Celebrating Allena Gabosch
Allena Gabosch passed away on a Wednesday evening, November 25th, 2020. Allena was raised in Nampa, Idaho. After wandering the West Coast in the 1970s she settled in Washington. She was a phenomenal force in the Seattle area for decades. Allena opened her first restaurant in Auburn, named Back Alley Jake’s in the early ‘90s; the same time she started organizing sex positive events. She was a partner and operator of Beyond the Edge Cafe on Capitol Hill in the mid ‘90s.
In spring of 1999, she was working as the Executive Director of the Lesbian Cancer Project when she was approached to be the Executive Director of a new organization, the Sex Positive Community Center, commonly called SPCC or “The Wet Spot”. Allena grew this organization and nurtured the communities that gathered and came into being around the Wet Spot. She played a vital role is the creation of many large events such as the Seattle Erotic Art Festival and Wet Spot in Paradise. In 2007, Allena shepherded the process of turning the Wet Spot into two organizations: the Center for Sex Positive Culture and the Pan Eros Foundation (neé Foundation for Sex Positive Culture) and was in a leadership capacity for both organizations until her retirement.
Allena was community focused and served on the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities from 2008-2010, as well as on the boards of directors of many organizations over the years. She spoke at colleges, universities, and private venues both locally and internationally, on topics of sex and sexuality for over 20 years, guiding students from all walks of life. Allena retired in 2017 and began an adventure in Europe; circumnavigating the planet and living in Cyprus and Krakow Poland. She returned home to Seattle in 2019.
Allena touched people by the thousands. Each one of them individually. She had a unique gift to make anyone feel seen and heard in the moment. She lifted people up and gave them permission to be their authentic, true selves. This is the central theme to any of the thousands of people who considered themselves her friend. Everywhere she went, whether it was the dry cleaners or an island in the Mediterranean, she changed peoples lives. She was a warrior for sexual freedom and identity. She changed the world wherever she was.
During a recent Bawdy Storytelling Livestream, Allena was canonized as a saint by the Sisters of the Motherhouse of Washington, the San Francisco Motherhouse of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey Of Saint Joan, and the Indiana Crossroads Sisters, Abbey of the Shimmering Silo. This simultaneous sainting by four orders whose mission is to promulgate universal joy, expiate stigmatic guilt and serve the community is the perfect testament to how Allena moved through the world.
Allena was preceded in death by her mother Nadine McCay, father Ralph Pearcey and brothers Christopher Pearcey and Michael Wiederhoeft. She is survived by her stepfather Alan McCay, stepmother Laverle Pearcey, sister Carmie Gousetis, and brothers Daniel Pearcey and Mark Wiederhoeft.
She leaves behind a chosen family too numerous to list. People who loved her so much and were loved by her. Allena loved the saying “Life is a banquet…” and encouraged us to see and find joy everywhere in our lives. The gratitude we all feel for having been blessed by her love and having her in our lives is so great. And the stamp she left on us is indelible. She lived a life impossible to summarize.
A virtual memorial was held on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at 3pm (PST). You can watch the recording of the video here.
In lieu of flowers, it was Allena’s wish that donations be made in her memory to these organizations:
Pan Eros Foundation
The Gender Justice League
PFLAG Washington State Council
Senior Services for South Sound
Featured photo ©Jim Duvall
Update – December 14, 2020
Activist, educator, mentor, chef, hedonist, and loved one. Allena lived a life that cannot be summarized.
Content Advisory: There are mentions of abuse, and frank discussions of sex and sexuality, including kink.
Allena’s last interviews:
Bawdy storytelling – Allena’s Final Interview with Dixie
The Heart of Jacks Podcast – Talking About Talking About Sex with Allena Gabosch
These are the written speeches from Allena’s eulogy. Apologies that we do not have transcripts of Veronica, Mac, or Travis’s words of remembrance.
The last year and a half has been the richest and most difficult time in my life. I want to thank all the people who supported us while we supported Allena through the ups and downs of her end of life journey.
I would like to give special recognition to Cathy, Allena’s nurse. She provided compassionate, knowledgeable and joyous space for us all as we confronted the hardest parts of the last couple of months. You all may know her as the singing hospice nurse. Her continuous presence in our home made everything more manageable and we leaned into her for her experience and kind approach. We all agreed that we couldn’t have asked for a better nurse and guide. Thank you, Cathy!
Many blessings to you all in this time of grief. May you take the time you need to process this immense loss and remember to feel gratitude in that we all received the gift of sharing a piece of Allena’s amazing adventure.
She has shown us how to love unconditionally, live and die gracefully, care about all who are in need, stay present in every connection…and so many other examples she has left us with. My hope is that while the feeling of loss will forever remain in our hearts, we will overpower our grief by embodying Allena’s influences in our own lives.
This is for you, Allena.
Although my heart aches and my breath feels shallow as I think of you, I feel lucky.
Lucky that I got so much of you to myself.
Lucky that you trusted me to take care of you.
Lucky that I knew so many parts of your beautiful shine.
And that you have become so much of me.
Lucky to be a witness to your amazing offerings to the world.
You my friend, my chosen family, were a special soul.
You’re next adventure will be as grand as this one, of that I am sure.
But in this life there is so much loss for us. Those left to miss you.
So many tears that have fallen for your faded smile.
The hugs I now remember, were when it was all to much for you.
I cry for your weakened body and efforts to repair.
