Rich's notes on GaySeattle

Greetings from Seattle!

	The Emerald City
	Jet City
	The Rain City
	The Upper Left Hand Corner

30 Nov 1998

Briefly, I would say that it is very comfortable for gays in Seattle. The political leadership and atmosphere are very gay-friendly, including the mayor and Police Chief. There are non-discrimination statutes in Seattle & King County and in state government. Domestic partnership was passed unanimously in August 1994 by the City Council. The mayor is always in the Pride Parade, the new Chief marched for the first time in 1994. A statewide gay civil rights bill just missed passing the 1994 Legislature; gays are included in the statewide hate crimes bill. We have our Christians but they are well-opposed in this area. Two anti-gay initiatives failed statewide to get enough signatures to make the Nov. 1994 ballot, and two more failed again in '95, but a pro-gay initiative also failed 60%-40% in 1997. Get out of Seattle proper, though, and it's a different story, just like anywhere else.

There are a wide variety of political and social organizations, though there is no LGB community center (yet!). We do have a fabulous gay street patrol (Q Patrol) and a gay youth drop-in center (Lambert House). There are a number (20?) of bars, one of them for women. Most are not extraordinary, though the country bar (Timberline) is awesome, and we have 2 leather bars (Eagle, Cuff). The Pride Parade draws about 50-60,000 and will probably outgrow the "gay ghetto" (Capitol Hill) in the near future. Broadway, the main drag of Capitol Hill, is Queer Central and it is extremely comfortable to live here. Queers holding hands is not an uncommon sight, and stores cater to us. It is said the Broadway Market is America's only queer mall.

There is a strong bisexual community, a good (drag) court system, an order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and good AIDS/HIV service organizations (most notable the NW AIDS Foundation and the innovative GayCity (a non-profit community-based HIV prevention organization) which hosts provocative forums with overflow attendance), and brand new AIDS housing. There are several major huge gay social events (The Prom, the Bump, etc.) and monthly Gay Bingo (except summer). The gay theatre company (Alice B. Theater) just folded and is restructuring but there is lots of other fringe theatre and the very queer Greek Active does terrific queer versions of classic plays.

The movie houses here are wonderful, lots of them small, old buildings, and you can see much more than the big Hollywood releases here (art and foreign films abound). There is a big intl. film fest in May/June, and a gay film fest each October. Lots and lots of neighborhood festivals each summer, and really big ones on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Good local music scene, too.

In the summer, I would definitely recommend going to the Triangle Campground; it is a GAY campground. And it is very campy! It is isolated in the deep woods, very lush, and very popular in the summer. Gays only. It has recently relocated to Bender Creek (21 mi. outside Granite Falls, WA on the Mtn. Loop Hwy; 90 (?) mins. NE of Seattle) after 20 years at Index, WA. You you can pitch a tent for a few days if you like, for $10/person/day. (No services provided except outhouses).

Our representative (43rd District) in Olympia (the capital) is openly gay (the only one in Washington State) and we had a lesbian on the city council (she was elected in 11/95, which also saw the defeat of another (black) lesbian city council incumbent, who was until then the highest openly gay black politician.)

The economy is relatively healthy; the cost of living is pretty high. The city is relatively safe and clean and the citizenry and city leaders are very conscious of the environment and city planning.

Below are some links of local resources and organizations which may be of use:

Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 22:26:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Seattle info for gay visitors (fwd)

I can sympathize that it's hard to know what to do from so far away. So let me try to help. I will include below sections of letters that I have written to others in similar circumstances that I have found useful.

The main gay paper is the Seattle Gay News, and there is always a calendar of events for the week and a map of gay locales bars, bookstores, sex shops (SEE BELOW FOR A LISTING). Other papers include the Lesbian Resource Center Community News, and the Stranger (not a gay paper per se, but a great local alternative paper, which has very good listings for music, dance, theatre, films, etc. (and great personals and advice column!)). THE place to hang out is the Broadway Market, which is very social and very queer (the Pink Zone is there and sells only queer stuff), and there are several gay gyms (one in the Market). Broadway in general, as you may know, is very queer & queer-friendly, so there are lots of nice cafes where you can meet people too.
SPECIAL FOR WOMEN: In regards to the above, I should mention that R Place, the Eagle and the Cuff, and CC Slaughters and Thumpers are very predominantly male! However, the Timberline, the Encore, and the Re-bar have a good mix of women, too, and you should feel comfortable going to any one of them. Of course, there are women's spaces, too: are the WildRose (11th & Pike), a nice small bar/restaurant, relaxed and comfortable. There are other institutions for women, most notably the Lesbian Resouce Center, one of the oldest such places in the nation. It publishes a monthly paper, the Community News. Their # is 322-DYKE; I would recommend calling them to get an accurate picture of what to do in the women's community. Their drop-in hours are 2pm-7pm, but they're open at 9am for phone calls, etc.

