Capitol Hill gay club R Place loses lease and begins search for new home

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill gay club R Place has lost its lease and is on the hunt for a new location:

This pandemic has been tough on ALL of us. R Place has been a staple in the gay community for over 35 years. It was our intention to reopen. However, due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we are unable to renew the lease at our current location. We are grateful to you all for your years of patronage at 619 E Pine St. Many memories were made here!

The club’s ownership says the club will live on and that a search for a new home is underway where R Place “will continue to entertain you with our amazing drag shows, awesome dancers and DJs who packed the dance floor.” Continue reading

Hopefully by 2022 we’re having parades and parties again — But Seattle Pride making early call to move 2021 celebration online

Hell no, you can’t cancel Pride — but you can be realistic about pandemic-era scheduling.

The organizers of Seattle Pride aren’t waiting around. In 2021, Seattle’s celebration of LGBTQIA+ will again be virtual:

As the COVID-19 pandemic response continues to restrict large public gatherings, Seattle Pride – the organizer of Seattle Pride in the Park and Seattle Pride Parade – will shift  its annual LGBTQIA+ celebratory events to a virtual weekend (June 26 & 27, 2021) of speakers,
performances and more.

“With the pandemic still spreading at a rapid pace, we could not in good conscience move forward with plans for our June events which bring thousands of people together in close proximity,” said Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx. “Our efforts now shift to building on the success of last year’s virtual Pride, so we can continue to bring our community together to celebrate diversity.”

In 2020, organizers responded to the risks around large gatherings with an April decision to move the energy from the annual parade and celebrations on Capitol Hill and Seattle Center to online gatherings and virtual events. Continue reading

Seattle World AIDS Day virtual event will include dedication of first AIDS Memorial Pathway artwork

In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber (Image: The AMP)

A virtual event to mark Tuesday’s World AIDS Day will include the dedication of the first artwork completed for Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway, a project planned to link the Capitol Hill Station transit facility, housing, and new grocery store and commercial projects to Cal Anderson Park.

Stories of the Past, Stories of the Present: Honoring World AIDS Day takes place starting at 5 PM Tuesday with an online program “to reflect on the impact of HIV/AIDS” that will include the dedication of the AMP photography project In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber that hangs at the Cathy Hillenbrand Community Room inside the affordable Station House Building that is part of the station’s mixed-use developments. Continue reading

Roger Winters, who gave keynote at first Seattle Pride, remembered for lifetime of LGBTQIA civil rights work

By Renee Raketty

Seattle mourned the passing of Roger Winters, an early pioneer in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. He passed away this week in his Shoreline home after suffering a recent bout of pneumonia. The former Capitol Hill resident and property owner was 75 years old.

“The Seattle community — and the world at large — lost a true champion for gay rights with his passing,” said Krystal Marx, Executive Director of Seattle Pride. “Roger’s decades of advocacy and political savvy helped to propel LGBTQIA+ rights forward in a way we would not have had without his involvement.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan agreed. In a written statement to CHS, she spoke of his relentless efforts to obtain equality for the LGBTQIA+ community. “Roger Winters worked for decades to ensure the dignity, rights and true equality for LGBTQ individuals. His voice and personal courage were unflagging over the almost 30 years that it took for LGBTQ people to get civil rights legislation,” said Durkan. “In the last four years, we have seen that these rights are far from guaranteed. This administration has directly targeted the transgender community and critical LGBTQ protections. In just the last few weeks, a U. S. Supreme Court Justice stated that hard fought wins for LGBTQ equality should be rolled back, and that some discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is a constitutional right. To honor the memory of Roger Winters and all of the other LGBTQ leaders we have lost this year, we must continue to fight.”

Susan Priebe, who met Winters in 2002 and became close friends, spoke with me to discuss Winters’ passing. She has agreed to handle his affairs on behalf of his family.

“Roger was deeply intellectual and also a fun-loving character — going from a profound philosophical statement one minute, to singing a ditty from a 50’s sitcom the next. He was a very loving and caring person, spending hours upon hours of personal time on issues and projects to improve everyone’s lives,” she said. “Roger was an insanely involved person, politically astute, a creative soul, and a very devout atheist… In the LGBT arena alone, Roger was involved with many groups from 1977 through the rest of his life.”

“Roger was a go-to leader and pioneer who helped pave the way for LGBTQ equality,” former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said.

Winters grew up in a conservative Christian household in Indianapolis and spent time on farms during his youth. He attended Indiana University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. He went on to attend Harvard University on a fellowship where he became a Senior Tutor at Dudley House on campus and, later, graduated with honors in Political Science. He became an intern for Senator Birch E. Bayh, Jr., a Democrat from Indiana. In 1972, he joined the faculty of Central Washington University, where he was a Assistant Professor of Political Science. It was here, when he became involved in Seattle politics. He traveled from Kittitas County, where CWU is located, to attend board meetings of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington in Seattle.

