Homo The LGBT Center is Gone…
posted by January 21 at 9:40 AMon
…but the divisiveness promoted by its incompetent leadership promises to live on.
The SGN had a story in Friday’s paper about the demise of the gay community center. You gotta love the heavy breathing lead…
For the first time in nearly six years, the walls in the brick building at 1115 Pike Street—surrounded by the hammers of new construction—stand empty. Seattle’s LGBT Center is as dark as a January night.
I walk that block of Pike Street every day and, yeah, I’m always tripping over the piles of hammers those irresponsible construction works leave behind at the end of day. And now I know why I never saw anyone in the Center when I walked past: meetings were held in the walls, not the offices, but now the walls stand empty. It’s a tragedy.
Anyhoo, this story, like all the others in the SGN about the Center’s demise, doesn’t go into detail about the Center’s collapse. But it does tick off some vague reasons why the gay community groups now want for walls in which to meet:
…unsuccessful attempts at finding more affordable space, weak financial management, and a dispersed community have challenged the vitality of the Center.
Weak financial management—tell us more, SGN. How much was coming in? How much was going out? Where did the money go? Who was making the decisions about how the community center’s money—the community’s money—was spent? Those questions and others aren’t answered in the piece, of course, because the SGN is too polite to pry, I suppose, or perhaps they’re too embarrassed. The Center most went tits up because its leadership, egged on by the SGN and Capitol Hill bar owners, poured its scarce resources into Queerfest, an effort to return Seattle’s gay pride celebrations on Capitol Hill after SOAP, the group that organizes the Pride Parade, moved the parade downtown. (The downtown parade was a big success but SOAP encountered financial difficulties of its own).
The SGN does admit, in a graph buried deep in the story, that Queerfest was a money loser:
The Center is currently running a development campaign to energize its financial resources depleted by a difficult year that included a Pride festival on Capitol Hill that raised less net dollars than expected.
Read “raised less net dollars than expected” as “divided the gay community, lost shitloads of money, didn’t stop the downtown Pride Parade, and ultimately sank the Center.” But has the Center’s discredited, incompetent “leadership”—what’s left of it anyway—and the SGN learned their lesson? Nope:
Queerfest—which attempted to maintain a separate Pride Festival on Capitol Hill—will not be continued by the Center in 2008, but may be licensed to a local organization.
Yes, yes: by all means, keep Queefest going. What we need in 2008—what we need while the Center begs for money—is another bitter, divisive fight between the silent majority of gays and lesbians that preferred the symbolism and energy of a parade on 4th Avenue and a vocal minority of gays and lesbians that want to keep the parade on Capitol Hill. All the SGN and the Center have to find now is a local organization with a deathwish.