For Pride Northwest, one of the most satisfying and inspiring things about the work that we do, is being able to see the very real and very concrete impact that Pride has on the environments in which LGBTQIAA2S+ people work and live. Sometimes, in the fairly accepting city of Portland, we forget that many in our community still struggle to be out and supported in their workplaces. Although Trimet has a fairly long history of inclusion, their participation in Pride has allowed the organization and its queer employees to actively celebrate that inclusive culture and to very publicly declare where the organization sits, when it comes to the LGBTQIAA2S+ community.
As the month of June gets closer on the 2018 calendar so does Portland Pride, the “Gay Holidays” as I like to refer to them! The list of professional organizations participating in Portland’s Pride events is growing every year; Nike, Adidas, Intel, Alaska Airlines, Starbucks, Wells Fargo, SMYRC, Outside In, PFLAG, Q Center, MCC and the sponsor list goes on. I am particularly proud to write that this will be TriMet’s third year of actively being part of the Portland Pride events. Thank you TriMet and welcome to the celebration! Portland Pride is a time when our communities Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex come together at the intersection of diversity to celebrate who we are as individuals in our entirety.
While TriMet has been serving the greater Portland Metropolitan Area since the early 1970s we are a relatively new arrival to the Portland Pride Festival. TriMet is a natural fit to the growing list of corporate, government and non-profit organizations celebrating the history, accomplishments and individuals of our diverse LGBTQI community here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. I say a natural addition because I cannot think of another organization that commits, actively promotes, facilitates and embraces diversity on the scale that TriMet does every single day. Everyone is welcome to board and what we offer is the opportunity to ride our Max Light Rail, Buses, Streetcar, WES and Lift Services. In addition, our employees make a strong commitment to safety. We transport the citizens of our community in shared space, through all the city neighborhoods; this brings us together as a community. Everybody rides. Everybody matters. The Citizens of Portland should (as are we) be proud of TriMet’s diverse employees because TriMet has a workforce that represents the community for which it serves. Embracing our differences is an unbreakable building block to continue expanding a successful Transportation System and long lasting relationships with the citizens throughout our vibrant city.
All of us at TriMet consider it a great honor and privilege to participate in the annual Portland Pride celebrations. For Pride 2017 we had a wonderfully colorful group of 150 volunteers; Light Rail, Bus and Streetcar Operators, Training Supervisors, Maintenance and staff from the Administrative, Finance, IT, Media and Public Affairs, Safety and Transportation Departments. Together the volunteers marched in front of and alongside a new TriMet signature bus displaying a marquee that proudly voiced the universal message in the LGBTQI community of “Love Conquers Hate!” and we will always strive to live by that important value.
Overwhelmed by the (very) loud cheers of support from thousands of parade watchers, you could hear “Thank you TriMet!”… “We love you TriMet!” So many colorfully costumed spectators stood and enthusiastically offered applause, waves and smiles of support; some even ran over to hug our volunteers.
TriMet is looking forward to another fun celebration in 2018. We are committed to supporting the LGBTQI community for many years to come! Happy Pride to Everyone!
Written by: Andrew Brainard – Bus Operator & William Johnson – Training Supervisor