01: Q Walking Tour Map | Q Walking Tour Map to download (Includes Gender Neutral Bathrooms)
02: Q-Campus-Walking-Tour|Q Walking Tour Printable File to download
Q Campus Walking Tour @UW
Welcome to the University of Washington. I’m pretty sure you’ve had the obligatory official UW Tour as part of your newbie orientation, so we won’t bore you with another blah, blah, blah tour. Instead, we’re going to Q-dfy you and show you some of the awesome things we’ve done to make your LGBTQ Life or as we like to say on campus, make your Q Life fabulous.
Let’s start with the Q Basics. The UW, pronounced U-DUB, was established in 1856 on Denny’s Knoll (aka Denny Knoll) in downtown Seattle. Don’t ask me who Denny was ‘cause that’s not part of this tour. You’re at a university, go do some research! What is on this tour is that did you know that gay life actually started in downtown Seattle? Yup, it didn’t start on Capitol Hill which is the current gayborhood, but in good ol’ Pioneer Square.
The Casino was opened in 1930 and was the only place on the west coast where same-sex couples could dance and drag queens ran the show. The Double Header, which still exists, was opened above the Casino in 1934 and which is today probably the oldest gay bar in the USA. Even with the Washington Sodomy Law of 1893 in effect, P-Square was a booming place for gays during the 1950s/60s. You know how resourceful us gays are, a little bribe here, a little nudge and tug there is all it took to keep the cops away.
Did you know that Seattle has the 2nd largest Q population in the United States after San Francisco? What do you expect from a city where the current Mayor is openly gay and the county it’s in was named after a known “homosexual.” King County was named after William Rufus de Vane King, an Alabaman politician who briefly served as Vice President under Franklin Pierce. His “inseparable companion”, aka lover, James Buchanan was known as “Miss Nancy” at the White House.
This tour is going to last a Q hour. What is a Q hour you ask? Well depending on the amount of flirting you do with the campus eye-candy and the bathroom breaks and the “hey girl!” meet-ups, it could take a few Q seconds.
Q Center (The HUB)
Ok, let’s start the tour. Our first stop is the Q Center on the 3rd Floor of the HUB (Husky Union Building). Discussions to build the HUB started in 1919 but only completed in 1949. Between 2010-2012, the entire HUB received a new facelift and the Q Center was plopped right in the middle of it on the 3rd Floor. The Q Center is the HUB of Q Life. This is where you can be yourself and get away from the hectic campus. Come and lounge for a bit or if you need to study or print out your term paper, they’ve got it all for you. There’s a Q library for you as well as Q Advisers and even a Q Mentoring program if you’d like to be paired with a Faculty/Staff/Grad. If you’ve got a question, there’s someone here that can probably help. Who knows you might even meet “the love of your life” here.
The Dorian Society, the First group in Seattle to support Gay rights was also founded here in 1967. UW’s own professor Nick Heer founded this group whose namesake were the Doric Hellenic warriors of Ancient Greece who considered homosexuality glamourous. The Dorian House began providing counseling services to gay and lesbian students and non-students on Capitol Hill with UW students in 1969. This counseling service later expanded and is now the Seattle Counseling Service that resides on Capitol Hill. It was probably during this time when the gays began moving up to Capitol Hill.
The Dorian Society made way for other LGBTQ groups to form. In 1969 came the Gay Student Association & the Gay Liberation Front-The more radical student group. The Gay Liberation Front even though it was a more radical group opened the first Gay Community Center in 1971 with the help of the Seattle Gay Alliance and the Gay Student Organization.
Department of Minority Affairs and Diversity (Mary Gates Hall)
As you have already guess from the name, Mary Gates Hall arises from the Mary Gates Endowments for Students bestowed to the UW from the Microsoft clan. That includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates Sr. & Mary Gates and of course Paul Allen. Once called the Physics Building, now hosts the Office of the Dean and the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMAD). OMAD began with the first #BlackLivesMatter movement at UW when the Black Student Union (BSU) and their supporters staged a sit-in at the office of UW President Charles Odegaard and submitted a list of demands among which was the demand to increase minority student enrollment at UW and to establish a Black studies program here.
