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Queens of the Hill

How Not to Save Gay Spaces

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Mark Kaufman

In the basement of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on November 24, about 70 people—younger, older, of all races—gathered for a forum about the disappearance of "gay spaces" from Capitol Hill. Manray was razed last year for a new development, Equal Rights Washington moved its offices to First Hill, rising rents have forced poor queers off the Hill.

The discussion couldn't have been less productive. I sat on the panel. I was probably invited because I write about urban development, I was a grassroots activist in Seattle for more than a decade, and I'm gayer than fairy lights. I arrived hoping to encounter sensible activists—the kind of people I've worked with in the past—and instead I found myself trapped in a room filled with the people who drive sensible, practical people away from activism.

The moderator, a scruffy former Tenants Union organizer named Scott Winn, opened the meeting by calling on the group to acknowledge the Duwamish Tribe, which, he said, had been the first group to be pushed out of Seattle by gentrification. Nice gesture, but a little late. A round of applause broke out when one woman cast Seattle denizens as the "oppressed" and the "oppressors" based on where they moved. (When I moved from a Capitol Hill studio I could no longer afford, I was "oppressed"; when I arrived at my new rental house in the Central District, I was an "oppressor.") One man called for picketing new development... just as development is stalling. Another man mourned the loss of the LGBT Center, which actually failed due to its own terrible financial choices—not "oppression."

It's easy to complain about oppression; it's harder to come up with workable proposals to save a bar or an apartment building. According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the local population will increase by 1.7 million in the next 30 years. Antigentrification groups like Allyship, an LGBT advocacy group that organized the meeting, need to push their members to stop blaming "oppressors"—a strategy guaranteed to drive away people who are interested in the cause but with no threshold for bullshit—and start lobbying city hall for policies that make Capitol Hill affordable for all. Here's what they can do.

Push for Smaller Apartments: The city should establish incentives for new buildings—letting developers build taller in exchange for building smaller, more affordable units: say, 300 square feet for a studio and 1,000 square feet for a three-bedroom. This month, the city council is voting on a program that would allow developers to build taller buildings in exchange for including "workforce housing." There is still time to modify that program to create more cheap apartments in Capitol Hill and the Central District. Council Member Sally Clark, chair of the city's Planning, Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee, is a dyke who used to live on Capitol Hill. Send sensible people to lobby her.

Defend Pike-Pine: Council Member Tom Rasmussen—gay as a tree full of kittens—is leading a push to protect the historic buildings and gathering places in the Pike-Pine neighborhood. The city's Department of Planning and Development will deliver recommendations on ways to do that later this month. Antigentrification activists should review the proposal and show up at public hearings this winter, before it's too late to have any impact. The council will likely pass legislation by 2009.

Plan the Light Rail Station: A block and a half of prime real estate on Broadway will open up in 2016, when Sound Transit finishes an underground light rail station. The city council can tweak regulations to encourage developers to rebuild some of what's been lost—affordable apartments, performance spaces, meeting rooms—on those blocks.

Land Trusts: Identify the top 25 or 50 buildings that house cornerstone cultural institutions and organize community land trusts, contracted agreements among owners to preserve a piece of property, to protect them. Pool money, apply for grants, and find philanthropists to help buy the buildings.

Fix the Noise Ordinance: The city council passed a noise ordinance in 2007 that penalizes bars and clubs that annoy the residents of nearby buildings—even if their buildings went up across the street from well- established nightspots. The city should amend the noise ordinance to exempt existing clubs.

Find Allies: Musicians, artists, and theater troupes are also being shoved off the Hill. The Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee (CODAC) is a group of local business owners and arts nonprofits that recommend ways for the city to preserve arts spaces. Gays need to work in tandem with CODAC and its constituents to save the spaces they share, not "dialogue" about "oppression."

And here's what not to do: Don't misread a browbeating from The Stranger as dismissing the legitimacy of this cause. Preserving gay spaces in this city—it's part of what makes cities great places to live—is a good idea. But basement circle-jerks will drive away the kind of people—savvy and motivated—that a movement needs to attract. recommended

 

Comments (30) RSS

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1
Dominic's suggestions apply to all communities that want to preserve a neighborhood. Here's my suggestion (which really just builds on Dom's suggestions):


Someone please tell Tom, Sally, etc that the answer isn't entirely in fussing with the zoning code, which is the path they're headed down.

