History of QYS and the Mutiny Charter

Roots of Queer Youth Space

We Found Space

 

The Mutiny Charter

On February 20, 2010, hundreds of youth came together and voiced these feelings about the community and how they wanted their needs to be addressed.

I. Ideology

What are our definitions and political positions?


How can we define “queer”? What does it encompass?

  • “Queer” just means against the norm, it’s hard to put boundaries on that.
  • “Queer” is a relatively new concept that’s meant to be all-inclusive of LGBTQI, maybe even allies?
  • I think having a queer youth space might help queer youth 100%, but it doesn’t help other youth (like questioning) as much.


How can we define “space”?

  • Space is my friends, my home.
  • A venue? A coffee shop? Gay days at Disneyland? Gay bingo?
  • The space I’m thinking of is a place to see people you don’t see every day at school. A third place—not school/work and not home.
  • Most queer space is hyper-commercial or about alcohol consumption like Pride.
  • Physical environment needs to be malleable and multipurpose. Multipurpose furniture.
  • Space is really broad.
  • We want to do it all.
  • Lambert House is a queer youth space that’s been there for years. So I want this project to be something new that helps promote both existing resources and new ideas.


How can we define “youth”? What does it encompass?

  • You hear a lot of people describing youth who are 26; I don’t consider that ‘youth’. It feels like youth are up to 21 years old.
  • The people determining policy for queer youth are adults – youth need more of a voice.
  • The law distinguishes people as under 18 and under 21; these distinctions may be hard to overcome.
  • Technically someone is an adult at 18, but that doesn’t seem adequate.
  • Queer community tends to be organized more around bars.
  • Youth are under 20.
  • Service provider definition: 14-22 years of age (funding requirements, legal reasons, safety – not having 14 year olds)
  • You could be a legitimate adult and feel like a youth – but that’s messed up. There needs to be a limit. You are not an adult when you’re 18.
  • Mix of age and emotional state.
  • Is youth a measure of maturity? Partially.
  • How young is our community? Are middle schoolers and high schoolers going to want to hang together?
  • Youth/age is based on how we feel, but since we don’t have access to “adult spaces”, it’s 20 and below due to access to spaces.
  • If queer youth community was well formed, we wouldn’t need to create spaces because all spaces would be for us.
  • Youth isn’t just about how old you are or how old you feel, but it’s about how you organize.
  • Focusing on organizing needs to be on 21 and under crowd and give opportunities for 21+ to participate in some capacity, such as volunteering.
  • Self-identifying: does society see us as youth? Am I oppressed by adultism?
  • Youth isn’t 18 and under 21. If you’re into the concept of youth, then you get to identify as a youth.
  • How do you create a safe space for an 8 year old? Is it going to be supervised? 8 year olds don’t go into coffee shops without their parents so no.


What are the roles of adults in youth led models? Adult allyship?

  • Adults need to support and nourish youth. Give youth ideas to form their own ideas. Youth have great ideas but sometimes we need an extra push. Someone who has experience and knows a lot about the world could help.
  • Adults can play a role by being chaperones for different events so we can have all-ages events (if it’s necessary).
  • Adults shouldn’t claim allyship. It needs to be identified by the community. And if an individual identifies you, there needs to be awareness that it doesn’t mean a whole community identifies you as an ally.
  • Adults should be doing everything the youth are, age shouldn’t be a hindrance. Adults can be mentors or additional community support, using their ties instead of us having to reinvent the wheel. Use the adults as a resource.
  • I like queer youth leading, but I like the support of adult mentors to help us, and we both mix together. But also having separate forums for both youth and older people.
  • Some adult input is useful, but not too much; for us to reinvent the wheel is also learning how to build the wheel; it is good to get some of the parts and some of the instructions. (Adults will be IKEA, but free IKEA.)
  • Adults need to be supportive and backing it up—if people get angry and want to keep youth out, you need adults there to defend them, say “I am there for you” if you need it.
  • It also gives ethos—some sort of stance to go from, not just kids hanging out saying we feel entitled.
  • It’s a fine line because I’ve done a lot with adult-led youth service organizations and its kind of like being told what you want; youth aren’t exactly heard when adults are in power – how do we make sure things are egalitarian (equal access to power, like community households)?
  • Be careful about what adults you have in power, but making sure that it’s someone in the community that understands we want a youth-led space.
  • We could have a questionnaire sheet, basically what are you interested in, and a youth-led panel for an interview
  • Adults can be more volunteers. Like if a set number of youth are there all the time, adults are more volunteers; I know as a volunteer I have to listen to who is running it.
  • Adults maybe can advise, but by being a volunteer it is more equal.
  • Some youth who are getting paid for the work they are doing, and a lot trail off at the end and a lot of the times it’s the adults getting paid and the youth aren’t.
  • Some work should be same pay. I’ve seen a lot of adults get paid a lot more than youth.
  • Adults should work “with” youth instead of “for” youth.
  • We could have a Fairy Godmother who could help us when we need it.
  • We could have a certificate program for individuals and organizations to ensure queer youth allyship.