OMAD also established the various UW Faculty/Staff Affinity Groups of which Q Faculty, Staff and Allies (QFSA) is a part of and guided by the Diversity Blueprint which is a 4 year initiative with six goals encompassing major areas of emphasis for diversity: leadership and governance; student, faculty and staff diversity; curriculum and research; and institutional and classroom climate.
Our next stop is the Botany Greenhouse. As people of impeccable taste in fashion and design, once you buy a house, you’ll realize that besides interior design, you’ll start being a regular at the neighborhood greenhouse. Plus, it’s pretty and calming among the flowers, that is until the Corpse Flower or Amorphophallus titanium; the name makes me giggle because all I see is “amor phallus titanium” lol; begins to bloom. Native to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra, the blooms smell of rotting flesh to attract carrion beetles & flies to pollinate the plant. Anyways, take a whiff and let’s move to our next stop. It isn’t the Garden of Allah which was a famous drag show cabaret in Pioneer Square opened in 1946 but it will keep you entertained for a bit.
Performance Art Center (Meany Hall)
Any Q Tour would not be complete without showcasing a performance art hall. Meany Hall can set up to 1,206 people. It hosted the Seattle Men’s Chorus’ first Holiday performance in 1980. Diverse Harmony, the nation’s first gay-straight youth chorus alliance that is based in Seattle has also performed in this hall. Who knows you might see the next new music group like Nirvana, Sound Garden, Foo Fighters just to name a few bands from Seattle. Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis are also Washington natives.. Ryan actually graduated from the UW while Mackelmore got his from the Evergreen State College. You might also see Jinkx Monsoon from RuPaul’s Drag Race, who lives in Seattle and is a NW native.
Henry Art Gallery
Besides the Performance Art Center, we have the Henry Art Gallery just right next to it. We’ve had many a great q Celebes come from Seattle. Frances Farmer was a famous actress of the 30s/40s that went to the UW. We have our famous Dale Chuhuly glass sculptor who hails from Seattle. Bruce Lee also went to the UW.
UW Counseling Center (Schmitz Hall)
One of the things you’ll notice about the UW is that is an enormous campus. Sometimes you may feel like you’re just a tiny fish in this big pond. Combined with Seattle’s “Winter Blues” which starts in October when the sun hibernates for a few months until March, you may need to visit or talk to someone at the UW Counseling Center. It’s normal and most non-Washingtonians are sometimes shocked to realize how much it does affect them. In winter time, you may want to join the local SkiBuddies.org group and do some winter sports; take on snowboarding or cross-country or skiing to help you get outside. Just like in the Wizard of Oz, you need to not go to sleep and hibernate in the winter time because it will take you down. Fight it, meet up with people at the Q Center and begin to enjoy the rain and just be “Singing in the Rain.”
Women’s Center (Cunningham Hall)
The Women’s Center is housed in the first building built for women in Washington in 1909. It has been instrumental in helping women’s suffrage in this state. Washington was the fifth state in the union to allow women to vote in 1910. If you think the Seattle Seahawks is the best team in Washington, you haven’t seen our women’s basketball team, the fierce Seattle Storm, play. Since their beginning in 2000, they’ve made it to the WNBA Playoffs in 11/16 seasons ending in 2015 and actually winning the championship in 2010 & 2004. Our own Megan Rapinoe who plays for the Seattle Reign FC helped the US team win the Women’s World Cup in 2015. Speaking of women, did you know that Barack Obama’s mother attended the University of Washington and so our 44th President actually lived in Seattle during this time before they moved back to Hawaii.
Burke Museum History & Culture
Hailed as the oldest public museum in Washington the Burke Museum is a research and collections based museum with over 16 million objects. It currently houses the 60 million year old remains of the largest snake in the world, measuring 48 feet long and weighing close to 2500 lbs. If you want to know about the history of Washington, go to the Burke to see over 500 million years of geological history from lethal lava to rampaging reptiles or immerse yourself in the culture of the native people of the Pacific Northwest. Dixie Lee Ray, who was our 17th Governor of Washington, was a professor from the UW and was also rumored to have been family.
