PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Pride Northwest announced that Portland’s drag community will serve as the 2023 Pride Parade grand marshal — saying the decision will help increase LGBTQ+ visibility and honor the community’s impact in the city.
In Pride Northwest’s announcement, the organization emphasized the importance of LGBTQ+ history and highlighted leaders such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and helped shelter young transgender individuals who weren’t accepted by their families.
“It makes total sense for us,” Pride Northwest Executive Director Debra Porta said of the decision to have the drag community marshal the parade. “Drag is an integral part of our community and the history of our community. And drag performers, drag artists have been at the forefront of advocating for our rights, caring for people during the AIDS crisis and beyond, serving out houseless folks, it’s just a no-brainer for us.”
Pride Northwest has invited a diverse group of over 20 performers to marshal the July 16 parade, Porta said.
“It’s our visibility that takes us forward. The folks who don’t approve of our right to exist do everything they can to make us invisible, to make us less seen, to make us go into hiding and we can’t do that. So, it’s really important for us to be visible, to lift up the people in our community who represent us, who bring us joy and who honor who we are as people,” Porta said.
With Portland’s Pride Parade taking place in July, as opposed to during Pride Month in June, Porta said the decision will help other communities support each other’s events including Memorial Day, Juneteenth and the Delta Park Pow Wow celebrations. Porta says the decision will also allow for more accessibility and mobility accommodations on Portland’s waterfront.