And when those memories get too sad, I come back to your unhinged laugh, your loud and expressive cackle that brought joy to everyone who heard it.
I remember your wicket wit and naughty humor, your shameless spirit and excitement to taste everything at the table of life.
When I remember, I feel lucky again.
Lucky for the sparkle in your eyes
that remained into your last words.
Lucky for how you cheered me on when I doubted myself and that you chose to love me completely.
Lady of the sun, I feel lucky that I got to accompany you to meet your horizon.
As you start your new adventure may it bring you the bounty that you have brought to this life.
I feel lucky to have had the privilege of loving you.
Lucky that I have so many memories. I will try to carry them with the grace that you carried us all.
Thank you for sending your light into everyone you’ve touched.
Thank you for all the beautiful marks you have left in your wake.
Thank you for being spectacular!
Goodnight sweet sunshine. I love you.
Mama Allena has been part of my life both directly and indirectly most of my life.
One of the earliest things mama Allena gave me was a happy memory of my biological mother when I was no older than 5 or 6 years old. With an unstable biological mother, I had a rough childhood that lead me to foster care. But before that, one of the only times I remember my bio mom truly happy was after she discovered Allena’s cafe, and later a place called the Wet Spot. It gave me a magical fascination with this club that could transform my mother into the parent I needed her to be, even for a few moments. I will be forever grateful to Allena for that gift.
It wasn’t until later in my life that I officially met Allena as an adult. I joined the CSPC and soon after reconnected with Allena and she quickly became one of my moms. In the last several years together we have made so many memories. From her judging in the Titanium Sub CSPC title competition that I participated in. To her being the first person to stick a needle in me for fun, to her bacon parties, her speaking at my wedding, to the difficult and the fun memories we shared in Poland, and then of course checking off her bucket list items the last couple months of her life where we literally traveled to the sea to whale watch, through the mountains to play on heavy equipment and thousands of feet in the air in a hot air ballon together. The best memory I have of Allena was looking forward to chatting with her everyday to talk about what we had for dinner or whatever was on our mind that day. I got to hear so many of her stories, multiple times. And she would get a good laugh at my random rants. That’s also the thing I will miss the most.
I am massively privileged to have been her daughter. And if there’s anything that she taught me during our time together, is that I should always be proud of myself because she had always reminded me how proud she is of me. And of course the lesson she has taught all of us, to always live with adventure, be bold, and to love deeply.
Love you muches, Mama.
Just so you know this is an impossible job. The last line of Allena’s obituary says “She lived a life impossible to summarize”. Trying to fit her into a few paragraphs, an article in a newspaper or a speech like this is not possible. So you know, I am setting the expectation here that I am going to fail. But here goes; this is my best try.
I want to tell you some stories about Allena that illustrate how amazingly unique she was.
Before Covid-19 separated us, myself or Sophia went to all of her medical appointments. The idea being that one of us should be there to be a separate set of ears, and since we held her powers of attorney, a good relationships with her medical providers might be important in the future. Even after Covid-19, we were still there but on speaker phone.
On one particular day, Allena was in a bad mood. When you are sick like this you experience peaks and valleys in how things are feeling. She was on a downward slope that week and not happy about it. Nothing was good enough. She was not being shy about it. She was letting anyone within 10’ know about it. Mac and Dawn knew about her mood, even Mac’s dog Obi got an earful. As soon as I got her in the car, she let me know about how bad she was doing.
I was doing my best to cheer her up. I was trying all my dancing monkey tricks, telling her all of her favorite jokes and nothing was working. She finally just told me to stop talking. Then we get to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the parking garage is jammed full. On every level, all of the ADA parking is taken up and she is using a walker and not happy about having to go a distance to the elevator. Everything sucks and the whole world is conspiring against her.
When we get to the elevator way down on level D, there is a gentleman waiting for the elevator to go up. He looks like a patient not a visitor. There is a certain resignation you see in patients walking into a place like that. After a while you get a sense of it just by looking at people. Allena starts chatting with him. Suddenly, she is all 100% Allena charm. She tells him about her tiara. She asks him a few questions about himself. She finds something in common with him. I think they both lived in Graham or Roy around the same time. They take that common ground and commiserate with each other. She makes a connection with him in those next few minutes and makes him feel less alone. She alleviates the dread a person must feel walking into another chemo treatment or an appointment with a Doctor that more than likely will hold some bad news. You can see him stand straighter. He smiles, he is on a team and for an instant has a community.
The elevator delivers us to the lobby and we part ways. As we sit in the waiting room for her blood draw, she holds my arm and says “this is a really good day”. She is animated, flirting with the staff. She has completely forgotten the rotten mood she was just in. That elevator ride was the best drug in the world for her. There may be bad news coming or side effects of chemotherapy in the next few days. But it is all insignificant to her now. Now she sees people all around her that she can connect with.
That is such a core thing to Allena. That interaction with that bent and frail man, cheering him up and intuitively finding a way to connect with him. To create an instant sense of community. That is a super power not all of us have. But it was definitely hers.
Most of you here have at one time or another been the recipient of that from Allena. That instant empathy where you are heard, seen and validated. Most of the testimonials people are posting on social media about her now include some interaction like that.
People will say “X was happening to me, and Allena saw me and heard me. X might have still happened but now I was not alone. I had some advice, some empathy and maybe, a plan.” She changed the course of so many lives with just that.