By providing incentives in the zoning code (more floor space for some cultural or whatever amenity), they are encouraging new development. New development is fine and I love it and it's needed in many areas of the city, but when the point is predominately to preserve an existing neighborhood it isn't the best answer. (Unless the zoning incentives are done properly, which seems impossible in compromise-at-all-costs Seattle.) New development is precisely the type of development non-profits, low-income people, and small, sole-proprietor businesses cannot afford. If Tom and Sally settle only for zoning incentives, the result will be that a developer tears down the next Kincora/Man-Ray, etc warehouse; builds 50 new construction apartments (starting rent $1,100), puts in a little "art space" or "gay space" or whatever amenity the City requires (only for the 50 years the City requires it) and builds his bonus 20 yuppie apartments. Essentially.

So why does the City like this idea? Because it requires ZERO resources on the part of the City, aside from the time spent planning.

Unfortunately, the City will get what it pays for. It "pays" in the form of some added density (but added density is free to the City--but let's not get into the philosophy behind that statement) and gets very little in return.


The solution to this problem is NOT more fussing and studying and Seattle-processing the zoning code. The solution is funding community land trusts.


A community land trust (in this specific case, a commercial community land trust) would be able (with assistance/grants from the City), to simply buy the property and sit on it (largely unimproved) and charge rents that basically break even on the costs of maintaining the building as it stands.

The benefits are these:
-Indefinite non-profit ownership of the building.
-Indefinite community amenity. (Via covenant on the land.)
-Preservation of existing built space and land use.
-City can grant money to the land trust projects based on the immediate neighborhood's highest priorities.

The only negatives I can think of is about the money:
-A lot of money is required upfront to purchase the properties.

(When the City administers housing levy money for affordable housing, it really doesn't like to put a lot of money into any single project. Instead, it gives a chunk of change, $2-3 million-ish, to many projects that then have to beg the State housing trust fund, tax credit investors, etc etc. It might be hard to convince the City that it could do some serious due diligence on 2-3 projects a year and dump $5-10+ million on them.)

-Where does that lot of money come from?


That's really it. The other potential negatives...

-In some cases, the City might prefer to see a specific land trust target actually be redeveloped to a higher/better use.
-The City probably isn't interested in a nightmare scenario of a non-profit barely maintaining a 100 year old building that violates every fire/earthquake/etc code and the prospect of providing operating funds.

...can be erased through the grant application process, which could check that the applicant demonstrates:

-A complete and realistic assessment of expenses and rents required.
-That the rents can be demonstrated to be considerably lower than market rents.
-Etc etc etc


I'd put some effort into this, but I'm 24 and I'm supposed to be spending my time better understanding the way things work, not lecturing to adults. That and I'm leaving Seattle for a few years (possibly a lifetime?). So good luck with this, Seattle.


Hint: You can get started by talking to Sheldon Cooper of Homestead Community Land Trust here in Seattle. http://www.homesteadclt.org/index.htm They do residential land trusts. Perhaps they've done some research on commercial land trusts that could support or put down my suggestion.
More...
Posted by Hey Wait on December 3, 2008 at 7:07 PM · Report this
2
There are plenty of affordable spaces in Seattle to live. They don't have views like Cap Hill, they might not have a coffee shop, merchant, or storefronts lined down the street, they might not be as "Gay" as you would like, but they are out there.
Time to stop whining and move to the place you can afford and do what Gay people have been doing for these past few decades, fixing, painting, cleaning, repairing, and otherwise Gentrifying the joint so it becomes a place straight people want to come to.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 3, 2008 at 7:39 PM · Report this
3
One quick addition, as I didn't really address the issue of resources for supporting land trusts.

I have two quick thoughts:

- a "cultural levy" to complement the housing levy.

The problem with a city-wide levy is that a lot of hands will reach for the pie and dilute any attempt at putting a best-policies measure on the ballot. Also, why would someone on Lake City Way care about a dance studio on Capitol Hill? Or a Madison Park resident care about an arts and crafts space on Crown Hill?


- a Local Improvement District (LID).

