Portland Pride – A How-To-Guide (sorta)

2010 Pride NW Pride Crew

Best Pride 2010 backup crew! Photo by Diana Edwards

So many (tiny) dogs. FryBrickLineFight v.s So-So-Burger line. What will you wear? Why do dykes on bikes always wear black? When is the Dyke March (Hint: either at 5pm or 6pm, depending on who you ask.) Official Weather. UnderU for Men sale. Why it’s not OK to be sexist, racist, or aggressive during Pride. Lovetribe snuggle tent skepticism. Splendora Gabor’s candyfloss hair.  It’s not over until the drag queen sings. And: If you find a bar that does dollar mimosas (like the fabulous Invasion did a few years ago!) you tell us by tweeting something @qpdx.

Some random musings on the nature of Portland Pride. All you need to know will be revealed, but don’t quote me. I said don’t.

1.) Weather. It’s June. Everywhere else in the world (except maybe Seattle and the southern hemisphere) it’s already summer. In Stumptown? Not so much. At the moment, the hot weather is so sparky and sporadic it’s like a bootycall with not much followthrough. I remember years in the past with acres of Sauvie Islandtime stretching in front of the June Pride date, only to have my dreams of a hot and sexy time on Portland’s streets dashed by the mandatory arrival of…Official Pride weather. Think about it, ladies and gents, when was the last time we had a Portland Pride scorcher? When is it not cloudy, grey, damp, and not-quite-hot-enough to be comfortable in minimal clothing weather on Sunday of Pride?

My theory: it’s all those people bringing sunscreen. During Pride, the natural ratio of sunscreen, sunburn, moisture, and bridge and tunnel dykes/gays gets upset, and hey presto, Official Pride Weather happens. Either that or Debra Porta struck a deal with a rainmaker somewhere.
So for crying out loud, finish the food on your plate (thats my mum’s theory on the production of good weather), leave the sunscreen and home and bring a raincoat so we can coax some fucking rays of goddamn SUN out of the stratospheric wet towel that is this city’s pride sky.

Not quite what i meant but hey

2.) Where to watch.  Well, this is tricky. There is of course the traditional parade setup – complete with coolers, coozies and chairs (and children), but you may want to deviate from that thinking and take other geographic factors into account. Such as: Will there be an enormous drag queen with an enormous wig you have to peer through/around to see the floats? Will you have enough beautiful and interesting friends around you so as to distract you while the 10 ^ 3 church groups amble past, smiling beatifically, expensive banners flapping in the breeze? Will you be shielded from the lazerpointers of tweaker-eyes boring into your own, overtired oculi? (bring sunglasses despite of no.1 at all costs.) Can you finangle your glitter cannon so you shoot at people because you are too awkward to chat them up? Are you close enough to the Radical Faeries to feel their protection against the ardent, soul stealing commercialization of gay culture? Are you early enough on the route to get swag? A you late enough to not get a ton of swag you later have to deal with? Are you near a hot cop? Or at least a cute police horse? Something?
If you want to hear the announcements (there are generally two sets of announcements, they may/may not be the same) there will be some at the corner of Broadway and Burnside. Here’s a link to a map.

3.) Dykes on Bikes. Dykes on bikes are mandatory. I love bikes. I love dykes. I would really love to see a dyke on a bike bike on a dyke someday. They are loud. They are the beginning. I heart them. I just want to see a.) more scooters, including vespas and small, clattery mopeds expensively imported from 70’s eastern europe and/or switzerland and b.) more bicycles including fixies please and c.) a small lesbian monkey (it could be a bonobo maybe?) ride on a bicycle with the dykes wearing a fez hat. Carrying a flag. That would make my godddamn day. The only thing I don’t really get about motorcycles and all that is why they always have to wear black. I’m waiting for some fluorescent motorcycle gear. Fluffy helmets. Big insane rainbow shit. Please.

4.) Lines. Lines, like lesbians, are also mandatory. Various forms of lines form always at Pride. Including: Toilet Cubicle Line, Getting-in-line (please donate. Pride is expensive.), beer line. Starving lines also form, including, but not limited to, FryBrick line, Pizza Line, so-so Burger Line,  Thai food Line. But the WORST line is the ATM line. I hate that line. Because you cannot acquire food or booze to help you deal with your frenzied/worn out self before you hit the ATM line. So it may be a good idea to bring some cash. Do it and then give me some so I can go stand in the beer line. Sorry gluten free folks, you may be still be S.O.L this year.

Dyke March 2010

Sexyness @ Dyke March 2010

5.) WHEN IS THE DYKE MARCH KATEY. The dyke march (I would like to thank Alley Hector for coining the term “parade of all the people I’ve ever slept with” which is succinct and 50% accurate) is one of my favourite events. Why? It’s not so commercial, and it’s a lot queerer that the parade on Sunday. The amount of cute people per square meter is at it’s highest for the weekend. It can be a little tense though (because of the numbers of exes) so bring a teddy, or crew of safe people, or both, including someone who knows WHERE the F it starts (don’t ask me, i always get lost downtown, I can’t tell the diff between north and south park blocks) and WHEN. I just noticed that The Official Pride Guide is listing the step off at 5pm, while the official dyke march page is listing it at 6pm. FAIL. So. Some things never change. I’m guessing it will be at 6pm. But I’m not sure. Don’t quote me. Argh!! Gathering is at the N. Park Blocks.