Most of us accomplish that once in a while with someone. After a lot of listening, trust building and time with people we are close with. Allena could do it in a 4 floor elevator ride with a stranger. It definitely was her super power.
It was the chief way she changed the world, one person at a time, but multiplied by 10s of thousands of times. Thank you for being one of those tens of thousands, because when you were, you probably turned her bad day into a good one. Because connecting with you, fed her soul.
A few days ago we were going through boxes looking for photos for the slide show when I came across an old diary. It was dedicated to one of her first husbands. It was her chronicle of that relationship. And in a large way it was a chronicle of the early education of Allena on relationships. I had heard many of these stories over the years but I heard them filtered through the lens of wisdom and hindsight. In this diary I was reading the words of a young woman in the ‘70s, feeling her way through relationships and attitudes on monogamy. Ways of expressing her sexuality and what that meant. It was a very intimate and fascinating read.
Watching the evolution and growth of her thinking was so touching. I had to stop and cry a few times as I read it. Remembering the times we talked about these same events from her life in the hot tub in Tukwila. A thing struck me really hard: I had always seen Allena as a wise person. The entire time I knew her she was working with a set of wisdom that was very well developed. I know she still made mistakes and even to her last days was learning new things about life. But all in all, I considered her one of the wiser people I knew from the day I met her 24 years ago.
So it was striking that she was not always wise. That she had very immature moments and made very big mistakes in some of her relationships. I guess that is the lesson here. No one, not even Allena, is born all knowing. Sometimes it is easy to sell ourselves short. To think we need to instantly live up to our heroes. And for many of us she was a hero. We need to give each other space to make mistakes and to learn. To add to our own wisdom so that some day we can use it to help others. In fact, I will say that is a truer way to emulate her. To learn in our own ways, our own lessons.
Way, way back when Allena first got diagnosed with breast cancer she was heading into chemotherapy for the very first time. Sophia, my other partner, was taking her to this appointment and just happened to have brought along a tiara. It was her habit when she had a tough task to do to wear a tiara, so she kept one in her purse. It made her feel a bit special and got her through tough times. She saw how scared Allena was and pulled out the tiara in her bag and handed it to her as they went into the hospital and said “everything is easier with a tiara”.
Allena was thrilled and wore it through the entire infusion. It changed her day and gave her something else to focus on instead of the dread of what was coming as she dealt with this cancer. The tiara made it better.
So they both wore them to the next infusion. And it worked, again. It was better and easier with a tiara.
Soon we turned the very boring infusion room into a raucous party. More of us coming along to her infusions and wearing tiaras. After a while we had to start buying them online in batches of 10 to hand out to people who wanted in on her infusion parties. Some who could not join wore them at work or wherever they were on her infusion days. She made chemo day into a celebration. I still cannot imagine what it would be like to schedule a treatment like that. Knowing week in and week out you are going to go into a room and have toxins pumped into you. Worrying about how sick you would feel shortly afterwards with all the side effects. And a tiara made it all easier.
In fact at the very end of that course of treatment they reserved a special party room where all of us could wear our tiaras and Allena could hold court with her tiara and her scepter. The staff wore tutus and did a dance and song for her. They told her they loved her and hoped she never came back.
We all kept our tiaras. Counting the days to that magical 5 year mark when she was declared cancer free. Even then we kept them. When this last cancer came along she took it to a new level declaring Tiara Tuesdays on facebook even on days she had no chemo, and if she had an appointment on Wednesday, it was Royal Wednesday. The staff at SCCA wore tiaras even, her oncologist. Many of them bringing their own along when they saw her on the schedule.
And look at all of you. It thrilled her to no end to see all of you posting pictures on Tuesdays for her. She created a movement and built a community around that simple act: a selfie in a tiara. She took a simple impulsive act when Sophia handed her that tiara and turned it into hundreds of people wearing tiaras and feeding off of the inspiration they each got from seeing them.
She did that so often. I would hear snippets or insights that came from her husband, Steve, or myself when we talked heady theoretical stuff in their home in Tukwila, and suddenly Allena had dozens, and in many cases thousands, of people hearing and acting on those same ideas. She could take a simple idea that would probably be heard between only a few people and amplify it to inspire thousands. Fleshing it out along the way and making it relatable to so many.
I guess the lesson she taught me here is to listen, and find things that will show your empathy to your friends and neighbors when they are in tough times. Whatever it is that will let them know you stand with them. It may not be a tiara. It may be something else, but metaphorically, wear the tiara. It is just a symbol, but symbols are important. They work.
Allena and I were both graduates at different times of various courses in the Landmark Forum. In fact, Allena had gone to its predecessor EST years before that. One of the techniques we both learned there is when something is causing large or intense emotions to stop and reduce it to “what is so”. Just take it down to the basics as far as you can. Too often we are having an intense emotion about something and we get stuck in that emotion because we just keep adding on layers of other things. Sometimes related things, but not really “what is so”. We would catch the other spinning out on tangents like this and look the other in the eye and say “I get what you’re saying but ‘What’s so?’” We had done it for each other so often that in most cases it took its effect immediately. We looked at the situation with new eyes, clearer heads and cut through the other “stuff” our emotions had layered on top.
So for me, here is what is so: Allena is dead, and I am sad. Every time I catch myself getting caught up in other stuff surrounding all of this. The type of stuff that can side track my grieving and leave me stuck in it. I say to myself, “Allena is dead and I am sad”. That is as simple as I can get with it. There is always a temptation to add other stuff. But in the end that is “what is so”. It is what she would be asking me to sit with and be present to right now.