This I think would be better. Each neighborhood decides for itself its priorities and decides if they are worth putting up some dough for. Capitol Hill could save itself in a heartbeat without worrying about the anti-art/gay/youngster/nightlife/hipster vote. If 25,000 people on Capitol Hill each chip in $100 per year, we could save a $5 million building/structure/commercial condo/park space/farmers market space/blah/blah/blah every two years.
Posted by Hey Wait on December 3, 2008 at 9:35 PM · Report this
4
Great piece Dominic. Here's a great example of a developer seeing an opportunity regarding smaller studios in an urban setting.

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/reale…

And Sargon has it right too. Artists and gays are always the stormtroopers of gentrification and coolness. We see it every day in SE Seattle and Georgetown. Wake up. There's more to Seattle than the Hill.
Posted by G-man on December 4, 2008 at 10:26 AM · Report this
5
Your solutions are great, but the community forum is an important piece of this. It provided an exchanging of ideas, and an educating of these ideas. The only constuctive thing you contributed was that we need to save key historic buildings, which showed a complete lack of understanding of what we were trying to accomplish. The majority of points of value that you present here were all voiced in the forum, and not by you.

Though there were a few zealots with more energy than thoughts, that is too be expected in an open forum. There were also many professors, and experts in the field who work and write on these issues intimately. Most of whom are far more respected than stranger writers, who seem to be becoming increasingly reactionary. These "experts" found your perspective entirely out of line with most everyone else's in the room.

Socio-economic oppression is important to address, in the abstract sense. Recognizing one's role in oppressive frameworks is key to underpinning many of the problems that we deal with. The most fundamental part of equity (access to resources and opportunities, proximity to schools, ect) boils down to housing. It is the most direct way of purchasing privilege. This an abstraction of the reality, but only those who are entirely class blind are unable to see this.

Your perspective could use a level of class analysis and a little humility.

Posted by matt on December 4, 2008 at 12:13 PM · Report this
6
Thank you for your post Matt.

Making our spaces smaller and our living conditions more congested and densely populated still smells like inequity.

I think there are deeper questions here that I believe many folks brought up at the forum. LGBT folks are only one population in a line of many that have been/are being forced out of their homes due to gentrification. How do we stop the cycle? What are the causes of unfair housing practices? How can we analyze fair housing w/o thinking about issues of poverty? How do we analyze poverty w/o working on issues of race? What are the root causes of poverty and economic inequalities? Let's take this opportunity to start taking action collectively towards addressing the intersections of social injustices! Don't get me wrong - policies can be useful - but we also deserve more meaningful actions towards multi-dimensional needs and policies which address our human and civil rights.

I applaud Allyship's work and urge them, their partners, and the community to continue having deeper dialogue and building community capacity for change!!!!!
Posted by norma on December 4, 2008 at 3:37 PM · Report this
7
Actually, the type of discussion Norma (or to a lesser extent, Matt) wants us to have is precisely why I don't bother to show up to these community meetings.

Want to fix or preserve housing/community/small business? (And get the mainstream behind you?) Start with the actions Dominic has outlined.

Want to fix socio-economic injustice? You could go a long way toward fixing that by focusing 100% on reforming the (insanely regressive) income and corporate tax code on a local/state/national level.

THEN we can talk about getting everyone to just love one another. (Rolling my eyes here.)


Keep fighting the good fight, Dominic. I'm giving it up more and more each day... x_x
Posted by Hey Wait on December 5, 2008 at 11:13 AM · Report this
8
Allyship intends to continue community education complimented with developing a strategic campaign in solidarity with the growing responsible development movement. If LGBTQ individuals are interested in finding out more please visit myspace.com/allyship.
Posted by Debbie on December 5, 2008 at 12:06 PM · Report this
9
I know people don't like to engage in a discussion of oppression and white privilege, but suck it up and learn something.

check out Tim Wise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UJlNRODZ…
Posted by uncomfortable conversations on December 6, 2008 at 1:01 PM · Report this
10
As the facilitator of Allyship’s forum discussed in the article, it was great to see Holden and the Stranger reporting on the important work that communities are doing to create a better world. As Holden reports, Allyship did an amazing job by organizing over 70 people of diverse ages, genders, and races to come together in community to share stories, hope and ideas in an effort to create justice in the face of economic and racial gentrification happening in Seattle.

Unfortunately, the article showed the depth of the immaturity of Holden and The Stranger’s political analysis of how the world operates, and strategies to bring about collective liberation. The article is no surprise. The Stranger has a history of undermining movements for social and economic change, making individuals and their collective efforts objects to be ridiculed and sensationalized in order to entertain and garner advertising dollars.

