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caption: Eve Palay has lived on Bainbridge Island for over twenty years. When she came out as trans, she went looking for a new community in the Kitsap Peninsula.
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Eve Palay has lived on Bainbridge Island for over twenty years. When she came out as trans, she went looking for a new community in the Kitsap Peninsula.
Credit: Sarah Leibovitz/KUOW

'We are over here.' Finding queer community in the West Sound

Eve Palay has lived on Bainbridge Island for more than 20 years. When she came out as trans, she went looking for a new community in the Kitsap Peninsula.

When Eve Palay first moved to Bainbridge, she was a stay-at-home parent — married with two young daughters. And for the most part, her family kept to themselves.

But things changed.

"The kids grew up, marriage ended. And I came out as trans," Palay said. "And as I came out, I really wanted to make sure that other people who needed to come out had an easier time and knew that there are people here."

So Palay started looking for queer community groups. What she found was that they existed, and were helpful. But they weren't connected. They didn't speak to, or even know about, each other.

"You know, there was a Kitsap trans group that met in Bremerton that did not know about the one that met up in Port Townsend," Palay said.

Eve wanted people to know resources were available, that there were other queer people in the Kitsap Peninsula.

To do so, Palay became one of the co-founders of Rainbow Crew Northwest, a website dedicated to sharing resources and services in and around the Kitsap Peninsula.

"I wanted people to know that we are over here, that we can talk to each other over here, we can help each other find resources over here, that when we start looking for resources over here, we actually end up creating those resources over here," she said. "And we get away from the idea that whatever you do, you have to go over [to] Seattle."