Date: Sat, 15 Jul 1995 13:44:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Bars, Books, Baths

Check out GayCities Seattle, or you may consult the list below, from the Seattle Gay News: with some commentary of my own.


	  CC Attle;  Madison & 15th; dark, crowded, loud
          Changes 2103 N. 45th, 545-8363. In Wallingford, neighborhood bar.
          The Crescent 1413 E. Olive Way, 720-8023. Horseshoe bar and juke box,
         	 piano bar Sunday. Small.
          The Cuff 1533 13th 
		Ave., 323-1525. Pool table, Leather, Levi.  Popular Sunday beer bust.
          Double Header 407 2nd Ave., 464-9918. Pool table, dancing. Oldest Gay
	          Bar on West Coast.
          Eagle 314 East Pike St., 621-7591 Leather, Levi, Uniform. Rock DJ's.
		Outdoor area in back.  
          Elite 622 Broadway E., 324-4470. Neighborhood Bar. ALL Welcome.
          Jade Pagoda 606 Broadway E., 322-5900. Lunch, dinner specials, and
          	happy hour.  Bar is gay.
          Madison Pub 1315 E. Madison, 325-6537. Neighborhood Pub w/pool,
          	darts, large import beer selection.
          Martin's 1413 14th Ave, 323-2158. 
          Neighbours 1509 Broadway, 324-5358. Restaurant, lounge and disco.
	          Nightly specials.  Drag and lip-synch shows.  Big.
          R Place 619 E. Pine, 322-8828. A Seattle Pub. Pool, darts, pinball,
	          microbrews on 3 floors.
          Re-bar 1114 Howell (at Boren Ave.). Mon-Surrealistic Noise Lounge;
        	Tue-Live music; Wed-World Beat w/Riz; Thu-Queer Disco; 
		Fri-Macambo Lounge; Sat-Queens Night Out. Diverse crowd.
          Rosebud Espresso & Bistro 719 E Pike, 323-6636. Lunch, Dinner,
          	Weekend brunch, serves liquor. Open late.
          Sonya's, 1900 block of 1st Ave., near Pike Place Mkt.
		Restaurant and lounge (with a view of Elliott Bay).
          Thumpers 1500 E. Madison, 328-3800. Restaurant/Bar. Genteel.
          Wildrose Tavern 1021 E. Pike, 324-9210, Lesbian bar that serves lunch
          	& dinner, beer & wine. Has great jukebox, non-smokers' 
		section, dance floor
          Bailey/Coy Books 414 Broadway Ave. E., 323-8842. General bookstore.
          Beyond the Closet Bookstore 1501 Belmont Ave., 322-4609.  Gay 
          The Crypt 1310 E. Union, 325-3882. Sex paraphernalia and magazines
          Red & Black Books 432 15th Ave. E., 322-7323. Feminist coop/gay.
          Seattle Leather Mercantile 1204 E Pike. Great boot selection, custom
          	leather. 860-LTHR (5847)
          Sunshine Thrift Shops *NONPROFIT*, 1605 12th Ave # 25, 324-9774. Open
	          M-F, 12-6pm, Sat 10-7pm, Sun 10-5pm. Charity Thrift Shops 
		providing financial hope for non-profit AIDS organizations.
          Taboo Video 1012 1st Ave. 622-SEXY
          Toys in Babeland 711 E. Pike St. Toys, etc. for the pleasure oriented
          	woman. 328-2914
          Basic Plumbing On 10th b.w Pine and Pike. 682-8441. Gay men's
		club $14 membership/$7 thereafter. Open til 5 am
          Club Seattle 1520 Summit Ave., 329-2334. Clean, friendly and safe.
          Club "Z" 1117 Pike St., 622-9958. Private men's club. 

