We're here, we're queer—and that's true all damn year.
Sure, this is the time when the rest of the world seems to take notice. And yeah, Pride is always a great party. But being gay in Portland, as in America, remains far from a utopia of endless sparkles and streamers.
Yes, the city's progressive climate has attracted an influx of LGBTQ residents, especially those looking to start families. But it is still hard to identify as something other than hetero or cisgender, and that shouldn't be forgotten during the month when corporations across the country are suddenly slapping rainbows on their logos and proclaiming themselves allies.
That's why, in this year's Pride Issue, while we celebrate the spirit and resiliency of the queer community, we've also made space to reaffirm why Pride is still important—as a fierce assertion of visibility and a disavowal of bigotry.
Packaging Pride into one tidy guide isn't easy. It's not even possible, really. That's because queer identities are nebulous, diverse and continuously evolving. But in the following pages, we've done our best to examine what Pride means to a broad range of people.
We asked representatives from different local groups—Greater Portland Trans Unity, the Dyke March and the anti-capitalist Queer Liberation Front—that very question, and received three different answers. One formerly homeless queer Portlander offers a first-hand account of what it is like to seek refuge in an unlikely place: one of the city's last bathhouses. And we spoke to medical professionals about what Portland can do to improve its LGBTQ mental health services.
But this is also a month to celebrate. So we've also put together a lineup of Pride events that range from "bring the whole fam" to "clothing optional." We compiled an oral history of Portland's legendary queer-centric dance party Blow Pony, and looked at the rise of the city's vogue scene, which is creating an outlet for self-expression by queer people of color in America's whitest city.
Like we said, Pride Month is always a great party. Just remember, though: We queer folks are still here, asserting our rights and fighting for recognition, all year round.