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Each week a new story will be published below, sharing the heartfelt stories and experiences of Pride Place's residents, and what the GenPride Centers' future means for them.
Community Roots Housing Pride Place Application Phone Line
Monday - Friday | 7 am - 10 pm
Dedicated Pride Place Application Phone Line - CALL NOW
Live agents are ready to take your call.
Dedicated Pride Place Application Phone Line Opens - CALL NOW
Live agents are ready to take your call.
The call center for Pride Place applications opened June 15, at 9 am.
GenPride and Community Roots Housing know there was some confusion and difficulties as calls began to come in. Community Roots Housing has provided a statement: Please click HERE to see what you need to know.
On January 1st 2021, Laney hit the road in her minivan, leaving a job that was not conducive to staying safe and healthy during Covid. “Those were scary and sad times. Before Covid, I had survived a cluster of heart attacks and I was very vulnerable to the virus. Leaving my sweet Capitol Hill apartment and my queer community was tough. I think we all experienced the grief of losing community during early Covid times”.
Traveling and living in the van was challenging. As a non-binary lesbian, Laney had to be in the closet in some environments, but there was also joy and adventure. After a couple of years, though, Laney missed her daughter and longed for queer community. “I returned to Seattle, but there was no way I could afford an apartment on Capitol Hill any longer. I was fortunate to find affordable senior housing in South King County and although I do recognize my privilege, I felt I had to go back into the closet. I just didn’t know who I was going to get into the elevator with. Are they homophobic? Am I safe? I was, once again, experiencing the ache of not being able to be fully myself”.
“This Spring I found my way to GenPride and learned about Pride Place, or, as I like to call it, Xanadu for Older Queers and Allies!” Laney was volunteering at an application workshop and decided to apply for an apartment. “And now I’m a resident at Pride Place and I’m so excited to be living right upstairs from the GenPride Center. As a writer I was excited to take a memoir writing class offered at GenPride and led by Ingrid Ricks, a talented writer and teacher, and now I’ve started a monthly writer’s support group at GenPride”.
Laney looks forward to even more involvement and volunteering at the GenPride Center. “I can feel my heart opening up again. Pride Place is going to be my happy nest for a long time. Being open about who I am and volunteering to give back to the community where I belong means everything to me”.
The moment you meet Rafael and Bob, the love and respect between them is evident. They’ve been together for 25 years and most recently have lived for 3 years in a senior apartment complex in South Florida. “We’ve been living through the results of the Governor’s anti-gay propaganda. Our living situation there changed drastically as some residents felt empowered to be openly homophobic and hateful. People really showed their true colors”.
Having lived, for a time, in the very open and accepting country of Sweden, Rafael felt the sting of facing the ugliness in their own home community in Florida. “I was in the middle of a conversation with a neighbor when another neighbor entered and told her they were not supposed to talk to us”. Bob also commented that these instances were becoming a regularity. “We’d walk into the common area and everyone was there and you could feel the atmosphere change. They’d stare at us and I’d think, do they think we’re celebrities or monsters?”
As the political climate grew worse, both Bob and Rafael knew they couldn’t stay. They applied at a senior apartment complex further north in St. Petersburg, Florida, believing that city to be more welcoming. “During the in-person process everything was fine until the leasing agent realized we’re a gay couple. Although we’d been pre-approved, we couldn’t get the apartment and we knew exactly why. That’s when we knew we had to leave the state”.
Moving all the way to Seattle has been a success! Pride Place and the GenPride Center are not only an affirming environment but a place that truly celebrates the LGBTQIA senior community. “We love Seattle! Living at Pride Place in Capitol Hill is so comfortable and we are in a public transportation hub. That’s really important to us. GenPride Center’s services make us feel more secure about ageing in a safe place and being around people who understand our lives and our history. We hope to participate at GenPride Center a lot”. Rafael’s final comment really says it all, “Being here, I feel like I can open my wings and I’m free”.