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 1994 14:56:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Seattle B&Bs (fwd)

Broadway Commercial district:

	N<=========Bway East=========|=====Bway=====>S
	  700 			    0 1800   	   1500
<to the Univ. District			bars this area, 
						east & west of here

(all in area code 206)	
Continental Inn	 	324-9511 	955 10th E (Capitol Hill, 2 blks N of 
					Bway comm dist)  
Chambered Nautilus	522-2536	5005 22nd NE (NE of U Dist)
Galer Place		282-5339	318 W Galer (Queen Anne)
Gaslight Inn		325-3654	1727 15th (15th is a pleasant 
					commercial dist; near some bars, 5 
					blocks from Bway)
Gypsy Arms*	in Fremont district 
Landes House		329-8781	712 11th E (very close to Bway)
Shafer Mansion (!)	329-4628	907 14th E
Duncan Guest Hse	324-4904; 322-3818	1509 S Winthrop St  
Broadway Guest Hse	329-1864	959 Broadway E
Hill House		720-7161	1113 E John (close to Broadway)

* more details on Gypsy Arms, from the owners: "We are fairly well
connected to the BDSM communities, but am trying to find a way to connect
to our other gay friends as well.  Our upper two floors are a traditional
B&B, with the subterranean level being a dungeon that is available for the
clients use at will.  We try to pamper our guests while attempting to make
it a place that is affordable to all...Gary P.  Kubista, Manager Gypsy

(These are all taken from gay listings)

I would add that you could also try the College Inn in the University District (633-4441; 4000 Univ Way NE). I imagine it's cheaper than most of the "gay" places (yes, they are mostly not in the 'budget' column--all those tastefully-appointed Victorian B&Bs!), and it is very close to the University, but it would be a 10-15 mins bus ride to Capitol Hill (the gay ghetto) where everything queer (almost) is. Also the restaurant in the College Inn stays ovpen really late (I believe) and might not be the most peaceful place to stay. You might also think of trying to get some housing on campus, if it is summer break; there may be vacant housing units. I don't know where exactly to direct you, but the main info # for the UW is 543-2100.

Let me add that there is good bus service b/w the "U-Dub" and "the Hill"--take the 7, 9 or 43 (the latter runs a more circuitous route) in either direction. Taxis are hard to come by unless you call ahead for one.

And this from a visitor in the summer of '94; I include it not as an endorsement (since I'm sure most all the above places are just fine), but as feedback:

Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 17:07:56 +1000 (est)
To: Richard Isaac

" You may or may not recall sending me some info on places to stay and to go to in Seattle (a couple of months back). I'm now back in Oz and thought I'd thank you for the info. I ended up staying at Hill House and it was wonderful. Not the cheapest of options but really great. The location is perfect - near Broadway and on the bus route to the uni (where I had to go for work stuff) and the city, and the whole setup is great. If other people ask you for recommendations for places to stay in Seattle you can confidently recommend it - great rooms, FANTASTIC breakfasts, friendly, beautiful etc. (no this is not a paid advertisement!!). In fact it was just about the best place I stayed in my two month trip through the US, UK, Amsterdam, and Paris.
" Seattle is a great city and the gay scene/Capitol Hill is fantastic. Here in Sydney the scene is also good, but the main gay places are more nightclub-y than the great neighbourhood/community feel of Capitol Hill. I really enjoyed my time in Seattle."

	Date: Thu, 4 Aug 1994 13:22:10 -0700 (PDT)
	Subject: Seattle gay-friendly corps (fwd)

I checked the Queer Resource Directory and found out the following:

Local companies in the top 100 gay friendly corps: Microsoft, REI, Seattle City Light, Starbucks (coffee).

Local companies w/non-discrimination policies: Microsoft, Adobe, USWest. Also the City of Seattle and King County, and the state government (and hence the University of Washington, a state school).

Local companies w/domestic partnership policies: Microsoft, Seattle Times, Seattle Mental Health Institute, Visio Corp. Also, the City of Seattle!

Many local companies have gay employee groups: Microsoft, Boeing, Seattle Times, USWest, and the Univ. of Wash. Several have e-mail (ex. G/L Univ. Employees:

I'm sure there are many other good companies and gay/lesbian employee groups but I'm not an expert in this area. Hopefully this will be a start.

It is a liberal area, including most of King county. I think it is comfortable in general for queers here. Altho I do have a friend in a computer corp in the suburbs who says his company is not so friendly. So there are some of each of course, just like everywhere.

compiled by Richard Isaac

Comments? Write me at

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