Queer Girl City Guide: Bellingham, WA

Feature image via shutterstock

Here-Queer2-final-640x222

Click for more queer girl city guides

Welcome to the City of Subdued Excitement: Bellingham, Washington!

BellinghamWAmural

I moved here five years ago to go to college at Western Washington University. Like many Bellinghamsters, I left only to return two months later. People call that the Bellingham Curse. You’ll leave but always come back because no place is as good as Bellingham.

Bellingham is often described as a little version of Portland, Oregon. It sits in a quiet area between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada, and draws people in because of its proximity to those cities, to ski-worthy Mt. Baker, to the nearby bay and lakes, and to hiking destinations. Bellingham has grown a lot in recent years but it still has an environmentally conscious, friendly charm. We have a gazillion great restaurants here, and Bellingham breweries win lots of awards for being super delicious. Bellingham is a city that often feels like a liberal safe haven, but like any city there are still pockets of homophobia, especially in the hands of private landlords and church communities where discrimination is easier to hide or justify. But all in all, the vast majority of people are accepting and friendly, and I feel a sense of community and safety among the queer folks.

The Greatest City In The World

The neighborhoods in Bellingham are roughly divided into North Bellingham and South Bellingham, with some gray areas in between. For the most part, North Bellingham has families and South Bellingham has college kids. Even though Interstate 5 runs straight through the city, people in Bellingham don’t like to drive far and may complain if they have to go somewhere that involves the freeway. Or Meridian Street. Or Sunset Drive.

I’ve spent almost all of my time in South Bellingham and have found it to be a very gay-friendly area, mainly because of its proximity to Western Washington University. Downtown is particularly gay-friendly, although rent on apartments or houses is often more expensive there. Happy Valley, which overlaps the South Campus housing area, is on the cheaper end for apartments. Fairhaven was its own city a long time ago but is rapidly growing into a cute (ahem, gentrified) commercial area. It has a ton of adorable shops, including two independent bookstores, but the houses and apartments down there are crazy expensive or have years-long waitlists. As for North Bellingham, I’ve heard that the Columbia neighborhood and Sunnyland are pretty gay-friendly. Of course, there will be pockets of homophobes anywhere but for the most part, you’ll probably feel comfortable holding your significant other’s hand anywhere in Bham.

(Not Actually The Greatest City In The World)

As a white and cis queer lady, I cannot speak to the specific experience that trans people or queer people of color have in Bellingham. The city is predominantly white, and people of extremely varying income levels are dispersed across the city in close proximity, which I would imagine creates particular tension for trans people and people of color, but I cannot describe specific incidents.

The two main problems I do see in Bellingham, which both intersect with race and class, are homelessness and the cost of housing. People who experience homelessness tend to leave in the late fall and come back again in the early spring when the city warms up. There are attempts to help people experiencing homelessness, like the Lighthouse Mission that provides food and shelter, but an ultimate solution may be out of reach for now because of Bellingham’s second big problem: the cost and availability of housing.

There are new, swanky apartments downtown and in Barkley and in Fairhaven. Meanwhile, there is a housing scramble from June to August, when the students leave or rearrange. The apartments that are available in these months are moderately priced. If you live with roommates, you can expect to pay between $400 and $500 per month for your share of rent. But if you need a place to live from September to May, your pickings are slim. Trying to move outside of the college cycle is stressful because the only places available are gorgeous and expensive. Your best bet if you’re moving to Bellingham in the off-season is probably to get into a college student’s illegal sublet until September.

Veggie Burger In Paradise

Bellingham food is the best food. Every time I have a friend come visit me, I have a hard time not just taking them to food place after food place. Their visit is essentially, “Oh, great, you’re in town! Where do you want to go for dinner? Wait but also dessert. And brunch.” Bellingham is a great city to be vegetarian: almost any restaurant will have more than one vegetarian option, and many restaurants also have vegan choices. Bellingham has quite the brunch scene, which I did not have time to go into here. Really, this list is just a few great places to eat in Bellingham. You can check out reviews of many Bellingham restaurants on this blog.

