Biggest local queer news stories of 2011

When you mix queer drama and local politics what do you get? Some pretty interesting news for a city that keeps it weird. […]

Kendall Clawson appointed to Governor’s office team, leaving Q Center

Kendall Clawson at the Q Center's ribbon cutting

It’s been a week since Governor-elect John Kitzhaber announced the appointment of his closest aids. I would like to join with the rest of the queer community in congratulating Q Center‘s Kendall Clawson‘s hiring as Director of Executive Appointments.

This is a joyous, if slightly bittersweet, occasion, but will ultimately benefit the entire LGBT community. The Q Center might be losing its first permanent Executive Director, and a great one at that, but she will be in a position of power in the Gov’s office, a queer voice in our state politics.

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Queering the 2010 Census

Every now and again qPDX must stand behind a public service announcement. This April 1, and no, it’s not a joke, we refuse to be invisible any longer and should stand up and be counted for the 2010 Census. And though the government survey woefully only counts gay couplings rather than the numerous among us who are queer enough of our own, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has also started a grassroots pink sticker campaign called Queering the Census wherein you can seal your envelope with your out and proud status.

On March 18, a kickoff event at Q Center will officially unveil two PSAs targeting Portland’s gay, lesbian, bi and trans community to spread the word about the changes to the Census. You can check out one of the two below featuring locals Basic Rights Oregon’s Jeana Frazzini, Q Center’s Kendall Clawson, and Cascade AID’s Project Michael Kaplan and City Hall worker and former Portland Mercury Journalist Amy Ruiz.

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Conversations from the Gayborhood: Kendall Clawson Interview Part II

Q Center located at 4115 N Mississippi Ave. Photo by Ashley Bedford

In last week’s Conversations form the Gayborhood, we chatted with the executive director of the Q Center, Kendall Clawson, about the Winter Gala (which was a huge, glittery success!). This week, we switch gears from the details of the annual party to the details of the daily grind at the Q, as well as Clawson’s experience meeting President Obama.

Show of hands: How many of you have actually been to the Q Center? And walking by it on Mississippi in route to the bar does not count. I’m talking about been inside—checked out books from the library, or attended bingo, cabaret or one of their multiple discussion groups. In the twenty-something generation that I am proud to be a member of, the general reaction seems to be: Wait, what? They have bingo nights?! (Yes, and better yet, it’s drag bingo!)

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Photos and recap from the Winter Gala

Photo by Ashley Bedford

After interviewing Kendall Clawson about the details of the 2nd annual Q Center Winter Gala, I just had to go check out the event myself. My girlfriend and I scrounged our closet and multiple thrifts stores in efforts to find outfits suitable to wear to a black tie affair. It was a daunting task considering my part of the closet consists mostly of converse and tattered t-shirts, but it all worked out nicely in the end and we enjoyed an exceptional night out on the town. Take a peak into the event with our Winter Gala photo gallery. (All photos taken by Ashley Bedford).

Was it all it was cracked up to be? Basically! Everything was gorgeous, and yes, extremely glittery. The 6th floor of the Nines hotel was packed with fabulous looking, borderline-celebrity queers and political figures, all who had jazzy cocktails in hand. The VIP room (which I tried to sneak into but was reminded by my virtuous girlfriend that that wasn’t the best idea) looked abuzz and downright fun.

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Conversations from the Gayborhood

Photo by Ashley Bedford

Kendall Clawson, executive director of the Q center, has been referred to as Gay-prah—aka the gay Oprah—by Portland gossip extraordinaire Byron Beck. After meeting her myself in her cozy corner office at the Q, I am compelled to second that notion….to an extent.

Without a doubt, she radiates an Oprah-esque charisma, resolve and allure. But the conceitedness and ostentation? It just doesn’t exist in Clawson, whose primary concern is the LGBT community, not her own self-interest. The minute I met her, I suspected I would spend the next hour of my time doing two things: laughing and learning. And I wasn’t let down.

My chat with Clawson was so rich with info that I’ve divided the interview into two parts. This week, Clawson talks with me about the Winter Gala (pronounced GAY-la for this occasion), her favorite Portland personalities, and which character she would date from the L word.

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