I am not claiming any super evolution or that all that other stuff does not bother me. It does. I get sucked into it all the time. And some times I am stuck in it for a while. But it helps so much when I can catch that and just say to myself, “Allena is dead and I am sad”. I can hear her in my mind asking me to “try looking at ‘what is so’ here”.
Doing this does not make me less sad. It does not cure my grief. What it does is let me be with my grief in a healthy way. It stops me from doing things that will make the situation worse. I am a human being and I want to take that sadness, turn it into anger and point it at some other culprit. It is what human beings do. In situations that we can actually change, it motivates us to get things done. But here we cannot change this. We just have to be be with “what is so”. Allena is dead and I am sad.
Every year about this time Allena and a group of friends would start gathering items for Christmas gifts. Not to give to us, her friends and lovers, but gifts to give out to people living outside in the winter. The thing she stressed to me is that it had to look and feel like a present. A gift. It could include practical things like warm socks and toiletries, but it had to have a bow or something happy about it too. I am trying to remember the exact formula she came up with but it sort of went like this:
A ball of warm weather socks, with the following inside:
A five dollar bill
Some sort of small toiletry
Some candy, often a candy cane and some chocolate
wrapped in a ribbon or bow
Very importantly it had to have a ribbon or a bow. She understood the importance emotionally for this to be a present for someone who probably was not going to receive a present anywhere else. She got that the emotional side of this was just as important as the physical needs it met.
The group would all wear Santa hats, her partner in all of this would wear a full Santa suit. They would wander downtown and hand out presents. Completely randomly making someone’s day.
It was at once a very small gesture and an enormous one. They did not get to every person living on the streets. They always ran out. But to those they gave packages to it made a difference. That human feeling of being valued enough to get a gift.
I am thankful to have had Allena as a gift in my life.
Transcript of Memorial Chat Room
Below is the transcript of the chat that was available to all attendees during the virtual memorial. Unfortunately, Zoom only saves the public comments, e.g. messages that were sent to “All Panalists and Attendees”. Comments for the recorded video have been turned on so that people can repost their Allena stories and comments publicly.
~ Templeton ~: such riches gifted to so many
Donna Limric She/her: I love the pic of her and Steve.
Lancer Forney-McMahon: Great photos of Allena! <3 So many things.
Midori (she / her): thank you all for making this happen <3
Mia Fine (she/they): This is so beautiful <3
~ Templeton ~: 🥰
Chrissy Holman: <3 <3 <3
Corey.F: She lived on amazing life, touched so many lives just by being herself
Donna Limric She/her: The me in the second comment is Donna (Lady Donna) Scene name. Can’t figure out how to fix it so my name shows ups.
Donna Limric She/her: She was amazing, So many memories.
Corey.F: Her and Santa LOVE
Bob (he/they): I met Allena in late January, in the nick of time! Allena never hesitated, not for a second, to be my friend. Be like Allena.
Donna Limric She/her: That was her.
~ Templeton ~: … memories, lessons, inspiration.
Larry B.: She helped us be ourselves.
Jack O’Rion Barker: Beautiful, poignant photos…brilliant soundtrack…Thank you!
Zephyr (she/her): She had that smile that just did NOT quit. I feel so lucky to have known her
Julia Kaplan: OOOf! Three seconds into it, with all the beautiful photos and I’m bawling my face off,
Skip Chasey: I’m reminded of that line from the “Wizard of Oz” when the Wizard tells the Tin Man, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.” In Allena’s case, she was always able to be favorably judged from both sides of that statement.
Tari: You can *feel* her in these pictures – smiling, and sobbing all at once!
Bob (he/they): Put your red dress on!
Michael Gilbert: Thank you to our kind organizers for recording this. There are so many precious details in this slideshow that I know I’m missing.
Anna H: Her laugh said it all; I hear it through so many of these photos…
~ Templeton ~: be a builder
Midori (she / her): hi sophia!!! <3 <3
Michelle Kobsik: Of all the people I’ve had the fortune to know, Allena was truly a force of nature, always for the best. <3
Anna H: Sophia love…
Liam “captain” Snowdon: Wow the photos were great thank you!
~ Templeton ~: true!
Meryl Mckean: Crazy fun to see pictures of earlier husbands and I was there. I’ve known her since she was 19 and she has been responsible for my meeting the father of my children, her God Children, and what a joyful presentation of those days. We had some great hoots with the Mensans too.
Skip Chasey: Veronica, that was beautiful.
Mandy(she/her): *hug, Veronica.
delightspirit (she/her) SantaCruzCA: That was so beautiful, Veronica. As are you.
Larry B.: Veronica, beautiful words.
Midori (she / her): Veronica, thank you for sharing and your love
Mandy(she/her): When I was going through a divorce, Allena told me, “It is not about erasing the past but celebrating the good times.” Thank for that, Allena!
~ Templeton ~: honor. remember. cry. share. be.
Illyeanna She/her: Allena empowered me with the opportunity to live in the “now”, becoming an Ambassador to Consent Culture and a society founded on unconditional love.
Anna H: Thank you Mac <3
Larry B.: Wise words Mac
Kat: Allena befriended me when I was 21, 20 years later the number of stories is endless. Her ability to touch and heal people was an amazing gift
Midori (she / her): “unhinged laughter” yeah I like that
Mac McGregor – He/Him: I love you all & thank you for the amazing community support
Yvonne Snyder: This is the message I sent to her a few weeks before she left us.