The Black Drop
300 W Champion St
Monday to Friday: 7am to 7pm
Saturday: 8am to 5pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm

The Black Drop is a coffee shop downtown with dozens of fun, tasty drinks like the Bee’s Knees (a honey and rose latte) and Fat Elvis (a banana peanut butter mocha). The baristas there are always so friendly and a lot of people go here to study or for OKCupid dates —  plus they host fun events like the Blackout, with karaoke and spiked coffee drinks!

Black Drop

Black Drop

Fiamma Burger
1309 Railroad Ave
Sunday to Thursday: 7am to 9:30pm
Friday and Saturday: 7am to 10:30pm

Fiamma sells a fantastic array of burgers, including a handpacked veggie burger. Fiamma is a hip, inviting restaurant with a rotating variety of fun seasonal drinks and food specials. They also sell beer, cider, and wine and have amazing seasonal drinks. Like any good Northwest restaurant, they have a great salmon burger. But my favorite is the B “Ham” burger, with prosciutto, a sunnyside egg, and shoestring fries.

Fiamma Burger

Fiamma Burger

Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro
1107 Railroad Avenue
Sunday to Wednesday: 11am to 10pm
Thursday to Saturday: 11am to 11pm

Boundary Bay not only brews great beer, but also has a delicious array of food and house-made root beer! Boundary is a warm and welcoming restaurant that has local bands come to play pretty often. It’s the kind of place lots of people go to celebrate graduation or when their parents come to town. As for food, everything I’ve ever eaten there has been incredible, but a lot of my vegetarian friends love their yam enchiladas.

Boundary Bay

Boundary Bay

Leaf and Ladle
1113 N State St
Monday to Friday: 11am to 8pm

Leaf and Ladle is primarily a lunch location. They sell delicious salads, soups, and sandwiches with fantastic meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. Their menu changes pretty regularly with what’s in season, but they have a vegan wrap that is delicious. I also like their turkey and apple panini. Leaf and Ladle is fast and fresh with a chill attitude —  if you are so inclined, they also sell beer and cider to go with your meal.

Leaf and Ladle

Leaf and Ladle

Makizushi
1530 Cornwall Avenue (inside Terra Organic & Natural Foods)
Monday to Friday: 11am to 8:30pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Inside what is essentially the food court of Terra is Makizushi, where you can get delicious and fresh sushi for not too much money. It can take a while to get your food, because they make each plate to order, but it’s so worth it. Makizushi doesn’t have its own seating area, but you can eat in the seating area right outside the storefront, which is surprisingly quiet despite being beside a grocery store and is a great workspace with free wi-fi.

Makizushi

Makizushi

Shirlee Bird Cafe

1200 Harris Avenue, Suite 100

Monday to Saturday: 8am to 4pm

Shirlee Bird is a really cute hole-in-the wall cafe in Historic Fairhaven. Their specialty is the waffleini, a panini made of waffles, filled with chutney, cheese, and/or peanut butter. It sounds weird but it’s so good! The atmosphere is really friendly and inviting, and I always feel free to stop in for a quick drink or stay awhile and chat.

Shirlee Bird

Shirlee Bird

Mallard Ice Cream
1323 Railroad Avenue
Sunday to Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am to 11pm

Do you want avocado ice cream? How about Earl Gray? Sour cream? White ghost pepper? Rose? Don’t worry, they also have old favorites like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, plus a host of non-dairy choices that are just as sweet. It’s a fun and colorful hang-out, and it has gender-neutral bathrooms where the doors are painted like a unicorn and unicycle!

Mallards

Mallards

Sit Right Here And Have Another Beer In Bellingham

Okay, but really, beer. People don’t really drink big beer brands here. Beer is such a big deal in Bellingham that it has its own page on the tourism website. This year, Bellingham breweries won 13 awards at the Washington Beer Awards and 2 awards at the World Beer Awards. Bellingham has also been named the city with the snobbiest beer drinkers. Craft beer is a thing people are proud of here. Off the top of my head, I can think of four new breweries that have opened up in the last two years.