The Quad / Music, Art & Communications Building
The most beautiful and elegant space on the UW Campus has to be also the place where you’ll find what’s most important things regarding Q Culture: Music, Art & Communications. In late march, the Yoshino cherry trees blossom for around 3 weeks. During this time you’ll see tons of gaiety among the pretty pink flowers. Artists will be aplenty. You’ll see artists painting in the Quad and haunting music from the Music building like sirens seeking their muses. In the Communications Building houses also the Daily Newspaper which keeps the student population informed. In 1967 the Daily did a series on the gay community which was one of the first time that gays were put in a positive light. Dan Savage who is a Gay columnist also hails from Seattle. He became popular with Savage Love which he started as a column in the Seattle Stranger Newspaper. Savage Love was a Sex Advice Column by a Gay to heterosexuals. He also started the It Gets Better Project.
Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (Padelford Hall)
If you have a chance, take a class in the Sexuality and Queer Studies. You can even obtain a graduate level certificate in it or one of the few Feminist Graduate Program leading to a Ph.D. Reach in and bring out your lumbersexual self because Seattle and UW will change you and soon, you’ll be talking about equality, organic and protection of we, the minority.
Hall Health Mental Clinic (Hall Health)
The hardest times for most LGBTQ people are during their first years of college. This is the first time that they’re away from home and so there is a sense of freedom, but with that is also a sense of loneliness. You’re moving away from friends and family and are for the first time away from your safety net. It’s a new chapter in your life and sometimes it can be very daunting. Hall Health is here to help you some of those life transitions. Besides helping you with those “oops I did it again moments” with their Hall Health STI/HIV testing, they can help if you just want to talk about transgender/LGBTQ issues. Let them be your safety net until you can get back to enjoying your Q Life at UDUB.
Off-Campus Notable Mentions
Now that you’ve been acquainted with some campus Q notables, don’t forget to check out some of the Q notables that are off campus. What Q man would be whole without the IMA which is our university gym. Lots of eye-candy to help motivate you to work out that body. There are also some fun classes and not to mention Skating Fridays. Close to the IMA is the Waterfront Activity Center (WAC) where you can rent out some canoes/rowboats and go rowing on Lake Washington. You’ll go through the UW Washington Park Arboretum. Be careful when you row your boat close to shore on the northwest end of the park because you may see some nude sun bathers. Unless it is a sanctioned event like the Fremont Solstice Parade where you’ll see blocks of nude cyclists, there is Washington State’s indecent exposure law against “obscene” behavior so you may get arrested for partaking.
Besides the outdoor activities, there are also several child care centers that will help if you have kids. If you decide to adopt or foster a kid, Washington State has hundreds of LGBTQ parents. It has the only LGBTQ Adoption/Foster care Advocacy group in the nation called, Families Like Ours. Once you get your kid take them to the UW Medicine’s Center for Adoption Medicine at Roosevelt Medical Center.
Last of least, if you want the comradery of a fraternity, join the Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity for your Q Frat experience.
Thank you for taking our Q Tour. If you notice any misinformation, please let us know. If you’d like us to add a stop on the tour, please send us a note.
-Welcome to the University of Washington
Site Stops (See our Website for Contact Info):
- The HUB | Q Center
- Mary Gates Hall | Department of Minority Affairs and Diversity / Affinity Groups
- Botany Greenhouse
- Meany Hall | Performance Art Center
- Henry Art Gallery
- Schmitz Hall | UW Counseling Center
- Cunningham Hall | Women’s Center
- Burke Museum History & Culture
- The Quad | Art Building, Music Building & Communications Building
- Padelford Hall | Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS)
- Hall Health | Hall Health Mental Health Clinic
Off-Campus Notable Mention
- IMA | WAC | Washington Park Arboretum
- Washington Park Arboretum
- Child Care Centers
- Radford Court, Laurel Village & West Campus
- UW Children’s Center at Harborview Medical Center
- Center for Adoption Medicine @ Roosevelt Medical Center
- Delta Lambda Phi