by Jon Dickman | Contributing Writer
Concordia is hosting its first ever gay pride event; a celebration on July 15 from 3-9 at Bonne Chance Wine Bar. Javier Puga-Phillips, former social chair of the CNA board, feels proud that Concordia is having its own gay pride celebration and encourages everyone to attend. He and CNA Treasurer Heather Pashley organized the event and when planning, wanted to make sure they were supporting local businesses that were welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.
Puga-Phillips moved to Concordia from West Hollywood and points out that unlike other large progressive cities in the United States, Portland does not have its own gay neighborhood, which he feels is important for residents to feel affiliated. For him, Concordia having its own gay pride event is “a way to bring light into our community and bring a sense of belonging to the gay people here.”
Three themed parades and a waterfront festival are also set to take place the same weekend at Waterfront Park. Many businesses, religious groups, cultural groups, sports teams, and LGTBQ+ organizations will gather at the festival to celebrate and show support for the community. Pride Northwest, Inc., a local non-profit aimed at celebrating the diversity of the gay community, has sponsored the parade since 1994. According to the sponsor’s website, the parade draws tens of thousands of people to downtown Portland and has a reputation for being “one of the largest small town pride parades west of the Mississippi.” The main parade begins on Sunday, July 16 at the North park blocks, and goes from 11-3.
Historically, gay pride parades began in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall riots. In response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn; a gay hangout in Greenwich Village, in 1969, the gay community led protests in the streets of New York for 6 days. The first Gay Pride Liberation March took place in Manhattan one year later and is often cited as the first gay pride parade and the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. In 1999, former president Bill Clinton made June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”.
Federally, June is still recognized as LGBTQ pride month, but this year, Portland’s festivities are in July. Pride Northwest says the reasons for this change include Waterfront Park’s limited availability in June and other significant cultural events such as Juneteenth and Delta Park Pow Wow. More information about gay pride events and Portland Pride Northwest can be found at PortlandPride.org.
Jon Dickman, 71, has lived for 26 years in the Concordia Neighborhood with his husband Bob Wilson, who grew up in the home they live in. They have participated in five Portland pride parades together.