If we’re putting really rough distinctions between fanciness of the breweries, I’d say Boundary, Chuckanut, Kulshan, and Aslan are more “drink with your dinner” places, while Wander, The Local, K2, Structures, and Stones Throw are more typical pubs. A number of breweries are dog-friendly, too! Please note that in Bellingham, people wear roughly the same thing to a fancy location as they would to a casual location, and the only real difference is the vibe inside. We like our flannels and leggings, thank you very much.

Aslan Brewing Co. (1330 N Forest Street)

Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro (1107 Railroad Avenue)

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen (601 W Holly Street)

Kulshan Brewing Company (2238 James Street)

K2, Kulshan’s second location (1538 Kentucky Street)

The Local Public House (1427 Railroad Avenue)

Stones Throw Brewing Company (1009 Larrabee Avenue)

Structures Brewing (1420 N State Street)

Wander Brewing (1807 Dean Avenue)

I Like The Nightlife, Baby!

Bellingham has a nice array of bars downtown that are fairly reasonably priced. I feel comfortable kissing, holding, or dancing with my girlfriend in most bars, although the nightclubs (Glow, the Royal, the Underground, and Rumors) can feel unsafe depending on who’s in the crowd that night.

Rumors Cabaret
1119 Railroad Avenue
Monday to Sunday: 4pm to 2am

Rumors is Bellingham’s only “gay bar,” although they call themselves a gay-friendly alternative nightclub rather than a straight-up gay bar. Rumors is intended for queer folks and straight folks, and a lot of queer women I know don’t feel comfortable there. The recent paint job makes it more inviting, but the vibe inside still feels more focused on gay men than gay ladies. Still, they throw awesome events, especially during Bellingham Pride weekend, and are the only bar with a dance floor on this list.

Rumors

Rumors

Redlight
1017 N State Street       
Open every day, 4pm to 2am

Every time I go into Redlight, I see some queer ladies on a date. So, I’m just going to roll with it and call Redlight a queer lady location. The main room is fairly dark, with candles on the tables.  There’s also the red room, which is lit with red lights and was a meat locker back when Bellingham’s downtown was the industrial area. Redlight has a full bar and a great array of house drinks in addition to local beer, wine, cider, and mead. Plus, they have board games, like Cards Against Humanity and Ticket to Ride, which you may or may not convince your girlfriend to play outside in November.

Redlight

Redlight

Honey Moon Mead & Cider
1053 N State Street Alley
Open Monday through Saturday, 5pm to 11pm

With live music most nights a week and kick-ass mead and cider brewed on the premises, Honey Moon is an awesome place to go on a date or to just chill out with your friends. Honey Moon has live music most nights, and they typically encourage everyone to buy food or a drink in lieu of a cover at the door. Honey Moon used to be a sailboat repair shop, so it has super high ceilings and a secondary pair of doors that they usually leave open in summer to let fresh air in. Honey Moon is a relaxing but fun bar, and people under 21 are allowed in and can eat the amazing food (people over 21 are also advised to try the amazing food).

Honey Moon

Honey Moon

Gettin’ Down On The Farm

Bellingham is a city that cares deeply about the environment and is surrounded by farms. In addition to a myriad of natural foods and local produce markets (the Community Food Co-op, Goods Produce, and Terra Organic Natural Foods to name a few), Bellingham has two weekly farmers markets. Both farmers markets feature live music, with buskers at the Saturday market and frequent performers at the Wednesday market. Even if I don’t buy anything, I love going down to see the hubbub when I have free time.

The Saturday market runs from April to Christmas from 10am to 3pm, with once-a-month winter markets in January, February, and March. The market is downtown at the Depot Market Square and features lots of local produce, lunches, local crafts, coffee, and breakfast. This is probably what most Bellinghamsters think of when they hear “the farmers market.”

Wednesday Farmer's Market

Wednesday Farmer’s Market

The Wednesday market runs from June to August from noon to 5pm. It takes place in Fairhaven, on the Village Green behind Village Books. The Wednesday market is much smaller than the Saturday market, but still brings local produce, lunch items, and local crafts to the table.

