DIVIDED WE STAND 

The Mercury's Annual Queer Issue and Guide to Pride!

Hey Queer Issue readers, are you ready to rumble?

Well, dust off those boxing gloves, because if the events of the last year are any indication, Portland's LGBT community is fucking angry, it's pumped, and it's raring to fight. On the fight card, we have Sam supporters vs. Sam detractors; rural queers vs. city-dwelling gays; marriage equality friends vs. foes; old queer media vs. new queer media; Latino pride vs. black pride vs. dyke pride vs. "Pride" pride. And that's only in Round One!

It's unquestionable that Portland's LGBT community is fabulous and diverse. What queers here do for business, education, the performing and fine arts, activism, and more is pretty damn amazing, and you'll see that on display everywhere in town over the next two weeks. There's a huge range of events celebrating queer pride from the Waterfront to the city's gay watering holes (check out our Top 10 Pride picks to see our best bets).

But let's talk about the serious challenges within the community here. Portland currently has no functioning nonprofits dedicated solely to support for minorities within the LGBT community and queers are lining up on both sides of "Beaugate" as a campaign to recall openly gay Mayor Sam Adams approaches. And the passage of California's Prop 8 opened up an ugly can of worms, exposing divisions of support for queer equality along the lines of age, religion, and race.

Portland's "official" Pride organization, Pride Northwest, has declared the theme of their 2009 festival as "United We Stand." I call bullshit. That seems like a cute gloss on the huge challenges and divisions facing queer communities everywhere, in Stumptown especially.

We've got another theme in mind for Pride this year: "Divided We Stand." Let's own up to the warring factions within and without the gay scene here; let's voice our own strong opinions and scream at each other a bit. Then let's roll out the rainbow flags and dance our divided asses off.

WITH PRIDE!

STEPHEN MARC BEAUDOIN

(More Queer Issue articles Here)

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