week about the new program and the continued rise of bias crime totals that SPD officials say is a product of better tools, procedures, and reporting.

SPD has also launched SPDSAFEPLACE.com which is designed as a portal with information about bias crimes and prevention along with tools to help victims report incidents.

To be part of the program, owners like Bauer must pledge to prepare their businesses as safe harbors for victims and train employees:

By signing this commitment pledge I agree to use these decals/signs for their intended purpose by posting them on my premise. I further agree to instruct my organization’s employees to assist the victims and/or witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes by calling the police on their behalf and allowing them to remain on my premise until police arrive.

You can sign up to get the decals here. There are three versions of the rainbow badge you can choose from.

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10 thoughts on “With a stop at Charlie’s, SPD rolls out Safe Place anti-hate crime program

  1. I hate shit like this! Every place should be a safe place. This is America where all lives matter. You should not have to belong to a special club to get special privileges or protection. Weather it is a symbol of hate or pride like wearing religious jewelry waiving the rainbow flag, KKK or Nazi tattoos symbols of hate and pride only do one thing, they separate us from them. This gang mentality should not be encouraged or promoted.

    • I can see where you’re coming from, and there are elements of your statement that make sense to me, but I feel like it’s making the assumption that the general population has the best intentions, while smaller homogeneous groups are only out for themselves at the expense of everyone else.

      I think those that are made to feel like victims, those that are harassed or assaulted, sensibly group together under their commonalities. It’s a defensive measure. And in a world where LGBTQ are still harassed and assaulted, a victim could benefit from some clear symbols that they aren’t running from one danger to another. I think in particular for Capitol Hill which as been traditionally a safe place for LGBTQ but has seen an uptick in hate crime lately.

      But I think the larger message behind such things isn’t so much that, “If you’re gay you’re safe here.” And I don’t think it’s a solution in and of itself. My thoughts are that it’s more along the lines of, “We will not stand for bullshit in our community.” I like these kinds of things because I feel like it is meant to communicate “You are not alone in this world.”

      It’s striving for positive change by modeling positive behavior. “Being the change you want to see in the world.” That whole deal.

      I feel like there is a case to be made for these kinds of efforts.

      Should it be necessary? Nope. But as long as one group or another is at a social disadvantage in what should be an environment of equality, movements such as these that promote solidarity and such will continue. Rightfully so I think.

      In my opinion, in the purest use of the rainbow flag, it is a symbol of acceptance and positivity, not exclusion. As a straight guy, I’m somewhat comforted when I see a rainbow flag hanging in a window, as it communicates to me that whoever you are, you’ll be treated as a human no matter your situation.

    • “I hate shit like this! Every place should be a safe place.”

      Cool. Guess what, every place is NOT a safe place. I’ve lived and worked in Cap Hill for over the past year, and I have had random homophobes start screaming “faggot” and all kinds of other slurs at me at least TWICE. Walking down the street, alone, minding my own freaking business.

      “Every place should be a safe place.” Nice theory. Bet you’d have a different perspective if you weren’t sure if people were gonna start stomping on your head while you were running errands in your own damn neighborhood.

    • As a straight woman, I applaud this. I sincerely doubt that the bar owners would ask me for lesbian credentials before rendering aid were I feeling threatened or being threatened and needed a safe place. It makes it safer for everyone when we all stand up to bullies. It has historically been a safe area for the LGBTQ community which has made Capitol Hill a great place for all who have good values. That is being threatened specifically so it needs to be countered specifically.

  2. I really enjoy that several of the places listed as participating are the exact places that the suburban, weekend crowder, slack-jawed homophobes go to drink. I’m totally going find help at Rhein House the next time I’m headed to Pony and someone calls me a “faggot piece of trash” and tries to fight me. I’m sure I’ll find sympathy with that crowd.

    • Gay man here. My husband and I actually go to Rhein Haus quite often since it’s close by. We started going there when it was Von Trapps. I can tell you that the staff and bartenders are absolutely supportive of the community that they reside in. Sure, people come from Bellevue and Tacoma to party it up, it’s the price we pay for having such a cool neighborhood. Programs like this are a nice reminder by the entryway that bigots won’t be tolerated and that you won’t get bashed again if you reach out to a staff member for some help.

  3. Considering the Cha-Cha is where I was manhandled by a drunk guy well over his limit and put on display with his beckoning to the rest of the bar that I’m “an f’ing dude” (I’m a transwoman) to which the bartender refused to handle the situation after I plead for his assistance (“you want a drink? there are people behind you” was my response)… I’m surprised by this inclusion. I’d rather run toward Cal Anderson Park of all places than into their establishment in the case of being harassed on the streets.

  4. That’s a nice list of places I will keep in mind when trying to figure out who should get my business. Thanks to the business owners! And I hope this list grows.

  5. recently had to call 911 for someone who came in to my store in fear of being assaulted. Turns out the funding for this program only went as far as buying the stickers! THERE IS NO FUNDING FOR THIS! So when someone invokes the safe spaces program keep in mind that you are the safety! After 35 minutes I left, the victim had left after waiting over 20 min for police, they still hadn’t shown when I left and I am not confident that they ever showed up. Some program! Lets convince people that there are safe havens for them and then not supply any ‘safety’! Your on your own folks!