I’m Changing My Major To Joan

Bellingham is so much more than a college town, but that’s what brought me and so many others here. I went to Western Washington University, but there are also two community colleges and another four-year college in town.

Western Washington University is a state school offering bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate degrees. Western is a liberal arts school known for its teaching program, and known for the fact that it doesn’t have a football team or sororities and fraternities. It’s relatively queer-friendly, with a floor in one of the dorms just for queer folks. With a population of about 15,000 undergrad and grad students and a relatively (ha) low tuition and small class sizes, Western is considered to be a great bang for your buck.

Northwest Indian College offers bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and certificates. NWIC is the only accredited tribal college in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and 75 percent of their students come from federally-recognized tribes. They offer degrees in environmental science, early childhood education, Native studies leadership, and others.

Whatcom Community College offers associate’s degrees and certificate degrees and is a good place to get a transfer degree. A lot of students also complete nursing degrees here. I’m told they have a decent-sized GSA and gays feel pretty happy there.

Bellingham Technical College offers more specialized associate’s degrees and certificates in areas like welding, fisheries sciences, culinary arts, nursing, and others.

Sports Go Sports

There are several general interest teams, like the men’s baseball team the Bellingham Bells, and many clubs and teams through the four colleges in Bellingham, but there are a couple queer-lady-focused sports teams.

Bellingham Roller Betties —  This is the roller derby team! They play at the Sportsplex and partner with the local non-profit Pass the Hat, which helps families with medical expenses during a tragedy. You can get in on the action by doing Booty Camp in August and joining the team or by going to see a bout.

Roller Bettys

Roller Betties

Western Washington University women’s rugby —  The rugby team is a club at Western’s campus, so you have to be a student to join the team, or you can go see them from spring to fall at Western’s Wade King Turf field.

Happy, Healthy, Strong and Calm

Bellingham Planned Parenthood is located at 1530 Ellis Street. They’ve recently updated their forms to be much more gender inclusive.

Sean Humphrey House provides housing, counseling, meals, and medical management services to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.

Tell Your Sister That She’s Gotta Rise Up

Queer Resource Center at Western Washington University  —  Along with a library of LGBT books, videos, and other resources, Western’s QRC provides a safe place for Western students to discuss queer issues. They also throw together a bunch of fun events on campus, such as the ice cream social, dances, discussion panels, speakers, and poets.

Queer People of Color Club at Western Washington University —  This club meets to socialize and to discuss issues specific to being queer people of color. To find out the next meeting time and location, visit the Ethnic Students Center at Western.

Bellingham Pride Families Facebook Page  —  This page is a group for queer parents in Bellingham to offer advice and support on raising kids and on life in general.

Support Group for Parents of Transgender/Gender-Nonconforming Children —  This group meets in the top floor of Fairhaven Bike and Ski Building (1108 11th St, Suite 304) on the second Sunday of every month from 3:30 to 5:30pm.

Take Me To Church

ChurchMural

Being a religious queer person is a unique kind of hard. Like bisexuals, religious queer people have two groups of people telling them they don’t belong in the other group. Bellingham is not a very religious city, but the most homophobia I’ve heard about has happened in religious communities. I go to St. Paul’s and no one cares if my girlfriend and I hold hands during services. May you find peace here or elsewhere, and please leave a comment if you know more information.

Affirming:

Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth Street

Beth Israel Synagogue, 2200 Broadway Street

Center for Spiritual Living, 2224 Yew Street

Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2600 Lakeview Drive

Garden Street Methodist Church, 1326 N Garden Street

St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th Street

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2117 Walnut Street

First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Avenue

First Lutheran Church, 2750 McLeod Road

The following groups are not accepting religious institutions, and I don’t recommend attending their services as an LGBT person.

Not Affirming:

Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF), Western Washington University

Collide (religious women’s ministry)

First Presbyterian Church of Bellingham, 1031 N Garden Street

The INN (Western Washington University group), 1031 N Garden Street

I’m Feeling Myself

Honey Salon
310 W Holly Street
Tuesday: 9am to 6pm
Wednesday to Friday: 9am to 7pm
Saturday: 9am to 6pm

Honey does a bunch of different services, from haircuts to waxing to color. They’re also a Green Circle Salon, meaning they’re committed to keeping as much of their waste out of the landfill as possible and collect money to help with other environmental efforts.

