Pride Month is a celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, which happens every June to honor and remember the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This moment in history is considered to be the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. Many cities will hold a Pride parade to celebrate the month and Portland is no different. In fact, Portland Pride has been taking place since the early 1970s! The Pride parade in Portland is also one of the most family-friendly festivals in the country, so all ages are welcome to attend.
Since 1994, Pride Northwest, Inc. has been in charge of organizing the Portland Pride parade and festival each year. Organizers and volunteers work together to create a safe and welcoming environment for members of the LGBTQ community to celebrate themselves and how far the gay rights movement has come. The Portland Pride festival is one of the largest celebrations of Pride in the region and thousands of visitors from all across the country stop by the Rose City each year to join the fun.
Portland Pride Parade
The main attraction during Pride month is the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade. During the parade, thousands of participants come together to share in the strength of the collective community and be visible together. The Pride parade kicks off at W. Burnside and Park Avenue and ends by the waterfront in downtown Portland.
Festival-goers are encouraged to celebrate diversity amongst the LGBTQ communities. There are also educational opportunities to discover more about the rich history, talents and achievements of the LGBTQ community.
The Pride festival in Portland is the biggest opportunity in the Northwest region for LGBTQ community business and organizations to reach out to new clients and potential supporters. Every year for the parade, over 150 local and national organizations, agencies and businesses come together in Waterfront Park to support the LGBTQ community. Local LGBTQ businesses can see a significant boost in revenue while Pride Northwest, Inc. funds the Portland Pride events using donations made by festival-goers.
Attendees at the Portland Pride festival will have a number of entertainment options to choose from during the week. Guests will be treated to live musical performances, celebrity appearances, poetry slams and much more. In addition to entertainment options during the festival, there will be tons of Pride events offered to the local community. The goal of the festival is to provide a safe and comfortable place for LGBTQ people and community allies to enjoy themselves without any inhibitions.
Portland Pride Events
There are a variety of different events in Portland in the week leading up to the parade, typically known as Pride Week. These events are intended to enrich the connection between LGBTQ people and their local community.
For instance, The Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hosts a drag queen book reading as a way to educate locals and contribute to community outreach. The Sisters are a group dedicated to providing a support system for marginalized groups of people, including those within the LGBTQ community. Some other popular Pride events in Portland include the following:
- Special movie screenings (the movie last year was Rocketman)
- LGBTQ block parties
- Theatrical performances
- Drag brunches
- Trans Pride March
- Portland Dyke March
- LGBTQ boat rides in Waterfront Park
- Picnics at the park
These events are typically offered by LGBTQ-focused businesses that help make Portland Pride into a grand event each year with dozens of things to do. Some of these events may be RSVP only or may require a ticket, so be sure to check for more details in advance.
Additional LGBTQ+ Programs
In addition to the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade, Pride Northwest is active all year to provide support LGBTQ residents in Portland with support from their local community. The organization is providing opportunities for LGBTQ youth and community members to find support and mentorship from people who celebrate them.
The LGBTQ+ Community Impact Program
Another way that Pride Northwest helps to support the local LGBTQ community is by providing financial support to several different grassroots organizations in the area. In addition to hosting the Pride parade, the organization is a major fiscal sponsor for other LGBTQ organizations in the region such as:
- Northwest Gender Alliance (one of the nation’s longest-running transgender organizations)
- Latinx Pride (they are in charge of organizing the Portland Latinx Pride Festival)
- Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance (they organize Columbia Gorge Pride)
- Tran Unity (they organize the Portland Trans Pride March and other events in the area)
The LGBTQ+ Youth Community Building Program
Portland Pride can be felt throughout the year in the city. The community strongly believes in fostering the talent and potential of LGBTQ youth in the community and Pride Northwest provides those opportunities. Additionally, the organization takes responsibility and makes the effort to mentor and support these young people so that they feel loved and celebrated in their community. One way they do so is by hosting an annual LGBTQ Youth Holiday Celebration every December.
This program is made possible through partnerships with a number of organizations and institutions in Portland. Together, Pride Northwest and the other organizations collaborate together to ensure that Portland pride is not isolated to one month out of the year and that the LGBTQ youth in the community have their needs met.
The George T. Nicola LGBTQ+ History Fellowship
Portland Pride focuses on educating the public about the history and achievements of the LGBTQ community, and Pride Northwest supports this goal even after the festival has ended. One way they do so is through the George T. Nicola LGBTQ+ History Fellowship. This fellowship provides scholarships to LGBTQ+ students, promotes the public’s access to LGBTQ+ historical archives and highlights Oregon’s own LGBTQ+ history.
Each year, recipients of this fellowship will receive a $2,000 stipend in order to help fund research set to focus on the history of Oregon’s LGBTQ+ community. In addition to financial support, recipients of this fellowship will receive guidance from mentors in the community and nearby academic historians.
Photo by Png Studio Photography.