Seattle LGBTQ Task Force recommendations include public safety, youth — and more rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Its signs may be blue and white but the crosswalks around Capitol Hill Station will be rainbows. While it likely won’t be the most effectual of the recommendations, a proposal to add more rainbow crosswalks to Capitol Hill is part of a plan released Thursday by Mayor Ed Murray’s LGBTQ Task Force “to support a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people in Seattle.”

Let’s hope this one doesn’t get rolled back.

“Seattle has long been a place where everyone can find an accepting and tolerant home,” Murray is quoted as saying in the announcement of the task force recommendations. “We celebrate our history of advancing equity for the LGBTQ community and we will support efforts to make Seattle even more inclusive. Thank you to the task force for identifying these actions to reduce the violent attacks and verbal harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”

The LGBTQ Task Force plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding:

·         Seattle Police Department will continue the Safe Place program to identify local businesses that will shelter victims of harassment until officers arrive.

·         The Department of Neighborhoods will use Neighborhood Matching Funds to support projects that promote LGBTQ safety.

·         The City will direct more resources to support Project EQTY and other social service providers that work with LGBT youth.

·         The Human Services Department will improve rapid rehousing and access to hotel vouchers for transgender homeless youth who experience a disproportionately high risk of violence.

·         Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities and the Department of Transportation will address dark alleys and other physical environments on Capitol Hill that provide cover for criminals.

·       Install additional rainbow crosswalks near the new Capitol Hill light rail station.

·       Adopt a new City ordinance to require that single-person restrooms in public accommodations and city facilities be signed for all genders.

·         The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will launch a public campaign to educate all Seattle residents about the concerns and rights of their LGBTQ neighbors.

Some of the initiatives are already underway. CHS reported here on the rollout of the Safe Place program with SPD working with neighborhood businesses to increase awareness and provide resources for helping people facing harassment or hate activity. Meanwhile, the mayor’s office has already put forward legislation requiring all-gender restrooms in Seattle. And, of course, Pike/Pine already sports 11 rainbow crosswalks.

The task force was convened by Murray earlier this year in response to growing concerns about ongoing street crime and bias incidents targeting gay, lesbian, and transgender victims. While some have pushed to approach the problem through economics and housing, others have called for more to be done from the policing and public safety side. The city is now funding a year-round youth shelter at 19th/Madison’s PSKS.

In addition to the rainbow crosswalks on Broadway near the light rail station due to open in 2016, the recommendations also include a possible plan to create even more visible symbols in the Gayborhood. “The City will also explore the possibility of installing LGBTQ-themed street signs or markers in Capitol Hill, as a joint effort of the City, community organizations, and other stakeholders,” the plan reads.

Other public space initiatives in the city also appear to dovetail with the LGBTQ plan including underway plans to make streets safer by addressing “dark alleys and other physical environments on Capitol Hill that provide cover for criminals.” Eliminating dumpsters is one element already in motion. Seattle has also been increasing efforts to “activate” alleyways — though, in some instances, the city has also de-activated them.

The full LGBTQ Task Force “action plan” is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Mayors Action Plan LGBTQ Task Force

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26 thoughts on “Seattle LGBTQ Task Force recommendations include public safety, youth — and more rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill

    • Entirely missing the point.

      When acts of violence are committed against people because of their sexual orientation in what is largely considered to be an LGBTQ neighborhood (or anywhere), it’s worth putting out a few reminders that such things are not tolerated.

      It’s worth making it clear that those assholes that commit such acts do so alone, and without the support of the majority.

      And it’s worth making it clear to the victims that they are NOT alone.

      Model by example. If you want tolerance and community in your neighborhood, build that tolerance and community into it.

      I think it’s a good message that the residents of Capitol Hill stand with their LGBTQ neighbors.

      • Yes I am sure cross walks will stop anti-gay violence *eye roll*

        Funny how out anti-second amendment mayor would love to deny the LGBTQ community the most effective means of self defense. Instead Murray pays empty lip service and paints crosswalks with funds that should go towards fixing potholes.

        http://www.pinkpistols.org

      • That’s a tired argument and entirely irrelevant to trying to promote an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance in a community.

        Besides, Washington is already an open carry state, no special permitting required. And they could go with concealed carry if they got the permitting.

        My point being, if these people wanted to walk around with guns, they would.

        Guns don’t solve problems, people do.

      • Oh, yeah, great idea. That’s what all us gay folks need to feel safe on Capitol Hill – – we all need guns. Excellent. Hey, I have an even better idea. Let’s arm all the drag queens. That would be awesome! What could go wrong?

    • Tell you what – you can have ALL the non-rainbow crosswalks. That should be a roughly 100:1 ratio, so hopefully you won’t have to keep feeling so oppressed knowing the overwhelming majority of crosswalks on Capitol Hill are “straight”.

  1. No disrespect, most people REALLY dont care about your orientation. We just dont want to see rainbows everywhere. Its not necessary to shove rainbows in everyone’s face to try and prevent those hate crimes. Add more police on the sidewalks, like any other city would.