Jake’s Barbershop
124 W Holly Street
Tuesday to Saturday: 9am to 7pm

What I love about Jake’s is they charge for haircuts based on hair length, rather than charging for “women’s” and “men’s” haircuts. They also have a bowl for meter change and serve beer while you wait for a haircut. As a woman, I was intimidated to go in there at first, but they are super welcoming to people of all genders and gender presentations.

Old Gold Tattoo Parlor
1222 N State Street
Monday to Sunday: 12pm to 8pm

Old Gold is a classic tattoo shop. They play hardcore music in a way that might be intimidating for some people, but everyone there is super welcoming. A bunch of my friends have gotten tattoos here, particularly from KC Lange, although I’ve heard all of their artists are phenomenal.

Laughing Buddha Body Piercing
1409 Commercial Street
Open by appointment

This Laughing Buddha the only piercing-only shop in Bellingham. They have a great variety of jewelry and work hard to make sure you know about caring for and cleaning your piercing.

Have You Read This Ish?

Bellingham doesn’t have a specifically queer bookstore, but Village Books seems to work to integrate queer books into its stock, particularly in the young adult section. If you’re looking for something to read, there are a couple of alternative publications that come out regularly. One is The Betty Pages, written by Bellingham drag queen Betty Desire. The other is Cascadia Weekly, an alternative newspaper with a good scope on local events and a satiric look on local news. You can find both at various spots around town.

This Business Of Art

Bellingham has a pretty strong art scene, and there are many organizations around town that work to promote the arts, as well as several museums and theaters. Here is a smattering of arts groups around town that are alternative or otherwise too fun to not mention.

Make.Shift is an alternative art and music venue downtown. They’re located at 306 Flora Street and are open from Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 5pm, in addition to special events.

Make Shift

Make Shift

Art Walk is an event in which downtown businesses display local artists’ art and everyone is merry. It happens the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10pm.

The Bellingham Circus Guild is a group that holds events like Vaudevillingham and classes in circus arts.

The Upfront Theater was established by Whose Line Is It Anyway?‘s Ryan Stiles, who lives in Bellingham and who you occasionally run into at the grocery store. The Upfront does improv, stand-up, and many other comedy shows.

B Proud!

Bellingham Pride happens in July to avoid conflicting with Seattle, Vancouver, and even Portland’s Pride celebrations, although unfortunately that makes the event a lot smaller because many college students have vamoosed for the summer. It’s a small but delightful group of events from Friday to Saturday, including a family picnic in Bloedel Donovan Park, dance and drag show at Make.Shift, a festival, and a parade on Sunday. Other businesses get into the action too, including drag shows at Rumors and events at local churches.

Pride Parade

Pride Parade

Bellingham is the best city I’ve ever lived in, and when I move away, I will miss the community and positivity that seems to thrive here. Despite its problems, Bellingham is one of the most queer-friendly cities in Washington, and I’m proud to call it home.

Kay is a PNW native living far from home in Massachusetts with her fiancee and her fiancee's plants. She is a writer, editor, environmental educator, barista, and mayor of a beautiful (albeit neglected) Animal Crossing village.

Kay has written 3 articles for us.

28 Comments

  1. Bellingham is also where the ferries on the Alaskan Marine Highway stop, I learned when my eighty-year-old grandmother wanted to go on a ferry ride and eleven-year-old me was nominated to make sure she didn’t get lost or anything.

  2. Bellingham is exponentially better the wealthier and whiter you are.

    The surrounding communities are rural and fiercely conservative. Linden held a Donald Trump rally a few months ago (it also held the biggest KKK rally in the state in the 1920s). It’s fairly normal for anti-gay protestors to go downtown in Bellingham and break up the queer friendly environment with hate speech and signs.

    The only hospital is a Catholic network that fails on LGBT healthcare, particularly the T. However, Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource as always. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to compensate for anyone needing hospitalization. On a plus side, there are often queer chaplains available.

