Pride Is in Need of a Fresh Start—and Portland’s Most Famous Drag Clown Knows How to Make That Happen

Instead of making queens don drag in daylight, what if we put them in one-on-one grudge matches with Republican leaders?

(Sam Gehrke)

By Carla Rossi

Pride is here, and she's in need of Botox and fillers.

Every year, the season becomes increasingly centered on which dance party will host which TV drag queen while "the community" argues over which colonialism-inspired flag best represents each Facebook-sanctioned letter in the LGBTQIAAS2S*+ alphabet.

Never fear, though. In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots—which marked the onset of the queer rights movement—Portland's premier drag clown has a plan for retiring Pride's most tired tropes and returning to our radical roots of chucking bricks at the fuzz.

OUT: Corporate sponsorships
IN: Swamp hags

Tired of the Love, Simon snow globes in Target's Pride collection? Creeped out by Colgate's rainbow toothpaste, Detective Pikachu circuit party harnesses, and Tamagotchi cock rings? Tell parade sponsor Wells Fargo and its pipeline contributions, "Thanks, but no thanks." Close the corporate door and open a window to the only liberating force worth seeing on a parade float—the swamp hag. She lives in the mud, she practices blood magic, she won't misgender you in her Yelp reviews, and her talons are fierce! Who needs a corporate overlord or rainbow Nikes when you can invoke the anti-patriarchal soul of a liberated dirt witch to undo the follies of capitalism? Hail swamp hag!

OUT: The Babadook
IN: The O.G. Chucky from Child's Play

Two years ago, an algorithm error landed Australian horror flick The Babadook in Netflix's LGBTQ selection, turning the grinning, top hat-sporting demon into an unofficial Pride mascot, even if there was nothing remotely queer about the little Dook-dook-dook. I say throw away those possessed pop-up books and put a sash on the true queer horror icon: Chucky the killer doll! Unlike the upcoming remake in which Chucky is a Bluetooth-reactive Bratz doll, the original Child's Play franchise is the queerest slasher series out there, with queer creator Don Mancini, Jennifer Tilly as Chucky's killer wife, Tiffany, and Glen or Glenda, the cutthroat couple's nonbinary child. The latest entry, Cult of Chucky, ends with Chucky living in a woman's body and riding off into the sunset with Tiffany. Think the remake will have the nerve to do that—or cast John Waters, like Seed of Chucky did? Never settle for heterosexual imitations and cash-ins on queer excellence.

OUT: Drag Queen Brunch
IN: Drag Queen Death Match

The name's a bit of a misnomer, but hear me out—instead of making queens don drag in daylight, what if we put them in one-on-one grudge matches with Republican leaders? Who would win in a battle between Mitch McConnell's wattle and a 6-inch stiletto heel? We've all seen Single White Female. After all, you can't pass "religious freedom" laws to legalize anti-queer and trans discrimination when a 350-pound bearded drag queen named Hot Beef is running at you in her finest feather boas and singlet. Sorry, my dears, but you are up for elimination.

OUT: Plastic straws
IN: Stainless steel travel straws

Because if we want to see another 50—or even 20—years of Pride, your cocktail straw shouldn't help advance climate change, duh.

OUT: LGBTQ Pride Month
IN: LGBTQ Wrath Month

We've been focusing on the wrong deadly sin. Trade the parade's grand marshal for martial law and envision a world out of a John Waters film—roving caravans of unclothed lunatics wreaking havoc and lovemaking in the streets, compulsory homosexuality, and all television and internet broadcasts replaced with a 24/7 loop of The Hours and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? "Straight Pride" advocates say they're tired of queers rubbing their faces in it, so let's show them what it's like for us. Every. Single. Day.

Anthony Hudson of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde is an artist, writer, performer, filmmaker and programmer best known as Portland's premier drag clown, Carla Rossi. Together, they host Queer Horror, the only LGBTQ+ horror film series in the country, at the Hollywood Theatre. Find out more at

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