“We white boys started out conservative because we were invisible enough to pass in a gay-unfriendly world,” Winters wrote to me in a text on March 23, 2019, while discussing his upbringing and personal growth. “Those of us who got active recognized that other people who couldn’t or wouldn’t pass were really needing the legal protection and anti-discrimination [law] we were after but we didn’t understand their point of view. We embraced diversity and sought to be inclusive.”

Continue reading

Queer identity, connection, and belonging on Capitol Hill: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s new memoir The Freezer Door

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s new memoir The Freezer Door, available November 24th, describes a search for belonging and connection in pre-COVID times — a story told through vignettes of desire, intimacy and social interaction in bars and public spaces on Capitol Hill. She wondered if it would still be relevant during its pandemic release.

“I was worried because I wrote the book very much in a present tense and it’s very much about what I consider now,” Sycamore said. “[But I’ve found] the themes of loneliness and alienation and the search for connection are actually even more accessible to people.”

Told in a mix of prose and poetry, Sycamore takes the reader through her daily life experiences visiting Capitol Hill landmarks from Volunteer Park to the Broadway Market, all the while reflecting on queerness, embodiment, trauma, loss, desire, belonging and the gentrification of the neighborhood and city at large. Continue reading

How Referendum-90 on sex ed in schools could change the course for Washington’s LGBTQ students

Gay City is a Seattle LGBTQ Center that has pledged its support on R-90. Located in Capitol Hill, they provide testing and community for many LGBTQ people and are currently searching for a new home. (Image: Chamidae Ford)

By Chamidae Ford, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Just days from one of the most divisive and consuming presidential elections in recent history, some of the other decisions on Washington’s November 3rd ballot are having a hard time gathering attention.

One of those smaller decisions that will still make a huge impact is Referendum 90, which asks Washington voters to support or repeal recently-passed legislation, Senate Bill 5395, that requires schools to provide comprehensive sex education. It’s a dire need.

“If safe spaces are not developed for youth to have these discussions, there’s a high chance they will seek unsafe spaces to learn or be misinformed,” said Melvin Givens, director of communications for Capitol Hill’s Gay City, a Seattle LGBTQ center.

The new law, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in March, sparked outrage among some parents and conservative groups. Opponents believe that the law would lead to inappropriate content being taught to children. The opponent’s successful efforts to place R-90 on the ballot garnered over 266,000 signatures.

A “yes” vote on R-90 would preserve the law; a “no” vote would repeal it. Continue reading

Sunday, you can add to the rapidly filling ballot drop box on Broadway and Drag Out The Vote

A Vote With Pride event earlier this month on Broadway (Image: Nate Gowdy)

Ballots for the big November 2020 General Election were sent out to King County voters this week and already there have been reports of people lining up and a full ballot drop box on Broadway outside Seattle Central College.

Don’t worry — the line moves quickly and King County Elections workers have been on the case quickly to get the box emptied and the ballots secured for tabulation.

And, if you’re not yet registered, it’s not too late to be part of the celebration of democracy. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle Pride Launches ‘Vote with Pride’ Campaign; Capitol Hill Events Planned for Sundays through Election Day

From Seattle Pride

Seattle Pride is launching a new month-long Vote with Pride campaign in an effort to grow LGBTQIA+ voter registration and participation in the upcoming general election.

Beginning at noon on Sunday, Oct. 4, on the Seattle Central College campus (at the corner of Broadway & East Pine Street) on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Seattle Pride (organizers of the annual Seattle Pride in the Park and Seattle Pride Parade) will host the first of five weekly pop-up events in which people can register to vote and receive free Vote with Pride yard signs, window signs and campaign stickers.

“The LGBTQIA+ community has made great strides in recent years, but now human rights in all forms are being challenged at every turn – so we need to come together with a powerful voice, and it comes in the form of a ballot,” said Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum centers 2020 Local Sightings festival on underrepresented BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists

From Danny Denial’s CONDITIONER

By Lena Mercer

Though its home screens at 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum remain dark, the Local Sightings Film Festival will feature over 135 short films from the Pacific Northwest from September 18th to the 27th. The ten-day event will be fully online this year to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic gathering restrictions. In an effort to maintain affordability during the economic woes of the pandemic all festival passes and programs are available on a sliding scale.

In 2020, Local Sightings has a theme that will resonate after a summer of protests and the nearby CHOP as it “centers BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists” and examines “how film and mediamakers traditionally underrepresented in mainstream media hold perspectives which are vital to furthering the important conversations of the current moment.”

Local filmmaker Danny Denial says that kind of space is something that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ have been fighting for.

“It feels like each movement or wave such as this gets us one step closer. I love that NWFF is committing to that initiative and elevating the artists in that ‘othered’ category.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill gay bar Union making four-block move

(Image: Union)

Capitol Hill gay bar Union has found a new home in the neighborhood and it won’t even have to change its name.

“I hope that the community that we service and that has adopted us as a second home joins in the excitement of our ability to relocate and reopen,” Union partner Greg Scheaffer tells CHS about the planned move. Continue reading