What are specific ways that adult allies can support youth?

  • Note taking
  • They can share experience and resources
  • They can help organize while respecting youths’ vision. Youth need a place for leadership and to express their ideas.


II. Environment

What are the current conditions?


Why are you here? What made you come to the Mutiny?

  • I’m not in school and I feel detached from the queer community. QYS would open up opportunities.
  • I feel detached from the queer community.
  • I want radical change.
  • I’m writing a story on it, wanted to check it out.
    • The word “mutiny” is incendiary because business owners feel a little attacked/blamed that there aren’t more queer youth spaces.
  • Tough economic times, it’s hard to open up space for clubs without some monetary compensation.
  • I’m volunteering at Lambert House and I feel like youth need more of a voice.
  • I’m a Seattle Office for Human Rights employee and I want queer youth to have safe spaces.
  • I’m a Lambert board member, I’ve been involved for years in queer youth community.
  • I’m a friend of an organizer, “mutiny” is a great strong word – I don’t feel that it’s a blame word so much as a revolutionary term; youth taking action and empowering themselves.
  • I’m interested in finding queer events for youth who may be homeless or low-income (no cover charges)
  • We need change.
  • I want queer youth space led by youth.
  • I’m in Triangle Club, I support this.
  • I want more space.
  • There aren’t a lot of spaces to hang out.
  • I’m an adult interested in youth environment work.
  • I’m interested in having egalitarian models
  • I’m excited about the energy, but hesitant and worried about it, want to make my voice heard
  • I’m here to supportive.
  • I’m here because there wasn’t a space when I was younger.
  • I don’t know what’s going on, I am just curious.
  • I run AMP, and am hoping to be a resource about successful models and existing resources.
  • I’ve been meeting with the pre-mutiny and helping organize. Seattle’s lacking spaces for queer youth, so we need to take it if the city’s not going to give it to us.
  • I don’t feel like American society in general has space/access for youth, let alone queer youth. I just want a space. Acceptance is good – even for just the youth community.
  • This is my first time ever being on Capitol Hill—I’m so new out of the closet. So if I can help come and promote queer youth space, then why not.
  • I’m a volunteer at Lambert House (I sit on the board there) and am interested in knowing what youth want from established queer youth space(s).
  • I’m here to listen. I don’t know how I feel about QYS, so I figured I should know what it’s about.
  • I’m interested in making more of a safe space – I’m interested in making a space where anyone can come. I’m part of BGLAD in Redmond. I find BGLAD to be a very cool group – you never know what’s going to happen in each meeting, or who’s gonna drop in. I’m interested in a space in a big city—a centralized area—for anyone to come to.
  • I’m here to support queer youth space.
  • I’m part of a queer asian group and am interested in a community space where you don’t have to spend money to be there (like a coffeeshop). In the organizing I’ve been doing, I’ve wanted a lot more intergenerational stuff.


What’s inaccessible for queer youth right now?