    The Lighthouse Mission will help the homeless, but only on the condition that they listen to the message of Jesus Christ. No proselytizing? No help. Heroin use exceeds the WA state average. There is a needle exchange program, but not many people know about it. The County Sheriff is a very conservative fellow who won’t let inmates know about the needle exchange or abortion services. Likewise, due to the Catholic nature of the Hospital, medical staff are prohibited from speaking about certain topics.

    A common solution for Bellingham to deal with homelessness and poverty is to focus on gentrification and sweeping things under the rug.

    Jobs are a significant problem if you’re lower class. While the city has a reputation for being liberal, it doesn’t often put its money where its mouth is. If you are poor, a POC, or trans, you would be better off in the Seattle area. If you’re middle to upper class, white, and cisgender, (or upper class, white and trans) then you’ll probably love the area.

    Bellingham has an IMAX movie theater, a local stage production group, and two indie theaters. Museums, local sporting events, and plenty of city parks. There are many used book stores and if you need a place for Comics and geek merch, visit “The Comics Place” (inclusive) and avoid “Cosmic Comics” (boyz club) at all costs.

    There are portions of Bellingham that are more “tolerant” than “affirming” and if you’re white and well-off (read: not paying attention) it can be easy to miss.

    If you’re any sort of majority demographic and interested in Bellingham, I’d encourage you to advocate, be involved, and hold the city accountable to adopt a genuinely progressive platform. There’s a lot to enjoy, but I would hope you don’t take your privilege for granted.

    Note: Some locals will also get offended when Bellingham’s surface liberalism is called out on. They want to be “inclusive”, but don’t really want to put the hard work into things.

    That being said, there’s a lot of awesome people, places, and opportunities in the city, as Kay said. I just wanted to provide a little more info.

    • These are great points, especially re: the surrounding area, Lighthouse Mission, and the amount of poverty/homelessness and housing insecurity in Bellingham that gets swept under the rug. Bham is a great town in a lot of ways but there’s definitely more than meets the eye initially.

      • “Bellingham is exponentially better the wealthier and whiter you are.” I could not agree more.

        I would like to plug two organizations working with folks experiencing homelessness. Opportunity Council has a several programs including a transitional housing program, housing assistance for veterans, and coordinates the Project Homeless Connect event. PHC brings free resources and donated services from all around the county together in one place (usually BHS) and WTA provides free bus rides throughout the county so folks can access it. Folks get access to things like dental care, medical and eye exams, veterinary services, haircuts, legal advice and more. It’s a pretty cool event to get to be a part of. The number of folks experiencing homelessness has been dropping steadily since 2008. That by no means implies it is at an acceptable level, but definitely improving.
        Most importantly to my heart, The Pad, Northwest Youth Service’s teen shelter, is also a safe space for queer youth experiencing homelessness.

  3. Whoa, thank you for such a fantastic article! I live in (and love) Seattle, I’ve lived in WA for 6+ years, and I know absolutely nothing about Bellingham. Now I’m all pumped up on the idea of taking a little weekend trip up there to check out all of this rad stuff. Thank you so much!

  4. Tolerance and acceptance for all until a club can “feel unsafe” depending on the crowd. That’s exactly how we’re asking people not to behave so why are we?

  5. I love the Bellingham area. I’m not too familiar with the city per se, but I love all the outdoor stuff that surrounds it: Mt. Baker/Baker Lake, Larrabee State Park, N Cascades National Park, the Chuckanuts, etc. And there’s Canada to the north and annual tulip festivals in Skagit Valley to the south!

  6. Bellingham!

    Excellent subheadings, and agree Bellingham is complicated and has some very sweet points. I went to college there as well (and at the time was from Seattle and was like THIS IS THE MOST BORING) but actually take trips up on the semi-regular. It’s fun to show people around. Though I love the Pepper Sisters, idk if they’re not actively gay friendly or whatever, but they are delicious.

  7. I just spent time visiting my best friend in Bellingham, it’s such an awesome place! I actually got to check out their pride, it was small and cute and had awesome performances, although I was disappointment and totally weirded out to see a Trump booth there. But was glad to see no one was visiting it. Thanks for sharing the article, I can’t wait to show my friend!

