Portland’s gay pride organization has named its 2009 parade Grand Marshal and “Spirit of Pride” winners, and they’re actually kind of interesting.
According to Pride Northwest staff member Zebra (no really, that’s his entire name), the Grand Marshal tiara goes to Kendall Clawson, executive director of the Q Center, Portland’s center for the LGBT community based in North Portland. Clawson, who moved to Portland from Massachusetts in 2007, might be the first ever queer woman of color to serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal, which I think involves her being hoisted atop a rose-adorned float by musclebound dudes in white thongs or something like that.
Seriously though, Clawon’s brought huge energy and real organizational smarts to the burgeoning Q Center, overseeing a major fundraising campaign and move from their tiny inner Southeast digs to a roomy new NoPo home. I can’t think of anyone more worthy this year to take the Grand Marshal title. Except maybe Beau Breedlove. Didn’t anyone nominate Beau Breedlove? Imagine for a moment how that might have really brought out the gawking Pride weekend crowds… just picture shirtless, leather-booted Beau, prancing down Broadway in a neon jock. Hmmmm...
So anyhow, Zebra says the organization’s other big award, the “Spirit of Pride,” is going to Irrigon, Oregon resident Frank Roa, who directs a nonprofit social justice organization called Umatilla Morrow Alternatives out in rural eastern Oregon. I spent a day with Roa last August while he was producing a human dignity slash queer pride slash Iraq war memorial event in tiny Hermiston, Oregon — the first of its kind. Soft-spoken and humble, the openly gay HIV-positive activist is emerging as a rural queer to watch, and a truly interesting choice by Pride Northwest for the award.
Oh, and I should have some big Pride weekend entertainment news for y’all next week, just FYI.
(photo of Frank Roa by yours truly)