    Its becoming too much now

    • Not only that, but adding rainbow crosswalks 10-15 years ago on Capitol Hill might have meant something but adding them after the Supreme Court decision is more like jumping on the mainstream bandwagon while the ship has already sailed in favor of LBGT rights. Hell, literally every business on Capitol Hill including every multinational chain has a rainbow flag in the window, if not 10 flags.

      The other thing is the sign of progress is that we don’t have a gay ghetto anymore. A gay ghetto is a sign that the LBGT community doesn’t feel comfortable or welcome assimilating into larger society and residential communities but instead as a real sign of progress, society especially metropolitan societies, have definitely grown more tolerant of LBGT people that a gay ghetto is largely irrelevant in the same way a Little Italy is, other than for purely historical and cultural reasons (I’ll admit there is still progress to be made most in particular for transgender people).

      • Legalizing gay marriage (by court order) didn’t suddenly solve all problems that LGBT people face. I get that a lot of straight people would like to high five each other and congratulate themselves on their tolerance, but it’s a long way from over. Just look at the 100% increase in hate crimes on Capitol Hill so far this year.

        On the point at hand, I’d say that visible signs that Capitol Hill was/is the center of Seattle’s gay community is one step that can be take, beyond the obvious request for more police presence.

        Maybe making Capitol Hill seem more gay will deter the types of people that are coming in from outside the neighborhood and perpetrating these crimes.

        But I do apologize for that horrible burden that some people might experience, having to look at gay symbols. That must be so hard for you.

    • Yeah, nature is sooooo Gay! Can’t we just stop nature from making all those Gay rainbows! Why does nature have to keep throwing its Gay rainbows in our faces! STOP IT RIGHT NOW, NATURE!

  2. If the mayor is going to push for more rainbow crosswalks and awareness why not distribute them across neighborhoods? There seem to be plenty on Capitol Hill to make a point. The question is whether they would be accepted elsewhere. I’m just watching turn dingy after 6 weeks or so. All neighborhoods are evolving.

    • Neighborhoods are not where anti-LGBT violence is happening. They’re not there just to look pretty– they’re supposed to clue in the clueless– the ones who have no clue about their surroundings, about Capitol Hill’s tradition as a gay-friendly neighborhood; and feel otherwise safe to harass & assault LGBT people. Putting them in neighborhoods is pointless.

      • “they’re supposed to clue in the clueless”

        So everyone is blind to the hundreds of rainbow colored flags hanging from businesses and the stickers in the windows?

      • However, do the inciters of the crimes live on Capitol Hill? Take the battle to where the folks come from. Otherwise you are just building a fort to live in rather than addressing the overall issue. Will the fact that eventually haters will no longer come to the Hill be satisfactory? Is not the goal for Seattle, not Cap Hill, to be the tolerant or embracing city of diversity ? The party zone tends to move around the city (Pioneer Square, Belltown, Cap Hill)

  3. I applaud the Mayor for his anti-LGBTQ violence initiative, but I don’t think more rainbow crosswalks are going to make a difference. Having a few of them in Pike-Pine (where most of the violence seems to take place) is OK, but beyond that it’s too much, and crosses the line into tackiness.

  4. I love seeing the rainbow crosswalks but it sure sounds like we could have had another full-time police officer on the Capitol Hill beat making the neighborhood safer for all for what we paid to paint them…

  5. Obviously they can/will increase police presence.

    This is an attempt to address some of the root causes and fundamental issues to lower the instances of them occurring, and to assist when/if they occur when the police aren’t around.

  6. Regardless of the effectiveness of rainbow crosswalks in curtaining bias crimes, the LGBT task force has to have realized that putting a recommendation regarding them in its list would overshadow every other recommendation and make the task force seem like a joke.

    Crosswalks west of Broadway are completely worn off the streets, by the way. But we all know that pedestrian safety takes a back seat to the identity politics of this mayor’s administration.

  7. I’m going to be bummed every time i see the new Capitol Hill light rail station sign. The flag, as presented on the sign, isn’t representative of the Pride flag.

  8. I guess when you have nothing else do something that feels good, rainbows. EVERYONE knows CH. People come here to party and act up, it’s fun. They get drunk and act stupid. Some get angry and want to fight and destroy things. Criminals come for easy pickings, they are mean and run their mouth reckless. Sorry but no rainbow fix there, but if it feels good it’s only money.

    Crime deterrence ? Hmm…ever wonder why cops don’t enforce minor things anymore? Look at the MJ ticket fiasco as an example. It’s the small things that matter, they lead to big things. Broken windows. Jaywalking, drinking, MJ, trespass, urban campers, noise, unruly pets and owners and more have a free pass. Why not come to CH and get stupid. Our elected officials are more concerned about agendas, not policing.

    Be careful and be wise.

  9. I can’t leave my home after dark for fear of violence against me, but we have more rainbow sidewalks. What a cruel gesture. I expected better, but I guess at the end of the day the mayor is just a man.

  10. Rainbow crosswalks are fine. I’ve no objection to them…but I want to know more about what we’re going to do for young people.