Seattle blocks plans for children's playground amid outcry from LGBTQ+ community to protect nude beach

"What makes Seattle such a wonderful city is the weirdos," one activist argued.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Officials in Seattle have decided against allowing the construction of a privately funded children's playground at Denny Blaine Park on Lake Washington, which is home to a nudist beach popular with the city's LGBTQ+ community.

Following public backlash to the proposition, Seattle Parks and Recreation agreed with opponents, who argued that the plan could impact the site's position as a sanctuary for those who use it.

In a blog post on Saturday, SPR spokeswoman Christina Hirsch explained that "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," she added. "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."

Colleen Kimseylove, for example, told KING5 News that the beach has "always been a place for the weird and the wonderful," noting that, "what makes Seattle such a wonderful city is the weirdos."

In an open letter, advocates said that were SPR to go along with the plan, it would be "nothing short of gentrification," arguing that LGBTQ+ people "
do not have other spaces to go to, but there are other spaces for a children's play area to be built to meet the stated need."

According to the KING5 News, Denny Blaine Park was originally chosen due to the fact that there are no playgrounds for residents within a 10-15 minute walk. The $550,000 children's outdoor space was set to be entirely funded by a single donor, who has remained anonymous throughout the process. 

Following the verdict, SPR has set to work finding an alternative location.
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