I love you! Thank you for changing my life for the better and creating a space that allowed me to explore my psyche and internal fortitude. You have given gifts beyond your knowing to so many people ❤
Skip Chasey: “Unhinged laughter”…truer words were never spoken.
Mia Fine (she/they): Heartfelt, beautiful words. Love you <3
Kate Wakefield (8742): Such a beautiful, heartfelt remembrance, Dawn. Thank you for sharing with us.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: yes – a cackle is beautiful
Anna H: Lady Sunshine forever and always
Julia Kaplan: Beautiful words, Mac…beautiful words, Dawn….thank you both.
Jennifer Beal: absolutely beautiful Mac and Dawn!
Kat: Dear Travis
Donna Limric She/her: The tiara on his beard made the moment of silence very difficult.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: love you Travis
Sophia and Jim at Gallery Erato: Allena would approve of giggling
Hooker: absolutely would approve
Anna H: (Hehehehe)
Donna Limric She/her: That she is.
Guy Slydexia he/him: What is remembered lives.
Anna H: Laughing while crying…
Zephyr (she/her): These candles are perfect
Mx. Pucks A’Plenty: Thank you Travis <3
Kat: Thank you, Travis
Nina: Thank you, Veronica, Mac, Dawn, Travis. <3
Hooker: her energy has transformed many
Veronica: Thank you Dylan for rushing to Allena’s side when she was in trouble in Poland. Your presence with her was a huge comfort to me but I never told you so. I am doing that now.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: dicks and dildos – she had side names for each Lettered floor so we would remember where we parked easier
Hooker: connecting with otrs was a gift of hers
Nikki Worley: It was an honor to be a part of the support staff at the end. I hope you find healing in honoring your grief ❤
Veronica: Jim, you are a rock whether you know it not. I am so grateful to have your courage and resolve to lean on. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done and all you are still doing to honor my cousin, her life and her final wishes.
Steven Spencer: What a fantastic story!
V G: (mouse) *sobs*
Donna Limric She/her: Please don’t apologize for your emotions.
Michael Blue: One frequently found Allena at the very center of a group of people, helping us love, learn, heal, and most of all, to celebrate. I learned a great deal from her, the most powerful lessons gleaned from her example of a life well lived, one moment at a time. Thank you Allena and all of you who loved her.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: yes, she fed off of those interactions
delightspirit (she/her) SantaCruzCA: “She sees the people all around her as people she can connect with”
Donna Limric She/her: Yep
Hooker: many times she would see what others couldn’t but my friend always knew…..
V G: essence of Allena
Michael Gilbert: She received the love she gave. The man in the elevator (thank you for the story) gave her the chance to create a space that she herself needed. So beautiful.
leslie: I am blessed to have been part of her care team at SCCA. I loved our visits and hearing her stories. She shared tiaras with the staff and we all still have them…wore them every time she came, and will continue to look at them fondly. I will miss her laugh and the joy she brought to everyone around her
Kristen Knapick: No matter what I asked for, she ALWAYS said yes. And that yes sounded like she ways saying, “LOVE.”
Guy Slydexia he/him: I remember this one time at Paradise…
Jennifer Beal: having only met her twice, I wish I could have been a part of her chosen family. she touched my heart and soul in a way I will never forget and am forever grateful.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: thank you Leslie for your service and for being a part and being here
Catalyst Host: That’s a surprisingly comforting realization, Jim. Thank you.
Hooker: heroes are people too
Liam “captain” Snowdon: So human- I love this Jim!
Hooker: THANK YOU jim
Midori (she / her): a hero yes …. we need a graphic novel of The Lady Sun
Donna Limric She/her: yep that’s her
Anna H: How many people here are wearing a tiara?
Hooker: Tiara;s make everything better
Bob (he/they): “Everything is easier with a tiara!”
Ozzy Wheeler: Every Tiara display I see will forever remind me of Allena
Donna Limric She/her: I couldn’t find mine, so I have a costume halo
Anna H: @Donna sounds perfect!
Joanna (she/her): “The tiara made it better.” That’s beautiful.
Michelle Kobsik: Tiara here! <3
Steven Spencer: I’m wearing a tiara I 3D printed for the occasion. The prongs are fists with middle fingers raised because fuck cancer.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: I remember those days – there were so many of us they had to tell us to pipe it down sometimes
Jennifer Allen: Allena married Reed and me in 2005, and I will forever remember her uproarious laughter when Reed had to borrow my glasses in the middle of everything, so he could read his vows. She also gave me the nickname ‘Bubbles’ for good reason, and I will forever wear it proudly. We lost touch over the years, and this is teaching us to value every precious relationship, let nothing divide us. Going to ‘belly up to the banquet.’ Allena, you are forever loved and cherished.
Julia Kaplan: I don’t have one, so I am wearing a crown way back on my head so that you can only see the front of it, like a tiara.
Anna H: @Steven @Julia fabulous!
V G: *mouse* has sensory issues and anything on my head causes migraine so you can visualize one for me
Anna H: @mouse visualizing!
Hooker: she always found away to make a difference
Donna Limric She/her: I remember when we were decorating the WS for Halloween and she put up a Skeleton with a sign that read, Sat on furniture naked without a towel. .
Yvonne Snyder: So glad I made and gifted her with a tiara last year. I glowed inside when I saw pictures of her wearing my creation.
