LGBTQ activists in Seattle prefer ‘the weird’ over a playground for kids

Alphabet activists cheered a win over community kids after pushing back on playground plans that would have hampered their “queer safe space” — an unofficial nude beach.

(Video: KING 5)

An anonymous donor’s apparent plans to impede on Seattle exhibitionists came to a screeching halt after LGBTQ protesters imposed their will on Seattle Parks and Recreation. More than half a million dollars promised for the creation of a playground on the shore of Lake Washington was not enough to overcome the reported “hundreds” who showed up to a community meeting to challenge the plans.

“It has always been a place for the weird and the wonderful and that’s part of what makes Seattle such a wonderful city is the weirdos,” advocate Colleen Kimseylove told KING 5 from Denny Blaine Park.

Though not officially designated as a nude beach, the area had reportedly been used for decades as such and members of the LGBTQ community suspected that plans to build a playground at the location were deliberately intended to weaponize obscenity laws against them.

Public nudity in the state of Washington remains legal unless a person “makes any open and obscene exposure…knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm,” a misdemeanor in most cases and a felony if the exposure is in front of a child under the age of 14.

Further, the law stated, “Indecent exposure is a class C felony if the person has previously been convicted under this section or of a sex offense as defined in [the Revised Code of Washington].”

“This is the only space for this community to survive,” meeting attendee Tom Sparks told KUOW. “Don’t let a couple of rich, angry people take it away from us.”

The outlet asserted, “For queer and trans Seattleites, it’s been a safe and relatively secluded place to bare it all without harassment, or even passerby. So beachgoers were startled when a sign recently appeared at the park announcing the potential addition of a children’s playground.”

Organizers had managed to accumulate over 8,000 signatures in opposition to the plan estimated to cost over $550,000 and Friday, SPR spokesperson Rachel Schulkin said in an emailed statement, “While this area of our city still lacks accessible play equipment for kids and families, we understand the feedback that this particular park is not the best location, and we will evaluate other location alternatives.”

“Many members of the public spoke to the importance of this space and use as a beach, and the cohesion it has brought within the LGBTQIA+ community,” the statement went on. “Additionally, community spoke of the unintended consequences adding a play area to this beach site would possibly bring. This is why we have a robust community engagement process, ensuring all people — including those who have been historically marginalized — have their voices heard and perspectives considered.”

A community organizer identified as Sophie Amity Debs told KING 5, “We are so ecstatic to hear back from parks not only that the playground won’t be happening but so quickly, with such a quick turnaround.”

Debs added that the group, which had offered up a map with alternative sites nearby to build a playground, hoped to “Get this space designated as officially a clothing-optional beach hopefully, as well as potentially recognizing its history as a queer safe space.”

Advocate Jesse Miranda lamented, “It’s just imperative to acknowledge the fact that one donor can influence our society and close a safe space at their whim by donating half a million dollars. It’s abhorrent.”

Reactions on social media hardly agreed with Miranda as many called out that the self-identified victim class took precedence over families.

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