June 14th, 2010 5:33 pm | by Caitlin Giddings News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, City Hall, Politics, Cops and Courts

Power to the People

Tags: Portland, gay
gay rights flag

After a recent outbreak in reported gay bashings around town, Portland's queer community is ready to fight back.

Tonight at 7 pm, there's an information session at the Q Center about a new effort callled the "Q Patrol."

Leaders in the queer community are working with the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement to train a "Q Patrol" that will comb the streets around gay bars and report any trouble to the police. The goal is to have the city provide the two-hour training to around 50-100 people, says Stephen Cassell, who's volunteering as a liaison between the queer community and the city. Those who get the training will patrol the entertainment district between 10 pm and 3 am.

"The cool thing about it is that there's been a big interest among people in all parts of the community," Cassell says. "It's not just gays and lesbians, it's everybody."

The actual training will take place at the Q Center in the coming weeks, says Cassell. The goal was to have a Q Patrol trained and ready for the Pride Parade and other festivities this weekend. But Cassell says there's not enough time. "Realistically, to do it right, there's no way we can have it ready for pride," Cassell says.

At the same time, Savory Pink Productions is joining with One With Heart to offer a three-hour intensive workshop on self-defense at the Q Center on Tuesday, June 15 from 6 to 9 pm. What's being called ‘3 Hours of Power' will teach local queers basic self-defense moves if they're in a confrontation. And in the wake of new reports of an alleged gay bashing on June 11, the class couldn't come at a better time.

Sophia St. James, owner of Savory Pink Productions, wants local queers to have the confidence to go out and enjoy themselves. "It appears the streets of Portland are becoming more and more dangerous for our LGBTQI community to walk and be safe." St. James says. "We want to be able to give the community the tools to protect itself should they be threatened."
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