The article was also no surprise after seeing how Holden carried himself as a panelist. From referring to his new neighbors in the Central Area as “crack dealers” to his short-sighted vision of what is possible by asserting that gentrification caused by development will always exist, he made clear that he was no friend to communities of color. Important to note, Holden silenced what represented half of the forum: a focus on the history of racial gentrification in Seattle, and resistance to it. This erasure, while not surprising, is sadly typical of many white liberals who have not addressed their privilege.

As for my recognition of the Duwamish Nation, it was sad and racist that Holden chose to ridicule me for it. While clearly we cannot undo the past, as a society we can find ways in the present and the future to redress the past, to move forward honoring the sovereignty of Indigenous people. As I shared at the forum, the Duwamish are not recognized as a people by the federal government, and my gesture was to encourage people to learn more to support their efforts in gaining it. I encourage Stranger readers to check out www.duwamishtribe.org and http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/3778…

As a queer white person who has been involved in organizing in Seattle for the past fifteen years, I have learned that dialoguing openly and honestly about how differing oppressions operate on individual, cultural, and institutional ways is essential. It is essential so we can understand the reality of racial and other disparities, and how oppression divides efforts and movements committed to creating social and economic change. Without utilizing an anti-oppression lens as we attempt to understand social and economic phenomena, we will never be able to create a world where all communities experience liberation.

Thanks,
Scott Winn
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Posted by heythere on December 6, 2008 at 7:21 PM · Report this
11
As another "scruffy former Tenant's Union organizer", I just thought I'd add my two cents to the discussion: the whole thing reminds me so much of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's masterful 2003 book "Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States" where he cites what he sees as an increasingly common rhetorical emphasis on the supposed "inevitability" of the market as though it were a force of nature. What he suggests is that today this is the primary means through which the responsibility of historically privileged groups is disavowed: "whereas Jim Crow racism explained blacks' social standing as the result of their biological and moral inferiority, color-blind racism avoids such facile arguments. Instead, whites rationalize minorities' contemporary status as the product of market dynamics, naturally occurring phenomenon." Thus, just as Norm Rice dismissed criticism of the gentrification of the Central District a couple of years ago by saying "it clearly isn't racist; it's economics" (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con…), so too is Holden essentially saying "it clearly isn't heterosexist [or classist, or racist, etc.], it's economics". It's no wonder then that he made the dismissive comment about Winn's speaking in terms of "oppressors" and "oppressed" - he'd prefer to turn racial, sexual and economic gentrification into some kind of "personal" issue, rather than having the humility to admit the higher-level functioning of power on the structural level. Reading through this article, it's clearly the market logic of "development" that renders him incapable of perceiving (for instance), the importance of recognizing the resistance and survival of the Duwamish. No surprise then that "even" someone who is self-proclaimedly "gayer than fairy lights" (seriously, what is this imagery supposed to prove?) can be so incredibly blind to those whom this logic has displaced. Holden apparently, is willing to settle for the simplistic, market version of multiculturalism: the unprecedented conditions of our time however, increasingly call for something both more complicated *and* more radical.

Jason Adams
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Posted by Jason Adams on December 6, 2008 at 8:23 PM · Report this
12
Thanks Dominic, I found your view refreshing.

The idea that the world is divided into "oppressors" and "oppressed" seemed attractive to me at one time....now it just seems simplistic, at best. When I hear activists repeatedly use terms like "differing oppressions", "collective liberation", "campaign in solidarity", etc, I start to wonder...this kind of rhetoric just sounds like groupthink after a while. I mean, they throw the same terms around repeatedly and what they say seems so predictable.