Kat: @steve- That tiara sounds perfect
Giovanni: I first met Allena at Landmark Education too. I believe Wetspot was her project in the Self Expression and Leadership Program at Landmark.
Veronica: What is so: Allena is dead and I am sad.
Jeff McCashland: (from Miracle Max and AT) Allena was a big part of helping us to find ourselves, and she will always be part of our lives. So much love!
Veronica: Me too Jim.
Hooker: truth Jim truth
Ozzy Wheeler: Yes Jim TY I love you always
Mia Fine (she/they): yes, Jim. thank you
Donna Limric She/her: I have known Allena since 1990.
Bob (he/they): Jim, I love you.
Erez Benari: Allena has changed my life in ways that I can’t put in words, despite being a professional writer. Things will never be the same. I love you, Allena.
delightspirit (she/her) SantaCruzCA: “Being with what is.”
Genjo (玄成) Marinello: What is so? Here now we grieve and love, and belly-up to the banquet of this life. She was a living Bodhisattva. She now lives in all of us.
Donna Limric She/her: I work with those people and I now feel like I am honoring her by helping those people.
Yvonne Snyder: Oh, Jim! So much love to you and all of her chosen family and Veronica. There was no way we couldn’t possibly love that amazing creature.
Veronica: Love to you Yvonne.
Zephyr (she/her): Jim, I really needed so many parts of your talk. Thank you.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: it made a huge difference. the look on the faces of those who received these packages it was huge
Chrissy Holman: thank you for this
Steven Spencer: Thank you, Jim! That was powerful.
Guy Slydexia he/him: What is remembered lives.
Faith: Thank you so much you guys.
Bob (he/they): I’m so, so grateful that I tasted of Allena’s banquet!!
Donna Limric She/her: Thank you all.
Midori (she / her): Mac – tell us about the looks on their faces!
Anna H: Thank you, Jim <3
Dylan: xoxo love you muches
Mandy(she/her): Thank you for sharing, Jim and everyone.
Ozzy Wheeler: I will never forget handing those gifts out. A woman asked me for my hat and I gave it to her. She danced with joy
Mx. Pucks A’Plenty: <3
Carolyn Fuller (she/her): Thank you for providing this space to celebrate her and come together in love.
Travis: Thank you all!
Skip Chasey: Jim, your eulogy was both touching and profoundly wise. Thank you–I’m certain that somewhere, somehow, Alleena is very proud of you.
Donna Limric She/her: Please share a story about her that made you laugh.
Michelle Kobsik: Thank you everyone. <3 Wind under thy wings, Allena. So much love.
Mia Fine (she/they): Thank you for this everyone <3
Christy Gordon: Much love and gratitude to everyone. Belly up.
Yvonne Snyder: This is so amazing! From today forward, I will do my best to belly up.
Catalyst Host: Allena provided wise counsel to me when I began Catalyst: A Sex Positive Place in Portland. I was touched by her willingness to provide advise and insight throughout the time we were open. She was our first instructor and she will be missed.
Ozzy Wheeler: Belly Up!
Zephyr (she/her): I’m glad to “be here” with you all and am trying to hold close the feeling it would be to gather with you in person – to see old friends, people I’ve heard stories about but never met, to hold each other and grieve together. Anyone who loved Allena is someone I feel kinship with.
Larry B.: Thanks Jim. A lot of lessons to live by taught to us by Allena and you.
Jay Wiseman he/him San Francisco: I’m so very glad that I knew her. I will try to carry on in a way that she would approve.
Leilani D (she/her): Beautiful thank you Jim and all. Such a gift. So many memories over the 25 years I knew Allena. I feel lucky and sad.
Nina: Thank you everyone, and especially dear Allena — I raise a glass to all of you at the banquet!
Mandy(she/her): I believe the first time I met Allena was at SEAF. I was with my husband, at the time. We just had to go up and introduce ourselves. She was a Light in the dark.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: Belly to the Banquet everyone – I love you all
Steven Spencer: I first met Allena in 1988 when we were both in the SCA and I was stationed at Ft. Lewis. She was one of the first people I was able to come out to as a young, closeted gay man in the army. She was my friend and my beard in the days that I couldn’t be open. Her acceptance of me gave me the courage to fight Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in federal court. Her influence on the lives around her canNOT be underestimated. She was a powerful force. But now she’s dead. And I am sad.
Gene Le Maistre (He/Him): Thank you for a wonderful presentation for a wonderful person.
Brian W: Thank you all very much!
Mandy(she/her): Blessings to Allena’s friends and family. Like you said, she’d want you to celebrate life and be your fullest selves. “Life is a banquet.”
Mac McGregor – He/Him: powder puff football – she loved talking about the stories of playing in that
Larry B.: Thanks for the chats everyone. This has been a sad but beautiful experience.
V G: (mouse) thank you, I needed this. When I met her, I was the kid and she was everyone’s mom. When everyone thought she was lost, my heart knew she wasn’t. But when she said it was soon, I knew this time, it was. In October I realized what day, but also that she didn’t want to know. I finally had to be a grown up about something.
Donna Limric She/her: ,Steve I remember being at your house for so many events.
kim nick: I remember are trip tp FL You were always fears less.
Kat: Allena, you were always my Seattle Mama, from day one. I still can’t believe you aren’t here with us anymore but you won’t be forgotten. The last 18 months were a bonus after we thought we had already lost you. It was more than I could have asked for and still less than I hoped for.
