Yeah, yeah—the reason I'm skeptical about a vague plan to create "queer youth space" in Seattle is because I don't care about LGBT youth.

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Look, kids, you're asking for public money and seeking financial support and pledges of time from individuals... to do what exactly? According to your your website:

Queer youth are organizing to create safe space for our community that is led and owned by our peers and our allies. Queer Youth Space is a community initiative and coalition in which the overall campaign is to secure space for queer youth in the Seattle area. This space would be led, owned, and organized by the very constituency that the space would serve. Queer Youth Space is radical and revolutionary in that it is a youth-led, adult supported model. The ideas and values inherent within this structure are at the very core of the philosophy of the collective, chief among them furthering the model of youth leadership in which Queer Youth Space believes should be dominant structure locally as well as nationwide.

Um... okay... sounds good. Wait—what?

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You wanna create a dedicated queer youth venue/Vera of some sorts—a space that is "youth-led," but "adult supported"—and to that end you're soliciting donations and applying for grants. Great, knock yourselves out, go for it. But when you solicit donations and apply for grants for a specific project you're essentially going into the public square and making an argument, building a case, in order to win public and private support for that specific project. And some of the folks you're trying to reach—me, for starters, and other commenters who chimed in yesterday—are a little confused about what it is you're trying to accomplish. We all support queer youth. We're not sure we support this project. Can you appreciate the distinction?

So we—the folks whose support you're seeking—have a few questions: Besides being "youth-led," how does this proposed project differ from what's already being done at Lambert House? (From Lambert House's website: "Lambert House is a center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning youth that encourages empowerment through the development of leadership, social and life skills. Lambert House is a safe place for queer youth ages 22 and under. Our calendar is packed with fun activities, support groups, planning meetings, dances, and other events.") It's not a queer-youth-only/led space, but King County helped Gay City open a coffee shop in its space on Pike Street—is that not a safe space for queer youth? And your very first event seems to be a dance—doesn't Seattle's biggest gay nightclub host 18+ dances three nights a week?

We're for all empowered youth around here and we're inviting you to make your case on Slog. (Dominic Holden wrote to you guys last week seeking more information about the project, intending to write a post about it, and no one got back to him.) But—sorry!—your empowerment isn't contingent upon the rest of us shutting down our bullshit detectors. When you ask individuals and/or taxpayers for their money and/or time, they're are allowed to ask followup questions of you, questions like, "why?", "what?", and, "come again?"

A lot of queers read Slog. A lot of queers who read Slog are inclined to make donations to worthy causes. So make your case, in the comments, and win the argument. Tell us exactly what this space is going to do, explain why it's necessary, let us know how it's going to be different than the spaces already available for queer youth. You got our attention—that's what all those stickers and tags were for, right?—and now we've got questions. Win the argument, convince us, and we'll help you out. But if you can't or won't answer questions without becoming defensive crybabies, well, then best not to waste our time.

UPDATE: "Why not have even more space for queer youth?" asks PussyDunkinHines in comments. "I'm not totally getting why The Stranger or Dan Savage seems so invested in calling them out. Is there more to the story?"

I'm for more queer youth space too, PDH, and I have an open mind about this project. But they're applying for grants and asking for money—after months of postering and making plans—but no one quite knows what they want or what the plan we're being asked to help finance is. And then there's stuff like this (one of the organizers writing in the comments thread on yesterday's post):

...although some things have not been disclosed on our website, we DO have plans for what we are going to do with the space and what our goals are. We could not even apply for the grant without a plan. And considering we a turning in the grant within a matter of hours, I assure you a plan is in place. Understandably, you do not know the details of that plan and thus don't know all that we're doing. As I said, that information will be released soon. We are all very busy people and have been focusing intensively on writing this grant. Once that process is over, all of our plans enclosed in the grant will be released to the public.

So they have a plan, a plan is in place, it's a detailed plan, they turned the plan in with their application for 100K in city funds... but they can't tell the public about these plans yet because they're very busy people. But in the meantime they're not too busy to ask the public to fork over money and stuff:

By pledging time, talent or treasure towards our campaign, you will support the growth of our organization, and show the city that there is a large group of people ready and excited to support dedicated, youth-led queer space. Are you an artist? An accountant? An advertiser? We need your skills! Do you have hours to help us plan our next event? We need your time! Do you own a business? Have an extra couch or table lying around—it has a future home in a queer youth space. Can you spare a few dollars towards the cost of furnishing a space? We need you!

Sorry, but if you're out there soliciting donations—cash, goods, services—the people you're soliciting those donations from have a right to ask what their donations are going towards exactly. Individual donors have as much a right to know what the "plan" is as the city's grant-making agencies do. These weird games—ready to tell the city, plan in place, not ready to tell you!—is probably just evidence of amateurism and not evidence of shenanigans. But I happen to agree with MichaelP in the same comments thread:

If there is a plan, copy/paste it to a note on your fb, or upload it as a pdf to your site. Transparency is always good. Additionally, I see that the organization is again asking for donations. As much as I enjoy giving money to organizations without knowing what they're using it for...wait...I don't. Not my thing. I do look forward to seeing what your plans are. Plans are always good.

Plans are good, want to see 'em, open to writing a check. But want to see the plan. But then I would, of course, because I'm an asshole.

Way to win hearts and minds, kids.