Truth is, there's no conspiracy. Rich people are moving into Capital Hill because it's an attractive neighborhood, and they can afford it. That's all.
Posted by lady_cow on December 7, 2008 at 12:50 AM · Report this
13
So the queers are being run out of Capitol Hill due to rising rents. You wanted equal rights well here you go. Welcome to the world that everybody else has to deal with the only exception is nobody else feels the need to tell us their sexuality while complaing about their rent problems. Why is it gay people feel the need to tell everybody how gay they are? Its like, "hi i'm Bob, i'm gay." Why cant you just be Bob? I dont run around telling everyone how straight I am. Nobody cares what you are gay, straight or otherwise. There is no such thing as poor queers being forced off the hill. High rents are forcing PEOPLE off the hill. The fact that your a big ole bottom has nothing to do with it or anything else for that matter. I dont care that you are gay why do you have to constantly remind the rest of us your gay. WE DONT CARE, BE GAY. Just stop telling me how gay you are. If you cant afford to live on the hill be gay somewhere else and join the rest of us fighting for an apartment in an area we'd like to live, it's just that where we stick our dick has no bearing on the issue
Posted by halo858 on December 7, 2008 at 12:55 AM · Report this
14
Thank you scott for your work and your analysis!
Posted by Mike Beebe on December 7, 2008 at 11:02 AM · Report this
15
Smaller apartments? Smaller? Apartments in Seattle a friggin tiny for lots of money. Maybe I was just spoiled by sprawly Chicago, where I lived before I moved here, but places here are tiny and the rents are out of control. I think part of the solution is stronger Landlord Tentant laws, which currently suck comparatively. I've seen instances in which you have to spend something like $1000 out of pocket...a lot of that you don't get back, just to move into a new space all because of "fees, non refundable deposits, and administrative costs".
Posted by zephsright on December 8, 2008 at 9:34 AM · Report this
16
Scott Winn,
Finding comfort in convincing as many people around you as will listen that they are oppressed, and getting them to repeat that mantra back to you is not one of the steps on the path to liberation. Your words without possible action make your movement weak. What the fuck are you going to do for the Duwamish Nation? Not a goddamn thing. Then why mention them? That's why you were ridiculed. By mentioning the Duwamish Nation you are trying to link your situation to theirs. You exploit their suffering and loss for your own gain. That, my friend, is racist.
Posted by B.M. Cameron on December 8, 2008 at 2:54 PM · Report this
17
Thanks for keeping discussions about the impacts of gentrification in print!

As a member of the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee (CODAC) mentioned above, I can attest to the importance of forums that allow people to be heard and hear each other. The organizing that led to the formation of CODAC started with events just like this one. In my experience, it takes some time for interest groups to find where they have authentic common ground and it sounds like this group is still in the emerging stages. It's tempting but sometimes unfair to push groups too quickly into action. More often than not, I think, the faster-moving something is, the smaller and more homogenous the group is that's defining the vision. It's really challenging to find an ethical place somewhere between meeting immediate needs and managing a process that allows for the kind of emergent, self-organized innovation that seems to define sustainability.

Re: CODAC work... I think it's in everyone's best interest to listen closely to the perspectives of people who are struggling with and/or have been working for a long time on the impacts of gentrification. Who better to inform and vet creative citymaking?

The Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee - a committee of citizen advisors established by Seattle City Council in June 08 - has met four times, is slated to start up again in Jan 09 and to present recommendations in Apr 09. It's a great window of opportunity and I feel grateful for everyone analyzing the complicated ethics and opportunities.

Frank Video in Councilmember Licata's office welcomes comments, questions and info requests re: CODAC frank.video@seattle.gov

http://www.seattle.gov/council/codac/def…

I'm also happy to hear from anyone and look forward to working with City staff and my fellow CODAC members to make sure our conversations are as transparent and informed as possible.

Paige Weinheimer
paige.weinheimer@4culture.org
CODAC member
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Posted by Paige on December 8, 2008 at 4:22 PM · Report this
18
Times change. People change. Neighborhoods change. The gay clubs used to all be in Pioneer Square. The CD used to be the home of the white merchant class. None of this was that long ago, because Seattle's not that old of a town.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on December 9, 2008 at 2:56 PM · Report this
19
Thirty years ago, the gay bars were all in Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill was the "apartment house district".

Fifty years ago, the Central District was white middle class.

Times change. Styles change. People change. You can accept that, or you can paint yourself as a victim, and feel good about it. It's your choice.
Posted by Move on on December 9, 2008 at 4:12 PM · Report this
20
Move On dear, That is what I was saying, without all the victim talk. (But now that you mention it....)

