Seattle City Councilmember Hollingsworth Sends Letter to Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board following Raids on LGBTQ+ Establishments

Following reports of raids at LGBTQ+ Establishments on Capitol Hill, Councilmember Hollingsworth (District 3) wrote the following letter to Director Lukela and members of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, requesting more information on the tactics employed over the weekend:

Director Lukela and Members of the Liquor and Cannabis Board, 

It was brought to my attention that the Liquor and Cannabis Board conducted a series of enforcement events – described by the community as raids – at LGBTQ nightlife venues in Capitol Hill over the weekend. As the City Councilmember representing the area in question. I am deeply concerned about this news.  

I’m writing in hopes of informing myself on the sequence of events, quelling fears in the community, and understanding what business owners on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in our city can expect going forward. The goal of this letter is to better understand why the Liquor and Cannabis Board believed the kind of tactics displayed this weekend were necessary.   

To that end, I respectfully request responses in writing to the following questions/areas of concern:  

  • What precipitating events lead to the Liquor and Cannabis Board taking this course of action?  
  • Which locations were subject to the ‘raid’ and how were they selected?  
  • Who conducts the ‘raids’ and how are they chosen?  
  • Were there citations made “based solely on individuals clothing choices” as reported by the community? If so, why?  
  • What steps does the Liquor and Cannabis Board intend to take to ensure that these ‘raids’ are not perceived to be discriminatory in the future?  
  • What dispensation can be provided to businesses that were wrongly subject to these ‘raids’?  

Ensuring that Seattle’s LGBTQ communities feel safe in their communal spaces is paramount. Responding to these questions is a critical step towards making sure that residents and visitors to Seattle’s LGBTQ bars and nightclubs feel safe, represented, and listened to. 

I respect the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s responsibility to fulfill their legal mandates. However, to be clear, any action that could be perceived as hostile, threatening, or that makes LGBTQ community members feel less safe in their safe spaces is concerning.  

Please respond no later than Friday, February 2 with initial answers to the questions above.  I look forward to hearing from you.  


Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth 
Seattle City Council | District 3