  • Music shows, most are in bars or 21+ venues
  • Lambert House seems like more of a general hang-out spot; possibly not working for youth.
  • The question is not just providing space, but providing safe space—where they will not be persecuted or preyed upon. Concerned about adults sexually harassing youth.
  • Can the problem be solved by making existing spaces more queer-friendly or are queer-only spaces needed?
  • Socializing is based around LBGT bars because people feel more comfortable being around like-minded folks, but those are not accessible to youth.
  • There’s nothing open very late—after 9. Then everything’s 18 or 21+, regardless of who’s playing at the club.
  • I, for one, feel uncomfortable most anywhere on the Eastside and in the stores.
  • When you live in Seattle and can’t go out to other Eastside cities.
  • Seattle is more comfortable for me – everyone would want to burn the fags outside the cathedral where I’m from (Italy)
  • I’m from Chicago, and the queer community isn’t the biggest minority community (there’s still the KKK), so we sort of get pushed aside.
  • It’s difficult to meet people.
  • Clubs are off limits.
  • It is important to have places not centered around alcohol use. I feel uncomfortable around alcohol use and feel obligated to partake if I want to meet people.
  • Everything costs lots of money. The only events that are free are huge, and then it’s hard to meet people. The only all age venue is at the Vera Project. It’s uncomfortable to enter even coffee shops.
  • I’m from Sacramento, and I always thought it was really backwards, and now I go to SU and it’s on Capitol Hill, which is really gay friendly
  • Bellevue is kind of like yuppieville, so if they saw me walking down the street like this they’d sort of just look the other way – or sometimes I’ll get yelled at by frat guys. But I know I still have community elsewhere.
  • I’ve lived in Seattle so long, I really just feel comfortable anywhere here. There are just SO many buildings here – it’s the people more than the spaces.
  • How else do you find people to hang out with without spaces? The internet? Should that be the only option?
  • You don’t see a whole lot of other minorities here having a set space for them.
  • I think there are a lot of community centers for other minorities (especially racial ones) in the Central District and International District—maybe not so much on Capitol Hill, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen
  • Is there a community center on Capitol Hill that anyone goes to? I think they’re defunct.
  • If it’s a Seattle Parks space, don’t they have to be queer friendly, technically?
    • Not necessarily, they still have gender binary bathrooms
  • A lot of times in LGBT spaces, they’re really white spaces, and in other cultural groups, you can’t really be visible or out.
  • I think Seattle is on top of their game, comparatively, in being queer friendly. And it becomes easier to meet people as you get older (like college groups), and I think if anything the challenge for queer youth in general is to learn more techniques to interact with people.
  • I think we should be careful in how we define it—if it’s a space that’s “queer youth central”, then people who are questioning might not feel comfortable going there for fear of being labeled, whether or not they are queer
  • Some queer sports teams require you to be 21 (girls soccer/rugby/softball), or they meet in bars.
  • Lots of shows at the Crocodile and the Showbox that you can’t get into.
  • Fake Ids are really frustrating.
  • No social, raucous cool dance space—like PONY but for youth. I don’t even want to drink. Something like a queer Vera—Vera’s great but it’s not queer specific.
  • Fundraisers and stuff for young people are often run in 21+ environments which is wrong
  • R-Place and Neighbors open to youth after 2 but it’s an empty gesture.


  • The only space I know about is Lambert House and I don’t know anyone who goes there, not to mention the systemic problems.
  • Certain spaces are dominated by the queer community but are not accessible to queer youth.


What makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable in space? What is safe and not safe space?

