Queer Issue 2024

The Books of Love

Charlie’s Queer Books Is a Welcoming Space for Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Lit Nerds

The Future of HIV Treatment Is Injectable

Promising Drugs Could Expand Treatment–If We Get Out of Our Own Way

What’s Next for Denny Blaine?

Maybe New Rules, but Certainly Fewer Thorns

Dave Upthegrove Wants to Save the Trees

...And Become Washington State’s First Gay Executive While He’s at It

Queer Issue 2024 Pickup Locations

Looking for a Copy of This Year’s Queer Issue? You Can Find One at the Following Locations.

Can Seattle Drag Afford to Stay Weird?

Rising Costs, and Fewer Beginner-Friendly Venues, Are Sanitizing Seattle’s Drag Scene

50 Years of Queers

Gay Betrayals! Rich Prudes! Queer Futures! And an Absolutely Stuffed Pride Calendar!

The Gays Who Slayed and the Gays Who Betrayed

Not Every Queer Politician Is an “Ally”

The Reality Behind the Story I Told The Stranger

I Said I Was Detrans, but Really I Was Struggling

Out of This World

Forming the SassyBlack Universe

The Futures of Seattle’s Gayborhood

An Architect, an Urban Planner, a Documentarian, an Academic, and a Business Owner Imagine What Capitol Hill Will Look Like in 50 Years

The Stranger will go on the record saying we love gay people. We love being gay people, being friends with gay people, dating gay people, and, heck, we even love electing gay people!

But none of that stops us from critiquing Seattle’s first lesbian Mayor for tear-gassing the gayborhood during Pride Month, and we certainly don’t want to see the likes of former Mayor Ed Murray creeping back into the halls of power.

Just like straight elected officials, LGBTQ elected officials can sometimes slay, sometimes betray, and–when you take off your rainbow-tinted glasses–sometimes they wind up somewhere in the gray. Let’s take a quick little look-see at some primary examples.

Slay :)

Let’s start with the positive–it is Pride Month, after all.

Every single member of the current Washington State Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus has slayed a time or two, and every year they all spearhead and/or support bills to improve and protect our civil rights. Yes, even Sen. Jamie Pedersen *grumble grumble*. But some slays have been more major than others.

Wayyyyy back in 2011, Pedersen passed a bill legalizing and regulating surrogacy, opening up opportunities for queer people looking to become parents. He also carried the gay marriage bill for years before its passage. More recently, he helped repeal antiquated “lewd conduct” rules to free the nipple near booze in gay clubs and in strip clubs.

Sen. Claire Wilson championed the Comprehensive Sex Ed bill in 2019 and sponsored legislation to establish the Washington State LGBTQ Commission, ensuring that queer people have a seat at every table. That same year, Sen. Marko Liias passed a bill codifying a bunch of best practices related to student records, privacy, and restroom access for trans kids. Last year, Liias also staunchly supported and defended legislation to protect trans runaways.

In 2024, Sen. Emily Randall passed a bill to ensure that religious hospital mergers and acquisitions do not restrict access to reproductive and gender-affirming care.

Beyond more obvious wins for the girls, the gays, and the theys, some legislators also understand that queer and trans people suffer under wealth inequality. Rep. Laurie Jinkins sponsored a capital gains tax every year from 2012 until it finally passed. Rep. Nicole Macri fights hard against the landlord lobby to protect renters from gouging. And Rep. Beth Doglio state house has to approve a really neat bill to give striking workers unemployment insurance benefits.

Gray :/

Jax Ko

But representation is not a magic pill to get all the policies that queer people want, partially because queer people are not a monolith of blue-haired baristas like the internet would have you believe.

Sometimes LGBTQ politicians feel the pressure to conform to the moderate status quo because they face more scrutiny than straight peers. And sometimes, politicians of all sexualities just suck.

Queer communities demanded that the State Legislature pass rent control this session, but Sen. Pedersen decided to ride the fence instead of taking a strong stand with the progressive, working-class gays. When cops put gay nightlife under attack because of prudish laws around nudity and alcohol, Jinkins, the first lesbian Speaker of the House, didn’t do much speaking to the press! Citing her public health background, she reportedly objected to the bill due to concerns over the expansion of alcohol licenses. She eventually voted the right way, but queer people, strippers, and queer strippers deserved a stronger advocate in Jinkins.

Some have betrayed the gays in more subtle ways. For example, Liias floated a bad car tabs “fix” in 2020 that would have slashed more than a $1 billion in transit funding. LGBTQ+ people need reliable public transit! They can’t drive! Or at least I am a queer person who can’t. Luckily for us all, the proposal never landed.

Betray >:(

Jax Ko

Of course, those weak moments from the caucus sorta pale in comparison to the shit gay Republicans and mayors have gotten up to.

When he was in the State Legislature, Republican James West, who chaired committees and served for a year as Senate Majority Leader, voted against gay rights bills and supported anti-gay bills. He later became Mayor of Spokane, but he lost the gig over a gay sex scandal in 2006. Bruh.

On the other side of the mountains, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan totally eroded public trust by allegedly dropping her phone into a tide pool, destroying text messages that could have revealed critical information about her horrendous handling of the CHOP in 2020. But she’s somehow less disgraceful than Murray, who left his position as Mayor in 2017 after being outed as an alleged child sex abuser, allegations he denies.

As much as The Stranger would love to see more gay, lesbian, trans, and bisexual women with boyfriends in the halls of power, we understand that we shouldn’t elect just anyone with pronouns in their bio. Some queer people have shit opinions. Some queer people have great opinions. And, of course, no person–much less a politician under the crushing pressure of their donors and the institutions themselves–is perfect. But Rep. Macri comes pretty close. ν