Portland Pride 2017-We ARE the Change!

Pride Northwest Announces the Theme for the
2017 Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade

Pride Northwest is proud to announce our 2017 Portland Pride theme:

“We ARE the Change!”

In early winter, Pride Northwest asked our community for suggestions as to what the theme should be for this year. We received dozens of responses and some amazing stories of why a particular idea resonated for someone. In addition to how important Pride is to our people, it is abundantly clear that the LGBTQ community still retains the proud and fighting spirit that has brought us to where we are today. More importantly, we have no intention of going back!

In a time of what feels like a renewed attack on our community and our right to exist in full equality, it is easy to lose sight of how far we have come, and how much has changed for our community. *We say feels like because our black and brown LGBTQ members, our trans family members, and our other-abled community members, to name a few, have never stopped feeling or being under attack. It is easy to think about how things “haven’t changed” and the potential of loss and return to hiding.

But…that will never happen-not because it’s written in the stars or inevitable, but because we have already BEEN that change. We ARE the Change now, and we will continue to be that change in the future. There will be no returning to the days of hiding and invisibility, because we won’t let that happen. The LGBTQ community has the passion, the talent, the vision, and the power to not only hold onto the progress we have made, but to achieve even more.

Pride is and has always been, whether called a march or a parade, a visible representation of our numbers-an act of coming out of hiding and celebrating who we are, simply BECAUSE we are. As originally described, the “rooted ideology behind the parades is a critique of space which has been produced to seem heteronormative and ‘straight’, and therefore any act appearing to be homosexual is considered dissident by society. The Parade brings this homosexual behaviour into that space.” Pride is about claiming our rightful and equal place in the public sphere.

Finally, in thinking about the theme and the purpose that the Pride parade and festival serve now, we thought about who might come to Pride. Young people like the 14 year old girl who came to the festival a couple of years ago. She came into the Waterfront festival in tears, and happened to walk by the Senior Community tent. Our host partners SAGE, took her in, let her sit for a bit and be with them for a while. Come to find out, she had come out to her parents that morning and was promptly disowned and thrown out of her home.  In the moment of losing her only security and sense of belonging, the one place she could think of where she might be safe and not discarded…was Pride. She would never have felt secure enough to come to a protest, or even an angry march. What the most vulnerable among our people need from us, in finding their sense of security and belonging, is just as important to us as the need to make a statement. Our ability to impact change by holding a significant Pride celebration in all its glitter and glory, goes far beyond two days in June and whether we have floats or not.

Pride is the tangible and VERY visible representation of our progress and power. Whether we call it a march or a parade, when Portland’s downtown streets fill with tens of thousands of people claiming their space and celebrating who they are-who WE are-make no mistake, that is power and that is change. We ARE the Change!

The 2017 Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade will be held June 17 and 18. The Portland Pride Parade steps off at 11:00 am on June 18, 2017.