Mandy(she/her): *hugs, Mac and Dawn
Michael Gilbert: I hope we all keep our eyes open for her. We’ll see her — in other people. We’ll recognize her., over and over. I already have. I am sure you have too. It’s… another way to miss her. And another way for her to live on.
Cathy: This was beautiful. Thank you. Sending love.
Jack O’Rion Barker: Billy Lane and I making Allena and Cathy sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the top of their lungs, as we took our Seventh Inning Stretch from the Nerf bats at one of those great old parties from the ’90’s.
Adrienne, Jay, Olivia, Chris: Thank you so much to each of you who spoke today, and to everyone who loves Allena. We each have been touched in so many beautiful ways by Allena’s presence in our lives, and none of us would be the same without having met her. Much love to you all – Adrienne, Jay, Olivia, and Chris
Mac McGregor – He/Him: I gifted her that tiger tattoo after her breast cancer to cover her scar
Zephyr (she/her): Mac, I remember when she first met you – she was RADIANT with joy. It was infectious, just like all her big emotions
Donna Limric She/her: @Jack, I think I remember that.
Peggy Williams Scott: This song is so perfect. “Dream a little dream of me.”
Yvonne Snyder: Her kisses are sweeter than the ripest strawberry and 10 times as delicious. ~yum
kim nick: Soft Hugs and warm loving thoughts to all. We were lucky to know her!
Kat: @Kim, I remember her coming back from that trip delighted and happy
Jason Gerend: Thank you, everyone, for sharing beautiful words and memories about the marvelous Allena. I’m sending love and appreciation to her and you…
Liam “captain” Snowdon: After admiring her for a few years. I first connected with her the Gender Odyssey play party hosted at the Wet Spot 2000ish, One day she and Teri said to me “What the fuck is up with you and sex anyway?” And that helped launch a career – I am so grateful! She always made me feel so sexy too! What is remembered lives!
Brian W: I was so grateful that I had a lunch date with Allena last January. We had hoped to meet up again but then COVID hit. At least we spoke via FB messenger. But it was not substitute for physical presence.
Donna Limric She/her: I remember one time at KC, I was playing with someone who was wearing a blindfold, From the balcony above us, she shouted “Donna put down that chain saw,
Zephyr (she/her): Ahhhahaha Donna of COURSE she did!
Skip Chasey: Okay, here’s a story that’s not for the squeamish. (You’ve been warned.) Many years ago, at an event in Portland called KinkFest, Dale (a/k/a Fifth Angel) gave a presentation on arterial tapping. Yes, that’s right–not just “simple” blood letting via tapping a vein,…this presentation and workshop was on how to actually tap into a major artery for “extreme” ritual and blood play. Dale was having a lot of difficulty getting the shunt into his first volunteer’s artery and ultimately had to give up.. The process was obviously highly painful,, and so it was no surprise that when he asked for a different volunteer the room went quiet. After an awkward pause, a voice piped up from the back of the room, “I”d like to do it.” It was, of course, Allena. She took her place on the surgical table, and Dale smoothly inserted the shunt into one of Allena’s arteries “like butter.”
Meryl Mckean: And so, in the way of the universe, we are all on the connected web of Allena, Nena to me for so many years.
Skip Chasey: Instead of wincing, Allena laughed…and each time she did the blood flowing through the arterial line spurted high into an arc like old faithful, causing all of us to laugh as well. What for some (most) would have been a sober–if not somber–teaching experience became, in addition, a laugh-filled party. THAT was Allena.
Benjamin Cline: Baya here on Benjamin’s account. There is so much love and sadness in my heart right now. Thank you for crating safe spaces to explore. Thank you for your love, your laughter, your encouragement, your support, Allena! Thank you for all the people that connected with each other because of you. And thank you to everyone who shared memories. Yes, Allena is dead and I’m sad. And the banquet of life goes on because she sparked it.
Giovanni: Allena was there for me along with Mac at a dark time in my life when my soulmate past away and I was unemployed and found myself couch surfing. For my birthday she offered to make my favorite food, whatever it may be. I love paella. She made the most delicious paella I have EVER tasted. Thank you Allena. I am passing your passion forward whenever I have the opportunity. Your light shines on in all of the people whose lives you touched <3<3 <3
Donna Limric She/her: Because of Alleana’s, Steve, Gale and Tom, we have so many memories.
Donna Limric She/her: Like the Pig feast at KC.
Mac McGregor – He/Him: I remember that brother Gio – she loved you!
kim nick: One of the things that helps me stop crying is thinking of the great time her and Robyn are having
Peggy Williams Scott: Allena, I only wish I had enjoyed more time with you while we had you near. One of a kind. Irreplaceable. Incomparable. You will be remember and missed, with deep love and enduring gratitude. Smooch you! xoxox
Yvonne Snyder: Thank you all so VERY MUCH for putting this together! I send hugs and look forward to future hugs.
Hooker: 1999 was when I first had the pleasure of meeting the human we call Aleena who would remain a life long friend..THANK YOU SISTER FOR ALL YOU GAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mac McGregor – He/Him: Dragon that’s so sweet
Kat: Allena is responsible for me meeting a lot of me longest term friends. She was at my wedding 17 years ago at the longhouse with Jim and Steve. My wedding coincided with the naked pool party and the person that caught the bouquet was naked and got beat with one of the roses. She made a beautiful toast. I was so honored to have her in my life.
