Spokane’s LGBT Community
Inland Northwest and Spokane
Spokane and the Inland Northwest are great places to live. We treasure our slow paced quality of life and the many ways to play and recreate in the great outdoors. Like our straight counterparts, LGBT individuals and families are finding Spokane to be a beautiful city to raise their families.
Spokane's downtown core went through a renaissance with a University District being developed east of downtown. With these two major city projects a new influx of LGBT and open minded people are now making Spokane their home and helping to change the conservative reputation of the area.
The Vision for a Visible Gay Community for Spokane
The INBA has a finger on the pulse of change in Spokane and spearheaded the dialogue and momentum to create a Visible Gay Community for Spokane. A survey taken during 2004 PRIDE asked "How comfortable are you being a LGBT person in Spokane?" Of 295 surveys completed 47% felt comfortable, 40% somewhat comfortable, and 13% not comfortable. We also found that the respondents were 38% Gay, 38% Lesbian, 13% Allied, 8% BiWomen, 1% BiMen, Trans M>F, F>M. We're encouraged by our allied support and see this segment to be the greatest potential for growth and support. We can also assume that the Gay and Lesbian percentages would fluctuate a bit and the Bi/Trans numbers would also go up when applied to the entire LGBT community. A Gay District has not yet materialized but the city government is now more LGBT friendly and being an out LGBT individual or family is no longer a high risk situation within the city and downtown areas.
November 1999. Spokane passed a Human Rights Ordinance that makes it illegal to discriminate in housing, public services and employment. This ordinance also includes Gay Men, Lesbians, and Bisexuals. Unfortunately the group spearheading the inclusion of LGBT people had to compromise and agreed to drop Transgenders in order to pass the ordinance. Human Rights groups are working to include Transgender people in the ordinance. The current city government and Spokane Police Department are supportive of the LGBT community.
City Employees Domestic Partnership Benefits
April 2005. The Spokane City Council approved granting full benefits to non-married straight and gay employees who are in committed domestic partnership. Many large employers in Spokane also offer thier employees Domestic Partnership Benefits.
Current LGBTQ Community
Without a specific Gay district identified, Spokane relies on an active community of non-profits organizations to provide support and services. Groups and orgnaizations include: LGBT Book club, LGBT social and community groups, LGBT business chamber; gay/straight alliances in all high schools colleges and universities; gay affirming churches; 2 night clubs; a LGBT film festival; and we’ve had an openly gay city councilman.
The INBA has alliances with the Downtown Spokane Partnership, Chamber of Commerce, and Spokane Convention and Visitor's Bureau. We are one of Spokane's most visible and consistent bridge to the LGBT community. If you have any other questions about Spokane's LGBT community, please send us an email.