The GSBA Blog


A Message from Seattle's LGBTQ Executive Directors

| Apr 21, 2017


"Our community has had a painful and difficult week as it tries to sort out the ramifications of allegations made against Mayor Murray. Public accusations of sexual assault bring to the surface past and current fears and distress for community members who have lived under the long shadow of sexual abuse and rape. Given the current climate of threats against our hard fought civil rights protections, most especially against our transgender community, we may all be feeling especially vulnerable. 

There is no one correct response to the recent news and, while we may feel external or internal pressures to take a “side,” we know that our community members are simultaneously at greater risk for both sexual assault and exploitation AND stigma and vilification. We know that both ‘sides’ of these harms are on the same coin of homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism.

As a community, we stand in solidarity with all survivors of domestic and sexual violence including LGBTQ survivors, as we know they are incredibly marginalized, and often ridiculed and targeted for speaking out. We can simultaneously hold this truth alongside another truth that, independent of these specific allegations, the tactic to cast LGBTQ people as pedophiles and predators has been used against us for decades, as a means to garner fear and hatred that would justify limiting our rights. The timing of this situation reinforces this common refrain, raising doubts about our moral standards, making us further targets for violence, and forcing us back into the closet.

This is not new to anyone who is LGBTQ, but we are a resilient community, proud of our achievements, determined to protect each other from harm, and united in our commitment to retain our hard fought civil rights laws.   

As the Executive Directors of agencies serving the LGBTQ community, we encourage you to reach out to one of our agencies whether you are an adult or a youth, for services, support, and safety or to connect with your community. Our organizations support the arts, provide support for LGBTQ small business owners, fight for LGBTQ civil protections and human rights for all people, provide mental health and chemical dependency services, as well as offer information, advocacy and support for those who are dealing with HIV and AIDS, and provide LGBTQ survivors of sexual and domestic violence culturally-specific services and advocacy. 

Seattle has one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the United States with a broad range of organizations that are proud to serve our community and are committed to continuing to build a vibrant LGBTQ community for our children, youth, adults and elders. We welcome you to reach out to us and get involved."

Danni Askini, Executive Director
Gender Justice League

Karter Booher, Executive Director
Ingersoll Gender Center

Connie Burk, Executive Director
The Northwest Network 

Louise Chernin, Executive Director
Greater Seattle Business Association

Gary Davis, Executive Director
Companis

Barbara Ebert, Executive Director
Lifelong
Kris Hermanns, Executive Director
Pride Foundation

Rebecca Lane, Executive Director 
Generations Aging With Pride

Ann McGettigan, Executive Director
Seattle Counseling Service

Egan Orion, Executive Director
PrideFest

Fred Swanson, Executive Director
Gay City

Joshua Wallace, Executive Director
Seattle Area Support Groups