And the idea that the Duwamish tribe was a victim of "gentrification" is just appallingly ignorant. Genocide and gentrification are two very different things.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on December 9, 2008 at 5:50 PM · Report this
21
Here in San Francisco, you see more moms and dads with strollers in the Castro than dudes in tight jeans and lumberjack shirts (ok, a blowback to the 70"s). Before the Castro, we had Polk Street, and before that North Beach. We silly gay fixer-uppers just gentrify ourselves out of our own homes....
Posted by jimmyc on December 9, 2008 at 7:42 PM · Report this
22
Scott, dominic is anything but racist and ridiculing you for what you did isn't racist. You're absolutely diluting the harm of racism by invoking it here.
Posted by Bellevue Ave on December 10, 2008 at 8:48 AM · Report this
23
In defense of the guy who spoke out in support of the Duwamish, it turns out that there are well-meaning people who have Munchausen by Proxy, which induces them into "uncontrollable victimization grandstanding."

They do it over and over whenever they can. No matter how wrong the audience, how inappropriate the timing, how unnecessarily annoying and disrespectful it is to the other well-intentioned people who took time off of work or away from their family to come discuss one important topic in particular.

The worst part is that they may not even know they're shitting on everyone else's time and energy and resources, and they don't do it on purpose because no one could be *that* big of a dbag. And even as they read this, their Munchausen prevents them from fully comprehending the words on this page - that they're actually part of the problem and not part of the solution because they stole focus from the problem at hand.

Don't blame them. It's just what they do to get attention, like Helen Lovejoy and melodramatic outbursts: WON'T SOMEBODY *PLEASE* THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?!
Posted by Marcos on December 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM · Report this
24
Nice, well-written, well thought out article, and obviously written by somebody who deeply cares for urban life and is too intelligent to get taken in by poorly conceived arguments and bad ideas. I have no idea who you are, but you rock. This flaming queer urban-loving homo totally applauds your article and ideas. I hope your forum expands.
Posted by Impressed ... on December 11, 2008 at 4:57 PM · Report this
25
This article is almost a parody of how retarded Seattle-style leftist-type activists are (especially the white ones).

Don't give me any shit about racial history as if my values were only made possible by my great great 10x5 grandfather. To actually suggest that a white person's ability to manage his life and finances comes from some ethereal privilege dating back over 140 years makes me lol.

It's not like the evolution of technology over the generations that it took to go from understanding the light bulb to integrated circuitry, it's about standard decent social conduct and ethics. This isn't something you need breeding for like some prize thoroughbred horse over 20 generations.
Posted by Ebil YT Debbil on December 11, 2008 at 5:41 PM · Report this
26
Oh yeah, Tim Wise, that white douche who goes around making tons of money giving "white privilege" seminars. Blah.
Posted by Tim Wise is a douche who makes $$$ off white guilt on December 11, 2008 at 7:45 PM · Report this
27
"Fighting for gay spaces"... yall sound like the faggot version of White Separatists. Get over how oppressed your gay-ass anus is.
Posted by Faggy Separatism on December 12, 2008 at 12:34 PM · Report this
28
I have been beaten up a dozen times for being gay - I wondered if I would get out of hight school alive.

Some of this discussion is so weird.

I have never known a black person who had it so bad ....

So, what guilt am I supposed to be having?

I think some of the people who post here out of touch. In most places gay youth have it far worse than black kids.... far worse. Who cares about that?
Posted by Nelly JACK on December 14, 2008 at 9:36 PM · Report this
29
I think most of you are missing Scott's point that the Duwamish, as Seattle's first displaced community, still exist and are still fighting, and there are very practical things you can do to support them.

Damn, I hate the Stranger and anonymous commenters on the internet. The combination of the two is pure ipecac.
Posted by A. Hedden on December 17, 2008 at 3:59 PM · Report this
30
Great article - still, at least half of the equation is missing here. Namely, many many gays with a reasonable amount of disposable income are actually *choosing* to move away from gay neighborhoods - and, this is hardly unique to Seattle. This trend is very much widespread and is complex in that it arises from any different motivations. The whole notion of 'preserving gay spaces' lends itself to the danger of creating a gay tourist trap or worse yet trivializing the whole identity.

Consider this: 20 or 30 years ago "gay neighborhoods" although vibrant and beautiful, were in a sense gay ghettos - people came to them as a place of refuge where they could feel accepted and connected. In 2009, Ballard will accept you. In 2009, in internet will connect you. I think the narrative shouldn't be how to "preserve", but how to "recapture" that feeling of community-tied-to-space that once existed out of survival - only this time around on our terms.
Posted by grantis on July 10, 2009 at 1:19 AM · Report this

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