Petitioners Demand Seattle Halt Plans To Build Children’s Playground at LGBTQ Nude Beach
Thousands of parents and LGBTQ individuals are coming out against the more than half-million dollar project.
Seattle residents are asking the city to halt a project to build a playground for children at a local nude beach frequented by LGBTQ sunbathers.
The city says the play area is “proposed to be studied, designed and built to serve the current deficit of public play areas” in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The project, as reported by Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, is funded by an anonymous donation, raising questions about the motivations behind it and if children are being used as pawns in a larger culture war.
Ahead of a city-held community meeting on December 6 for residents “to learn about and provide input” for the playground project, the proposal is stirring anger from both parents and from LGBTQ individuals who say the play area will threaten their “safe haven.”
A petition circulating online includes nearly 4,000 signatures asking the city to halt construction of the play area.
“As queer and trans individuals, we find solace and acceptance at Denny Blaine Park, a nude beach in Seattle,” the petition reads. “This place allows us to feel confident in our bodies and express our identities freely in a world that often seeks to suppress them.”
The petition notes that the park is “one of the few nude beaches in Seattle, utilized primarily by members of the queer community.” It also says, “safe havens like this are becoming increasingly scarce.”
Commenters on the petition include parents who say they are concerned for their children.
“As a local parent of young kids, we have lots of playground already!” one commenter, Susanna Garrett, writes. “We don’t need one by the nude beach. It’s a terrible idea.”
“Why do they need to put a park here?” asks another petition-signer, John Jochum. “Stop the madness…”
“I care about the safety of children, not only physical, but moral. This plan is both corrupt and tone deaf, at a time when crimes against children are rampant,” another commenter, Laura Campos, wrote. “Whoever is pushing this on Seattle City Council ought to be recalled.”
Many petition signers said the proposal was a form of discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.
“Public nudity is not a crime in Seattle, but indecent exposure is. What’s the difference between the two? Probably a playground,” another commenter, Faith Coben, wrote. “Attempting to legislate queer and trans people out of public existence is a tactic widespread throughout the US today, but I’m incredibly disappointed to see it here in Seattle.”
The Seattle petition is circulating at the same time as separate reports are emerging about a Wisconsin man who was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at a “family-friendly” nudist colony over the summer.
Many of the nude Seattle beachgoers say they are worried the proposal will make it easier for them to be “labeled as pedophiles.”
“There is a lot of ‘groomer’ and ‘pedophile’ talk to discriminate against the LGBTQ community in recent years and a move like this just starts that conversation around that beach,” another petition-signer, Darien Means-Shyne, wrote, adding that it the proposals was one of “the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard.”
The city’s proposal notes that it has a budget of $550,000 for “construction costs and contingencies.” When asked by the Sun how much of the project was funded by the anonymous donation and if taxpayers would pay for a portion of it, a representative from the city’s parks department did not immediately respond.
Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported that a parks representative said the project was “being funded by a private donation and at minimal cost to taxpayers” and that “the donor asked to remain anonymous.”
The Sun reached out to each of the Seattle City council members and was unable to find one immediately able to comment.