Seattle is reportedly home to the second largest GLBT population by percentage in the United States. (At the Nordstrom sale you might think we’re first.) Yet it’s one of the few metropolitan areas without a dedicated GLBT community center.
But there’s hope – and action. Louise Chernin, GSBA executive director, has led the charge for building a proposed LGBT Community Center at the center of the future Capitol Hill light rail station. In a statement to capitolhillseattle.com last fall, Chernin cites a survey by the City of Seattle finding that the number one need of our community is a dedicated community center. As Chernin points out, “LGBT folks live everywhere, but we all think of Capitol Hill as the heart of the LGBT community.” (You can read more about the proposed Community Center on the Sound Transit page.)
Just as important in this discussion as who, what, where, and why, is how. How would we all get to this invaluable community center on the hill?
We would be coming from home, school and work; represent all age groups; and have varying degrees of physical ability. We might have kids with us. We might still be kids. And we might not have much money. Walking, biking, and driving may not or never be available modes of transportation.
Public transit – namely bus and light-rail – could generally provide reliable and affordable access to this community center, thus meaningful access to the numerous social services proposed. Without this transit infrastructure, the center’s resources would be out of reach for many of our community members who are most in need of them.
Bus and light-rail, however, require broad planning and thoughtful funding. This being Seattle, you have myriad opportunities to be as civically engaged as you have energy. Don’t hesitate to get or stay involved. When the first light-rail train pulls in you’ll want to be able to say, “I helped get us here.”
Capitol Hill Station TOD – Cool descriptions on the Sound Transit website of the related Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects.
Seattle Transit Blog – Web 2.0 for knowing how to get around town. Use the search feature to find information related to the Capitol Hill light rail station or proposed LGBT Community Center.
yourcapitolhill.com – Sound Transit & Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce’s website to keep businesses on the hill thriving while the light rail station construction is underway.
By Ariyah DeSouza
Published in the GSBA Perspectives Magazine in 2011