Get there early? Bring something to read? A flask? Yeah, bring a flask. Again, no sunscreen. And don’t talk to Katey about why she’s late. BRING NOISEMAKERS. The dyke march is often way too quiet despite all us rowdy lezzos.

6.) Fighting/Anti Gay Violence. Dude-I have to say, and I say it every year around this time: Violence in our community by our community needs to stop. (I’m not talking about the push-and-shove at the UnderU 4 Men sale). We can’t control what the  haters do that bash us on the streets, but we can (and we must) stop the amount of animosity that I see every year amongst queers! White people being overtly racist towards people of color attending the festival. Twinky gay boys ragging on country style dykes. Straight acting on flamer comments and nastiness. Transphobia in bathrooms and all over. And, sadly, sadly, violence, threats and macho bullshit between bro-ish lesbians. At the E-Room/Weird bar, on the parade grounds, at the dyke march. I can’t stand hearing dykes threaten to “wait at the gates until person x leaves so we can beat her up”. I don’t care who your ex is or what happened. I don’t care that you have tattoos. It’s not OK to be sexist and it’s not OK to be controlling, and it’s really, really, not OK to threaten people. Please be mindful. There are so many ways to be. This Pride, be generous.

Every year after Pride I write an article about all the gay bashings and violence and the fallout that happen. Please help let this be the year where I don’t have to.

7.) FiVE TRiLLiON dance parties to go to. We will be rating them. When is Blow Pony gonna have another boat?? Despite that we are in contact with a local superhero (SuperGay will be here!!) we need your help to find out what is happening where. Tweet anything and tag it @qpdx to have it show up on our twitter feed. That way we also know (and can keep everyone else informed) about what is happening where. We WANT your content for our pride coverage. Photos, jokes, ideas, feedback, video, money, quotes, outfits, anything, anything, anything. Help us make it happen. March with us. Dance with us. We will be wearing our qPDX gear all weekend.

8.) So many tiny dogs. If you manage to accurately count them we will give you a present.

SuperGay and Diana at Pride 2010

Diana and SuperGay at Pride 2010

I love Pride. I do. It’s not a love without reservations – the commercialization of Pride has always left me with a sour taste in my mouth and I don’t see that changing. I see all the ways in which Pride is tacky, a waste of money, an excessive gorging on alcohol and drugs and sex, all the ways in which it “makes us look bad”. All the money that is spent on Pride that could be spent on combating homophobia, racism, homelessness, and drug abuse amongst queers and especially queer youth.

But in a world where we have to (still) fight so damn hard just to get some space, in a world what (still) ignores us in so many big and small ways, our families, our lives, our communities, including all the ways we as queers bring healing into the world that get unrecognized, including all the ways our struggle to create more liberal, more open, more loving interpretations of the ideas of relationships, of gender, of family, all the ways we make art and rage and do and fight and cry and love and fear come out at Pride. And so I hope that this Pride, as every year for the last 16 years of my life (OK y’all – I’ve officially been out for over 50% of my life and I’m only 30) we will pour ourselves out on those streets and that fairground that is just as much ours as it is everyone else’s.  We will be our chaotic messy selves, we will reclaim the streets, we will throw out our energy and our light, we will turn heads, we will make new friends, we will help someone, we will connect, and we will do it out of a sense of PRIDE and LOVE of ourselves and who we are and how we love and how we desire and how we fuck and we look and we kiss. Round peg. Square hole. Outcasts, freaks, weirdos, standing out even amongst “the gays”. Let it out, let it out, pour it into those streets and shake your tail feather. Have an amazing, liberating, freeing QUEER PRIDE!

5 comments to Portland Pride – A How-To-Guide (sorta)

  • The Pride Guide states 5:00 pm because in the past, when we put 6:00 pm, participants have taken that to be the gathering time, which is what it was in the past. People have ended up disappointed that they did not get to participate because they came “late” based on the 6:00pm time. We deliberately list the 5:00 pm time, so that people build that time into their planning and do not miss the opportunity to march. The Dyke March website, the Pride NW website, and the Pride NW Facebook page explain, in more detail, the timing, for those who have further questions.

    Thank you for the opportunity to explain our reasoning. Feel free to contact me with questions-something we always encourage-if things are not clear.

    Thank you,

    Debra Porta
    Pride Northwest, Inc.

  • Thanks for being a sport Debra <3

  • Jaime

    I still feel too inexperienced to ride this year, but next year, watch for me riding with Dykes on Bikes on my pink flower print Honda Metropolitan 49cc scooter with pink armored jacket, pink helmet, and pink glitter “VISIBLE FEMME” sign on my trunk box. It’s going to be epic.

  • […] Find more information at the official site. And visit, Queer news, views and events for Portland for Pride coverage, including the indispensable Portland Pride – A How-To-Guide (sorta). […]

  • […] case. I am incredibly excited and glad to know that Pride this year was a peaceful, happy event. I asked you, Portland, to give me a Pride where I (as the designated gay bashing coverage specialist, a job i do not relish) don’t have […]