Rose City Pride
This year, Portland Pride is celebrating its 40th anniversary in style with Grammy-nominated Martha Wash as the headliner. The R&B singer, whose hit with the Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men,” has been a gay club anthem since it hit the airwaves in 1983, takes the main stage at Tom McCall Waterfront Park June 14.
Portland’s LGBT community will also celebrate the one-year anniversary of marriage equality in Oregon and bisexual Governor Kate Brown, the former secretary of state who took over the state’s top job in February following the resignation of John Kitzhaber.
Brown is grand marshal of Portland’s Pride parade. Debra Porta, president of Pride Northwest Inc., which produces the parade, said it is also honoring Mia Macy, a transgender Portland woman who fought the U.S. government’s employment discrimination and settled her case in 2013.
The weeklong celebration kicks off with a benefit gala and film screening followed by parties at night and outdoor activities during the day leading up to the festival. Portland Pride organizers anticipate upwards of more than 55,000 people to celebrate in the Rose City, according to Porta.
“This is a special year for us because we’ve had a full year of marriage,” said Porta. “There’s just lots happening in the community.”
Indeed there is, with Portland Black Pride June 13-14, followed by Portland Latino Gay Pride’s 10th annual festival in July.
Drag queens will have their day in the sun too at the Peacock in the Park festival at the Washington Park Amphitheater June 28. The nearly 30-year-old drag variety show has brought out an estimated 5,000 people for a day of picnicking and other activities.
“It is just about having a great time with your friends,” said Kimberlee Van Patten, co-founder of Peacock Productions Inc., which produces Peacock in the Park.
“There is just something so romantic and liberating about being able to express your sexuality outdoors,” said Van Patten, 49, a lesbian who perceives drag as “gay folklore.”
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