sistawendy: (contemplative red)
Twenty-eight years ago today I rolled into Seattle for the first time. How different was the city then? The Boeing bust of the '70s was still fresh in everyone's memory, and the end of Boeing's dominance over the city's economy was just appearing on the horizon. Microsoft had moved to Redmond a scant four years earlier. Capitol Hill, my spiritual home and the then-new gayborhood, may have still had some light industry still in the neighborhood. Seattle had affordable housing, a bus system it was proud of that seemed to meet mass transit needs, and grunge in every sense. Not much later if at all it also had a Queer Patrol out of necessity, a notorious heroin economy with visible impact - see "grunge" - and not much going on work-wise for any techies who, like me, disdained Microsoft*.

I miss the fun, the funk, and the low-budget DIY spirit of Seattle then, but I was often too preoccupied to take advantage of it until this century: school, relationships, work, trying to be a straight dude. Is that gone, drowned in tech money, never to return? I don't think it's gone completely, and it can be saved. If we can save ourselves from going the way of Detroit, we can save ourselves from going the way of San Francisco.

On an unrelated note, attendance for last night's trans group at Lambert House smashed the previous record. I filled up an attendance sheet and mostly emptied the downstairs. Attendance had been so poor early this summer that the volunteer coordinator expressed concern about it to me and my fellow facilitators. The only even partial explanation I have for this is that the school year just started, so everyone's back from vacation and perhaps jonesing for some queer contact after being exposed to their families more than usual, but this is nothing like past years.



*Yeah, 19 years later I ended up working for the bastids, but that was partly to obtain meds to keep my then-wife ambulatory.

Date: 2017-09-12 11:44 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] tylik
tylik: (Default)
* Capitol Hill had been going gay for quite a while by then! It was a thing in the seventies when I was a kid.

* Did you spend any time at DEC (I'm thinking specifically in the interval before Cutler bailed...)?

...I miss the west coast so much, but there are times I look around at Cleveland, which has been coming to life the whole time I've been hear, and feel like it has more in common with the Seattle of my youth than today's city does.

Date: 2017-09-13 12:13 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] tylik
tylik: (Default)
Huh... I knew more gay men? But that was a child's perspective - by the time I was old enough to really have a clue, and to be figuring out myself as a queer girl, AIDS was a thing. Huh. That also doesn't square with other folks I've spoken with from the old hood.

I'm sure you've heard a bunch of my stories about DEC and Cutler and so on. (And my dad living in his guest house, and... gah. I mean, it was really cool to grow up in the computer community there back when it was tiny, but then, there's always my family. I figured it was one of the non-msft spots to work.

Cleveland is weirdly awesome - I haven't gotten enough community here (though only part of that is Cleveland) but a lot of really cool things are going on. And it's livable and affordable and has a great arts scene, and wonderful historic homes, and great old buildings that just need a bit of TLC. (It's also pretty decent when it comes to climate change and other disasters.) There's a sense of grit and possibility here that I find really appealing.

...almost certainly not enough to stay long term, but I'm thinking about it more and more, as Seattle per se looks less appealing. I miss the coast, I miss mountains more, but mostly, I want community.

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