Bob (he/they): Thank you all who created and shared this tribute to Allena!
Donna Limric She/her: Along with Al D, Aubrey, Tom. and so many others. . They are all having a heck of a party!
Kate Wakefield (8742): Such an infectious smile and laugh. An amazing, wonderful light for the community. Belly up to the table, everyone! “All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.” thanks for giving us all so much, Allena.
Hooker: AWESOME SELECTION OF MUSIC
Anna H: One early very stressful SEAF set-up day, Allena walked into the serious space and loudly asked “So, anyone have sex recently?” Not a single person said yes. She burst out laughing and said something like “oh, the irony” then walked out of the room. We all started laughing and started having fun again. Thanks, Allena for the adventure!
Steven Spencer: Thank you everyone who put this together! This was the catharsis I think we all needed. Every time Allena and I said goodbye to each other, we would ritually say “Love you! Mean it! Air kisses! *Mwah* *Mwah*” So I leave you all with those words. I love you, Allena. And I do mean it.
Kat: Thank you for the beautiful service
Cub: She banned me from singing the “B O L O G N A” song
Julia Kaplan: Thank y’all for putting this together and am grateful for these photos. B
Skip Chasey: Thank you to everyone who cared for Allena in her final year, and thank you to everyone who put this memorial service together. You all have my gratitude.
Donna Limric She/her: I really want to create some kind of Kinky couples “Family Reunion thing” this summer, if its safe. It can have play or not,
Annie: Thank you everyone. It’s just the way I would imagine she’d want it.
Donna Limric She/her: I think she would like us to do that.
Larry B.: Yes, we love you Allena. A great memorial to a great loving person that made us all better.
Midori (she / her): a gathering when it’s safe for all of us to gather would be so sweet
Jeremy Shub: Thanks for organising this farewell.
Circle of Hope: This has been so beautiful! Thank you all
Mac McGregor – He/Him: Yes she wanted a big party and we will gather and do that as soon as it is safe
Hooker: Allena, I will miss you and our conversation’s and text messages……FLY WITH THE WIND ORACLE
Peggy Williams Scott: Allena, you inspire in both life and death.
dragon HansonEpstein: If someone would put these photos (possibly also the comments) into a book, I would buy it!
Sophia and Jim at Gallery Erato: It has been our pleasure and duty to honor such an amazing human. Thanks for loving Allena.
Brillan he/him: So grateful that I was able to learn from Allena when she taught workshops at the center. She held the space for us learners with such care. I will not forget. Time to belly up and keep learning! <3 <3 <3
Jennifer Skrukwa: This memorial, this tribute was beautifully put together.
Carol Tessier: I can’t wait to see everyone again. I left Seattle a little over 20 years ago but still long for those days
Sophia and Jim at Gallery Erato: Thanks for joining us, Nancy. There will be a recording posted.
Nancy: Oh thank you, that’s what I was hoping!
~ Templeton ~: @AnnaH – thank you for that fond memory!
Midori (she / her): Thank you for making this happen so we can all join… even as many of us can’t travel
Tari: I will so miss you Allena. May we all be a bit more like Allena…
Nancy: Then I can share it with my sweetheart later.
Carol Tessier: Allena and I kept planning and plotting to see each other again but missed every opportunity “by that much”.
Nancy: Thank you all. I’m grateful for the stories and the photos.
dragon HansonEpstein: Not long after I joined the SPCC, it turned 5 years old. There was a memory book Allena had put out for people to sign, and I wrote that I felt I had found my home. I thought I was so original, but it was really true. Because of Allena, I am a better person, I have more confidence, the ability to speak in front of large groups, and the desire to help other people lose their fears.
Raven: This tribute was so beautiful and thoughtful. Thank you for doing all of this for all of us when you are all deeply grieving. My heart goes out to you more than words can express.
Circle of Hope: Of course Allena changed my life! She opened so many experiences for me to stand up and be a leader and teach and be sexually free/ She was ironically there in San Jose for my girl and my earning the NW Ms Title! It was so comforting to have her be part of that night. She married us in 2008 and gave us opportunities to be leaders and stand taller in the community. We were so excited to present her with a leather vest, she was so gracious about it and kept that vest on a hanger in her office to honor it… She means so much to me and continues to inspire me to stand tall and enjoy the banquet. Love you always Allena. DJ
Sophia and Jim at Gallery Erato: Thank you, Raven. <3
Larry B.: THANK YOU!
Cub: Allena passed the day before Thanksgiving. I think it happened just right. She was always into what we can do for each other. And Thanksgiving will have a different meaning for me from now on. Thanks Giving.
Circle of Hope: Oh and… wearing a tiara for you darling! DJ
Owner: I Love you all. This better world I now inhabit came to me through her. Peace Bob M
~ Templeton ~: it was shared with me, and I joyfully pay it forward: We each hold a unique piece of each other’s history. With this passing, we celebrate and let fly a unique piece of our own history, the one Allena holds. Take care!
Nancy: A fond memory: Allena had a red PVC dress that I covered, and she let me borrow it once – it might have been an early SEAF, I’m not sure.
I was so excited to look and feel sexy in that dress, but even though it fit me, it didn’t really “fit” me, y’know what I mean? So I didn’t wear it after all, but was always so amazed at her generosity, and so happy to call her a friend. ❤️
Sophia and Jim at Gallery Erato: Farewell, and remember life is a banquet!