  • I’m not comfortable if it feels patronizing.
  • Practical safety issues are important—emergency exits, bouncers, etc.
  • There are places you walk into where you just know it’s not okay to be gay, even if they advertise themselves as “gay friendly”.
  • Being around people who are like you – LGBTQI, people of color, etc.
  • Knowing people will be okay with your gender preference and sexual orientation—some visual indicator that it’s a safe space. (Having preferred pronouns on nametags)
  • Being around people of the same age.
  • Using gender-specific bathrooms makes me feel very uncomfortable.
  • Seeing other queer youth makes me feel comfortable. In Woodinville, you hardly ever see that. On Capitol Hill, you see lots of different-looking people, so you feel more comfortable. In a community center there, you might see someone who looks more like you.
  • I’d feel uncomfortable going to a “queer youth space”, worrying about people thinking, “oh, he’s queer”, so I’d be more comfortable with a youth space that’s queer friendly.
    • Like a youth-acceptance center. (a YAC!)
  • We have to fight for things. Queers don’t feel safe in most straight venues. There are still times when I am getting yelled “dike” out the window.
  • How can we construct a space that isn’t a ghetto or box that we can be placed into?
  • Once you are on the Hill you just feel like you have entered a queer space.
  • All queer people are different, there isn’t just one type of lesbian or one type of gay man, there should be representation of everyone.
  • It is about getting people together at the zoo.
  • Everyone should help in building community.


  • There’s a stigma around bi vs. queer, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a “QUEER ONLY” space. If it’s an open space, I’d need that to be clear. And it needs to be a place where you can get education—Gay City, HIV prevention, etc.
  • It’s kinda hard because what I’ve found is that it is really cliquish. We have to keep people from being alienated.
  • The space that makes me comfortable is just comfortable; it needs to be like a home, if it is comfortable then it makes you comfortable. When you are sitting on a sofa, next to someone who is comfortable, it makes that sofa comfortable.


What makes queer space necessary?

  • Safety is key for queer individuals
  • Creating connections between like-minded individuals
  • We need to make sure everyone is being heard and not discounted because they aren’t queer, young, people of color, women, etc.
  • Some communities may be served better by a [insert identity]-only community
  • Allyship is also important—queer youth space needs to be envisioned by youth, but they need adult (and straight) allies.
  • The idea of “family” is important—when going into a space, ask “are you family?”. We need to feel safer; the rainbow flag denotes safety, we need that kind of community in queer youth space.
  • Capitol Hill has a strong community but it fosters spaces for 21+. But there is potential in this neighborhood.
  • The gay community is huge, but weak. We need a driving force behind us.


III. Action

What are we going to do?


What do you want from Queer Youth Space? What should we be or not be?

  • A place to meet people and learn/grow from each other.
  • I don’t think QYS could pull off an amazing coffee shop, but instead create something more mobile. Mobile, not just one space.
  • QYS could arrange existing spaces so youth can utilize those spaces and deem them as queer, bridging the gap.
  • Mobility is an important thing when it comes to QYS.
  • Queer-friendly places that are all-ages.
  • What about people with psychological problems? Should there be support groups? Young people as counselors? What education is necessary to be qualified? Do we want counseling or something like a disco?
  • Coffee shop is focused more on something commercial, instead of focusing on youth.
  • I want a change from the bar scene.
  • I think we need adults involved to make this happen.
  • More queer youth on boards in the Seattle area.
  • Visibility for the queer community.
  • I want to see us taking care of each other and ourselves. I want to see us not bashing each other with words. Queer youth space to me means challenging race and class.
  • The Vera Project has worked well; did a great job of doing a well-regulated (but not noticeably regulated) fun place to be.
  • QYS should be fun but educating at the same time.
  • Teaching youth the difference between predatory communications and healthy communications with mentor-like adults.
  • Safer sex and STI prevention messages communicated by peers (most effective from peers).
  • Organized for youth by youth
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • STI prevalence isn’t due to a lack of knowledge so much as youthful feelings of invulnerability, as well as a feeling that they don’t matter to society, so why should they take care of themselves? Need more positive messages.
    • What needs do you have or what desires do you have?
  • Something like KTUB in Seattle
  • Maybe a safe-space set up in every part of the city.
  • A location that is accessible for people who don’t have cars
    • on a bus line
  • Events like the Hugo House’s Jewish burlesque all ages show
    • all ages drag shows, draw more than queer youth
  • Information on how to throw our own events; resources, contacts, networking
  • We should (and are) reach out to everyone, pull together resources
  • We need more internet and computer access for queer authors, artists, and musicians.
  • Concerts, drag, bands, galleries; we want everything queer youth art related.
  • Just getting a space is the priority.
  • I like the coffee shop idea, with doors in the back that you can open and have shows
  • What would make it unique? Open mic? Youth sports groups? A book club? Stuff that’s not already happening? A knitting club! Street team!
  • Centralized resources—connecting people and information—the new Google. So everyone at the GSAs and stuff can be informed about Bend-It, or queer night at the Bikery, or the queer mixer at Watertown coffee.
  • Collaboration has to be central—Do it Together is better than Do it Yourself, especially when resources are scarce.
  • We should be concerned about rivalries for funding
  • We should be concerned about accountable, democratic leadership. What is the leadership model right now? Who gets to make decisions?
  • Everyone loves a documentary.
  • Just a place to come if you have nothing to do and want hang out.
  • A website as an abstract space. A forum, not just links. A place where people can talk and give reviews would be a very good thing. I wanted to ask a bunch of queer people their opinion of this movie the other day, but I only know 1 or 2—I wanted to jump online and ask them.
  • Support groups, online and in person
  • Community bulletin so that people could share information about things that aren’t good going on (for instance if there is a local bar that is not gay friendly, you’d want to know ahead of time; or if there’s something really good).
  • Website where the homepage is like a community posting: this is what is happening this month. More updated stuff that isn’t outdated, a giant calendar.
  • The website could help people who are questioning – fixes the whole issue of not wanting to go to queer space.
  • Vera Project is an all-ages art space that is youth focused and queer friendly and I want to see more queer events happening, when we were talking about it I am not sure about how to make that a space you guys want to access—maybe we aren’t outreaching in the same way.
  • I’d be wary of replicating services that already exist. Why provide counseling/support services again? Why compete for funding when resources are already being provided?


