19 June 2011

I love a para-a-a-ade!

I got a prime spot to watch Portland's Gay Pride Parade today -- at the intersection of NW Naito and Davis, where the parade route turned the corner. I was able to see each contingent approaching down Davis and then rounding the corner right in front of me. The parade was huge, as was the watching crowd that lined the streets. Energy and enthusiasm were high, even though my vantage point was well over half-way through the parade route and marchers must have been walking for an hour or so.

A group of soldiers appeared early on, with an anti-DADT banner. At least one seemed to be wearing a hood to conceal identity -- a sad necessity perhaps.

Another participant was our Congressman, Earl Blumenauer:

(Click pictures for bigger versions.)

My impression is that the majority of the watching crowd (who were highly supportive, waving and clapping with enthusiasm) weren't gay; there were plenty of male-female couples and swarms of children. No one showed any sign of discomfort at their kids watching the event or interacting with the marchers. The "gay = anti-family" meme clearly had no resonance.

Even dogs got into the spirit of the thing:

There were a lot of churches represented, with banners bearing "welcome all" messages -- so much for the recent timorousness of "Sojourners". Many major companies, local or with local branches, had contingents too. Wells Fargo had a stagecoach drawn by real horses (I'm not sure whether the horses were gay). The group that got the most applause, though, was Planned Parenthood.

The view down Davis Street was a sea of people:

And what's a parade without costumes?

I wasn't aware that SlutWalks had spread to Portland -- perhaps this was their local debut:

Not sure what the "Prepare for combat" thing was about. Maybe in case Fred Phelps showed up?

There was also the martially-impressive "Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers", of whom I unfortunately don't have a photo, though I got them on video.

In a sign of how far things have come since Stonewall, there was plenty of police participation, including the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department:

The police also provided abundant security -- I saw them shoo away a couple of cars that had somehow gotten onto the blocked- off streets, but no actual hostility or negativity from anyone.

A familiar-looking person standing just six feet from me turned out to be fellow Portland blogger Murr Brewster. I can hardly wait for her parade post, if she writes one.


Blogger okjimm said...

I have a thing for HS Marching Bands playing poorly in Parades...Dude if you really really like parades...check out the Summer Solstice one in the Fremont,Seattle.

//not sure whether the horses were gay//
...you could ask, but most just say,"neigh"

20 June, 2011 06:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Most of the bands were actually good -- the LRSD seemed almost military.

...you could ask, but most just say,"neigh"

Hah! Well, I always wondered about Mr. Ed.....

20 June, 2011 06:34  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Wow. What a parade. I can just see something like that happening here in Nashville. Not.

20 June, 2011 06:54  
Blogger Ahab said...

I love summer, when the LGBT pride events are in full swing.

20 June, 2011 06:57  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

This is just one of the things that I love about Portland and Oregon in general. Now if we were just allowed to pump our own gas this place would be Nirvana.

20 June, 2011 10:20  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

That looked like fun! It's wonderful to see Americans accept our gay brothers and sisters [finally].

We have a gay pride parade here in Boston as well--they're all over the country.

20 June, 2011 18:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: It will come.

Ahab: This was the first one of these parades I've been to, but it certainly won't be the last.

RtS: It's one of the best places in the country to live, that's for sure. (After living here 15 years, I'm not sure I'd still remember how to pump my own gas.)

SK: It was an exuberant, cheerful event. As for acceptance, at least here, it's like the St. Patrick's Day parade or anything else -- just another colorful local sub-culture. If anything, it's now the anti-gay bigots who are seen as weird creeps that nobody wants to hang out with. And I'm not surprised if Boston is the same way.

20 June, 2011 18:58  
Blogger dotlizard said...

FYI, Mr. Ed was a girl. They couldn't have horse dangly bits on a family teevee show, so they used girl horses. My s/o had one of the former Mr. Eds (there were several) later in her life, after her gender-bending acting career was over.

22 June, 2011 21:01  
Blogger Murr Brewster said...

We sure picked a good corner, didn't we? No parade post per se, but some photos to go with my (what is this, the fifth or sixth?) gay-marriage rant. Anyway, I salute you.

23 June, 2011 00:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

GL: An equine gender-bender in the age of "wholesome" black-and-white TV -- I love it!

Everybody check out Murr's post -- it's got gay Mennonites (is that allowed?) and an actuarial asteroid.

23 June, 2011 04:54  

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