On our cover this week, we celebrate four Portlanders actively working for
the progress of the queer community. We asked them to weigh in on Pride 2018.
Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi, drag performer and educator
"This Pride I want to focus on who I'm most proud of: our youth. I've sat through college courses with adults fighting to wrap their brains around basic queer theory, but when I lead drag workshops and ask what gender is, my kids always shout back, "It's not real!" They are potential and they understand power, justice and the life-saving possibilities of a fluid future. Simultaneously, I've watched my students put on full contour with donated eyeshadow palettes and then ask me how to best take it off so they can get back to the shelter in time. Our LGBTQ youth need support and clothes and housing and encouragement and love. Donate and volunteer with them at SMYRC and the Living Room and Outside In and NAYA. Talk to them like they're adults who matter. Make them laugh. And don't ever forget how much we need them."
Leila Haile, Community Organizer/Co-Director of Ori Gallery
"We are at a pivotal time where marginalized communities are fighting for their lives under a regime that would gladly watch them disappear. This Pride is shrouded with the very real threat of police violence, white nationalism and violent xenophobia. While we take this time to celebrate the struggles and victories of our Queer ancestors, it is with the conviction that our fight is far from over. We do it with the knowledge that it's going to get worse before it gets better and that none of us is free until we are all free. This is a time when we need accomplices more than allies, and action over thoughts and prayers. To sit in comfort on the sidelines of the parade and cheer us on is not enough when we are being beaten in the streets and denied medical treatment after that. Every single person has a place in the revolution—no matter where you are in your learning, you have the power to contribute to our shared liberation. Do something. Even if you do it wrong, learn from it, and then do something different next time."
Lyles McFarland, organizer with Greater Portland Trans Unity
"Pride is a time to be with the community we love, sharing the joy of our wonderful existence, but we also have to remember the times we're living in. The world is increasingly dangerous for us, and we know there are bigots out there just waiting for an opportunity to do harm.
But don't let them steal your joy with fear, just be alert and prepared. Look after
each other. Protect each other. We can't count on the police to protect us, only the community can truly protect itself. So come to Pride, to the Trans March, to every event you want to. Just be safe.
And remember: We're here. We're Queer. We're fabulous, so don't fuck with us!
Love y'all <3"
Alyssa Pariah, Community Organizer
"June 28, 1969. Stonewall Inn. West Village, Manhattan: In a time when you
could be arrested, beat up and fired from your job if caught at a gay bar [during
a police raid], two queens said "no." Marsha Payitnomind Johnson and Sylvia
Rivera resisted arrest and encouraged other patrons to do the same. They fought back, forcing cops out. It was infectious. The crowd outside jeered at the retreating police. News spread quickly and a collective resistance to persecution ignited the community imagination. The following night New Yorkers across the LGBTQ spectrum and their revolutionary allies gathered in protest. Like any other urban rebellion, years of enduring degraded living standards and state violence manifested in sudden mass upheaval. They called the nights of protest "The Stonewall Riots."
As a result, police raids ceased. Newly politicized queers began organizing drives
for community defense and legal reform under the umbrella "Gay Liberation
Front." Most notable was the STAR House, which was run by mothers Sylvia and Marsha themselves. It was a meeting place that provided free housing and basic human services that the state refused to deliver to the most marginalized and impoverished in the community. To honor the riots, a year later on June 28, 1970, the first Pride March took to the streets of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
There were no corporate sponsors."