  • More outreach to communities of color—Seattle is a very white town, important to open this up to everyone
  • Important to be a justice-based movement, not an issue-based movement—queer youth space needs to be a safe space for queer youth of color, people of differing abilities, etc.
  • We want collaboration with other all-ages and queer organizations (Vera, Bend It, SYPP, etc)


  • The nightclub aspect is attractive. It could be a coffee shop/nightclub/disco.
  • I want to chill with hella you guys, to be together and do things. To have a space together and talk to each other and organize. Peer-mentorship, not with adults necessarily. And definitely a place that is free and has food.
  • We need Bend-It, but bigger, all the time—not just once a year.


  • Not just focusing on dancing. Most spaces for queer youth are dances. Instead, have movie screenings from queer artists, have different athletics (like queer youth bike rides), tap into different activities. It shouldn’t be able being queer, it should be about community.
  • Have events not just on the hill. Have events on the south end and on Queen Anne.
  • We need sliding scale ticket prices for leadership events for youth.
  • I’m hearing about all these organizations and I want to know more, can we put them on the website?
  • We don’t necessarily need a physical space, it can be a cyberspace.
  • We want adults involved, but youth to run it.
  • We need physical space, art space, and athletic space.
  • We need multilingual services.
  • We need to branch out to more rural spaces.
  • We need a way to organize transportation for queer youth.
  • We need a queer space like KTUB.
  • We need a stage for art performances.
  • We need space for planning and organizing, but we also need a comfortable place to hang with comfortable furniture.
  • We need queer bike rides.
  • We need a self-sustaining coffee shop that brings in revenue.
  • We need a social space.
  • We need dialogues on healthy relationships and intimacy.
  • We need a space that is inclusive to people of color and all other communities (disabilities, etc)
  • We need a disco ball.
  • We need to address transphobia in the queer community. We need trans-inclusive education.
  • We need art education.
  • We need a space to learn how to organize and program.
  • We could form different groups or clubs within QYP: activism, spoken word, athletics, etc.
  • QYS could be involved with GSA networking. It’s so hard to network and find the names of other folks in SA or even faculty advisers.
  • We need our own [youth] Pride. Work with Bend-It?
  • We need centralized resources so we can know what is happening in our community.
  • We need venues in multiple places.


