For second year, the Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival moves online

The F*ck F*scism short film collection is part of this year’s Translations festival (Image: F*ck F*scism)

With plans coming together for a safe, in-person Pride celebration on Capitol Hill later this summer, another neighborhood celebration of LGBTQ+ culture will mark its second year as a virtual event.

Hopefully by 2022, we can gather in theaters again but the 2021 edition of the Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival from Capitol Hill cinema nonprofit Three Dollar Bill will begin Thursday on phones, laptops, and home theaters near you: Continue reading

Organizers making plans for safe in-person Pride celebration on Capitol Hill later in summer

It won’t happen next month but organizers are making plans for a large in-person summer 2021 Pride event on Capitol Hill.

“If it can be done safely, we will be doing it,” PrideFest head Egan Orion tells CHS.

As Seattle’s annual June Pride parade and festivities are already set to be online only again next month as the pandemic continues to slow, work is underway to bring together a safe festival around Broadway and Cal Anderson — even if it means waiting for later in summer.

“We’re working closely with the city on those plans and if all goes well, we expect to be one of the only non-sports festivals that will take place this year,” Orion said. “It will be a two day event, all on Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

With rising worries about Seattle’s LGBTQ venues, R Place’s search for a new home continues

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

Just as Seattle nears a real reopening from the COVID-19 crisis, the city seems to be catching on that some of the important elements of its most at risk communities might not make it.

“Even as venues are allowed to open at limited capacity, some are on their last legs, and nightlife regulars wonder if Seattle’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene will ever be the same,” a feature this week in the Seattle Times reads.

It is too late for R Place’s longtime E Pine home. The gay dance club and bar moved out in recent weeks after losing its lease in the midst of months of closure from the COVID-19 lockdowns. Many of the venue’s fans have only a distant memory of a pre-pandemic visit to mark their last time inside the old auto row building home for more than 30 years.

The images of the emptied club show some of the familiar walls and views for patrons. Other elements might be unrecognizable without a crowd of clubgoers and go-go dancers. Continue reading

As trial begins in cop killing of George Floyd, Black Trans Lives Matter march crosses Capitol Hill

With reporting and photos by Renee Raketty

2021 has brought quieter weeks of protest and marches on Capitol Hill but activists were on the street this weekend to remind that Black Trans Lives Matter.

“I don’t care if you’re transgender, female or male. You’re disrespected, period,” one organizer told the Sunday group of marchers. “They see what they see because it is more important to them than who is in front of them — contributing to the patriarchy — than respecting what the human in front of them knows what they are.”

A crowd of about 75 people gathered around the Bobby Morris Playfield to light candles and hear speeches from BIPOC organizers for the Sunday afternoon march and vigil. Some attendees also wrote messages or the names of transgender people whose lives were cut short by transphobic violence. Still others brought flowers to lay at the site in their memory. Continue reading

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