  8. This is HYSTERICAL to see this on the homepage. I’ve lived in Bellingham for 4 years and feel like I can’t find any gay people!! I’m 27, so I’m beyond college age and didn’t go to WWU so my fiancé and I seriously cannot find any gay women to be friends with. It’s killing me. I love this town but I feel like there are NO gay events or places to go. Where the hell are all of you?!?! I go to these places and can’t find any gays anywhere!! Ha! Late 20something queers, come at me!

    Also my name is Kay so this was the wildest thing to see online.

  9. Another super awesome option for religious-type-things is Echoes. They’re an ‘experiential church’ that does a lot of fun social stuff. “Seeking wholeness, not harm” is one of their taglines. Their website http://echoesbellingham.org has some good stuff on the main page (the “what is Echoes” bit) and then the ‘welcome, affirmation, ric’ link goes into more detail about lgbt things.

    I got pretty involved before I left the Ham, and I felt very welcome as a mostly agnostic genderqueer kid (“when you talk about Jesus, that translates in my head to ‘people being nice to eachother'”). The person who organizes it is super awesome and really receptive to hearing and responding to ‘hey this feels weird.’

  10. You guys! I just moved out of Bellingham LAST WEEK. I am now in the woods in Alabama.

    Important info to add:
    There is an adult rugby team too!
    Over 18, all identities and experience levels welcome. You don’t even need to know anything about rugby. Look for Chuckanut Bay Rugby on facebook or show up at Battersby field (right across from Whatcom Middle School) Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm. It’s a great place to start for after and/or outside of WWU queer community.

    Pretty sure Jakes barbershop is closed, or it moved, but check out E Street Barber.
    Connie is a super rad older queer that is so down to teach you how to cut your own hair and make community.

    Eat at Homeskillet! The staff is pretty much all queer and the owners are really awesome allies. It’s on Kentucky Street, is usually flying a big rainbow flag, is crazy colorful, and has a giant funky chicken out front.

    My favorite place to drink is as Elizabeth Station. It’s basically a family friendly beer store with hundreds if not thousands of beers in the cases, as well as a constantly rotating selection of 20 taps. Ciders and wines too. Basically, if it’s an amazing beer made locally, regionally, or nationally, it ends up at the Station.

  11. I just came across this article randomly while doing some “research” on Jakes Barbershop. You should really take down the recommendation to this business as Julie, the owner, is VERY conservative, anti-LGBTQ, classist (very anti-homeless – she made a Facebook page [that has since been taken down] that posted pictures of homeless people just to embarrass them and shit talk them), very pro-Trump, anti-protester, etc. No one who is queer or liberal, or is a decent human being, should ever support this business. It’s a shame that someone like her can run a business in downtown Bellingham because it’s against everything Bellingham is all about. I hope people start to learn about how she is as a person and that place gets shut down. She needs to move to the south where she would fit right in.

  12. My girlfriend and I are trying to relocate from Minneapolis to Bellingham within the next couple of months with our two dogs. We’ve been told by couple landlords already that they don’t want to rent places out to someone who isn’t already living there. Is it difficult to find a place to live if you aren’t already there? Also, any tips for finding a pet-friendly place?

    • Hi Alison! When my girlfriend and I moved out, it was honestly because of an anti-gay landlord, so avoid Sehome Court Apartments. Other than that, I think the toughest part is moving outside the cycle of the school year. It’ll be hard to find an apartment to move into this time of year, and from my experience, the apartments that are available right now are super expensive.

      So. My advice is to find an apartment for the fall and pre-lease. You can find apartments pretty easily on Craigslist; that’s how I always found a place to live. If you absolutely have to move before the fall, I’d suggest you find a sublet to live in between now and then. Western Washington University has a quarter system, rather than semesters, so there will be people looking to rent out their rooms in January, late March, and June. You probably won’t get a place just for you and your girlfriend but it’ll get you in the area so you can have an easier time searching for something long-term.

      Good luck and enjoy the Ham!

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.