What would a queer youth coffee shop look like?

  • Employing street youth? It is possible, FARESTART does this but would it be feasible for them to do it in an environment that has no adult employees?
  • I want to steal Kaladi Brothers’ model.
  • The coffee market on Capitol Hill is super competitive, is this realistic?
  • What should be there? What would we do?
    • Disco ball!
    • Open mic!
    • Art night?
    • Interpretive dance? Karaoke?
    • Art shows with art you could actually afford to be able to buy
  • People need to take ownership of their space, so if there’s not a janitor, it just stays tidy.
  • Part of the status quo strategy is to divide people of different ages, which stops the transmission of stories. So invite folks from activist organizations to share their histories and develop youth leadership that way—of course kick ‘em out if they start spewing a bunch of know-it-all ageism
  • People don’t know what resources are available, so maybe an adult advisory board to connect to broader community.
  • We could have a calendar: what exists now.
  • Problem with the non-profit model: you need a board of directors—these people are usually adults, but we don’t want to replicate the same problems. Look to other models for solutions. Vera Project has a youth-led membership with equal power to the board of directors—they make all the strategic and programmatic decisions and the board just does advisory/staff oversight/fund raising.


How do we make existing spaces more youth empowering?

  • I like the queer-friendly sticker on the youth center, and also having resources for queer-friendly and queer-in-general
  • Like a queer-youth-friendly certification. Like, there are 100 coffee shops on Capitol Hill and there’s gay people everywhere all the time—what if we asked to have queer resources on their calendar or something?
  • Like Yelp, or Zagat? A certification process.
  • What about public libraries? A lot of people go there who don’t have internet access.
  • I think the certification thing would be a really good idea. I think a centralized space is something we could benefit from, but using something that’s already there would make that space somewhat “official”.


What should we do with our money? What should we do next?

  • Smaller events that are fun—better than large, stuffy events
  • Postering is awesome! Gets the word out.
  • Invest in queer youth—training. One good model is the American Friends Services Committee Speaker’s Bureau, which pays speaking fee for youth to speak at community events—empowers youth by building professional skills.
  • Training for youth in grant-writing, nonprofit management, so that it creates sustainability
  • Art events—it’s the best place I’ve found as a queer youth to meet others and feel safe.
  • Paid youth staff
  • Some part-time adult staff who fundraise and do pay-roll.
  • Maybe we do have to have someone there who will make it comfortable for parents and other adults, to help handle things and make sure potential legal issues don’t arise.:)
  • We should use the places that we have now until we have a place.
  • It is important just to get the word out. Getting the dialogue started is important. Name is first, getting people to talk about this, it is like in The Stranger. After we get what we want written up, then we can get fundraising.


Questions about QYS

  • Is the group oriented about [primarily concerned with?] youth or safety? [Is the space supposed to be about youth or safety (for queers)?]
  • What is the leadership model? Is it a collective? What is the decision making process like? What responsibilities do leaders have to constituents?
  • Is “youth space” defined by full inclusion of/leadership by youth or exclusion of older folks? Is “queer space” defined inclusion or exclusion?
  • Does QYS want to “do it all”, thinking that they can do it better themselves rather than working with and improving existing organizations that are adult-led/ageist/paternalistic/etc? Or does QYS try to do something that no one else is currently doing/creating new opportunities?
  • What is the relationship with other organizations? Do we want to build something like a “queer Vera” or a “queer KTUB”? Or carve out more queer space within existing organizations?


Resources and Organizations

  • SYPP
  • AFSC
  • Lambert House
  • Safe Schools Coalition
  • NW Network
  • Seattle Counseling Service
  • GayCity
  • Lifelong AIDS Alliance
  • GSBA
  • KTUB
  • Bend It
  • Vera Project
  • Bent
  • Seattle DIY: online calendar and monthly newsletter of DIY events
  • Unity in Services Coalition: did postcards about queer youth events during Pride
  • Mpowerment Youth Zine: “Censor This”