Queer Guide 2023

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Meals 4 Heels, Speed-O Cappuccino, and More

The Portland Mercury's 2023 Queer Guide: Pride Is Forever Now

When is Portland Pride? July. But also just always.

Protests and Threats Cast a Pall Over Oregon Pride Celebrations

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You Don’t Have to Be Drunk to Love Drunk Herstory

Creator and host Shandi Evans says the comedy drag night's first sober storyteller told "hands down the most insane story we've ever done."

Portland Pride Is in July? An Explainer.

Why did the parade and festival move, and why do we love June so much anyway?

A Mother's Fight for Her Gay Son's Military Honors

The Navy discharged Martin Cerezo for being gay. His mother is now fighting for LGBTQ vets across the nation.

Candid Ramblings Rhymes with Refreshing Directness

Being in Portland helped rapper Lakeeyscia Griffin find the confidence to write a song about her partner.

Hi Honey, I'm Homo Is History That Won't Depress You During Pride

Culture critic Matt Baume not only recounts Sitcom TV's tea—he reads the leaves.

It's June, and your friends, coworkers, and roommates are all asking you about Portland's Pride Festival. The short answer: It's in July; the parade is Sunday July 16. 

The long answer is as follows: 

Pride Northwest announced in December that this year’s Portland Pride Parade and Festival would move from June to mid-July, citing schedule overlaps with other summer celebrations, including Juneteenth, the Delta Park Powwow, and Father’s Day.

"This is something we've wanted to do for a long time," Pride Northwest’s Executive Director Debra Porta told the Mercury. She explained that this year Oregon Brewfest moved to June, and freed up Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a mid-July festival.

The world celebrates Pride in June, and Portland has celebrated in June as well, since at least 1975. In major cities, like San Francisco and New York, celebrations began a year after the Stonewall uprisings—the historic 1969 riot, when Martha P. Johnson and other revelers at the Stonewall Inn decided to stand up to a police raid. 

The actual anniversary of the rebellion is June 28, and the nation's largest cities celebrate closest to that date: Seattle and San Francisco both celebrated on June 25 this year. Other cities celebrate later in the year: Atlanta and Orlando, for example, celebrate Pride in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ+ History Month. 

Portland long celebrated on the third weekend of June to avoid overlap with larger cities on the West Coast, which could be viewed as a symptom of our inferiority complex or a move to support LGBTQ+ artists, musicians, and personalities who make their professional livelihoods entertaining and uplifting the queer community. 

"A huge number of our entertainment folks make a significant amount of their income up and down the West Coast during Pride season," Porta explained. 

However, Portland's ongoing Pride Parade problem has been that the weekend usually conflicted with Father's Day, the Delta Park Powwow, and Juneteenth.

"It used to be that we had to escape our dads on Father’s Day, but I don’t think that’s such a common experience anymore, and that’s a good thing," said event producer Katya, whose Klip Klop Productions puts together parties like the annual Dollapalooza drag festival.

"Juneteenth and the Delta Park Powwow were originally the reason," Porta said, explaining the longstanding desire to move Portland Pride. "As long as all of us were doing the biggest thing we do of the year at the same time, we’d never have time to talk to each other—and we’d never have time to significantly, strategically work together to build relationships." 

Porta noted that this year Pride Northwest was able to participate in Juneteenth festivities—"we were in the parade for the first time last year… we made it happen." Pride Northwest tabled at the festivities, along with Basic Rights Oregon and Outside In.

Back in October, when Pride Northwest learned about the opportunity to move the dates, it quickly accepted. However, the organization didn't receive approval from the city to announce the change until late December, which Porta called, "literally the day the city gave us final approval."

It may seem like five months' notice would be plenty of time, but Porta acknowledged that "Pride is not a three month planning process, it’s year-round."

“Pride Northwest did not really engage with the community in this process as much as they could have," Katya said. "They blindsided a lot of folks. I’m fully on board with this transition, but I think it could have happened a lot more seamlessly, and it could have involved more community participation."

Porta explained that weather and significant demand for the parade were other factors Pride Northwest considered. Portland's Pride festivities have grown significantly, back on track from prior to the pandemic. “We expanded last year, and we’ve already outgrown our expansion." Porta said. “We were shoulder to shoulder in 2019, and that’s just not sustainable.”

Ending the scheduling conflict with Juneteenth was important to Ann Pyne, who produces drag and sapphic parties like Compact, Dyke Nite, and Sungayze. "Pride should be celebrated all year, so what’s the harm in moving it?” she said. However, a yearlong celebration is not what she sees happening: “The month of June feels less prideful because we aren’t celebrating it in our city, but most places still use this month as the time to do so."

Coco Jem Holiday, a drag artist and producer running CC Slaughters’ revue Black Magic, expressed similar disappointment at Portland's lackluster June 2023. "I’ve noticed June just became any other month in Portland," she said. "No one tried to celebrate for two months. [In July,] I’m hoping the city will rally behind Pride Northwest and show out in force."