More drama during Seattle’s Queer Pride week as the local transgender activist group Gender Justice League tells the Seattle Public Library that their presence isn’t wanted at Friday’s Seattle Trans Pride event at Volunteer Park. The Seattle Public Library had asked to be a part of the festival with a booth at the event alongside other local non-profits but GJL turned them down citing ongoing problems with how the Seattle Public Library addresses issues and concerns with the local transgender community.
The League issued a statement last week addressing the issue with the Library as well as ongoing issues with the City of Seattle itself:
And, they made it clear they weren’t backing down until the City and Library make some changes:
Trans Pride Seattle is a holy, sacred, and inviolable space by-and-for Two Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people. We make no apologies for denying access to our space to cisgender-led state institutions such as SPL, who host hate mongers and bigots.
Even after SPL reached out to us to ask why we declined to provide them with a table, they continued to violate our community’s trust. After we explained our decision, asking them to reconsider their position, they chose to forward our email to reporters rather than continue to engage in direct conversation with us in a regenerative process. It is beyond laughable for a tax-funded government entity to seek press attention—positioning themselves as a “victim” for being denied a table, given their history of illegal discrimination against trans people, while national 2SLGBTQIA+ communities are in a state of emergency during our Pride season.
The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Library has a choice. They can choose to stand with Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people by refusing to use tax dollars to provide security, staffing, space, and promotion to hate mongers, and make the conscious decision to defend themselves in court should they be sued for doing so.
Or, they can continue their current course of action of trans antagonism. Ignoring trans people 11 months out of the year, hosting hostile hate mongers, and then demanding access to one of the only sacred community spaces trans people have—that is not intended for them—simply so they can “put a rainbow on it”, check off a diversity box, and continue benefiting from our oppression, while remaining neutral and untargeted politically.
Seattle is home to one of the largest Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse communities in the country—with more than 3.8% of Seattlites responding that they identify as “transgender” to the U.S. Census Bureau’s PULSE survey.
It is long past time that the City Council and Mayor’s office develop a Trans Justice Action Plan under a Sanctuary City Framework, and spell out specifically how they will keep our community safe, and increase capacity to address the economic and political crisis we are facing. We need them to take a strong stand in legally defending themselves against hate groups that they refuse to platform going forward.
We look forward to the city librarian, the library staff, and the City of Seattle taking this opportunity to reflect on the harm that platforming hate groups has caused our community. We are no longer interested in hollow talk of dialogue in the press followed by inaction and silence. We want to see concrete actions by the Mayor, City Council and City Departments—until then, the Seattle Public Library will not be welcome at Trans Pride Seattle.
Gender Justice League & Trans Pride Seattle
Seattle Public Library’s stance on renting out meeting room facilities for outside groups has been that they must be open to anyone who applies despite their beliefs because to refuse to do so, would be censorship and make the library liable to be sued under the First Amendment.
Trans Pride Seattle will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year as they move their event to the Volunteer Park Amphitheater for the Friday, June 23rd festival happening between 5:30pm and 8:30pm with a number of guests and performances. From the invite: