This past weekend, hundreds of people gathered at Hood River Waterfront Park for the 2018 Pride Day celebration organized by the Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance (CGPA).
“The Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance Pride event on June 30 provided a place for community building, a place where people could identify local resources that welcomed LGTBQ+ people, a space for families and an inclusive safe space for people to be themselves,” said Megan Winn and the CGPA board.
Every year since 1969, when the Stonewall riots in Manhattan occurred, the month of June has been celebrated as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month.
The month not only honors the LGBTQ+ community members and their efforts during the early stages of this fight for equality, but it’s also a time for the LGBTQ+ community of today to continue the fight for peace amongst one another in this world.
Along with recognizing the ongoing push for equality by the LGBTQ+ community, it’s also a month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community and everyone else involved with trying to change the narrative of equality.
And at the Waterfront Park on June 30 in Hood River, the LGBTQ+ community and many other people from around the Gorge gathered for what was nothing short of a celebration on the last day of the month.
“We were very pleased with the event turnout,” said Winn and the board. “After last year’s first CGPA Parade, we decided to make some changes this year and create a fundraiser to support next year’s parade and other community activities. We wanted to focus on providing resources, representing all members of the LGBTQ+ community, providing community wellness and education. We feel that all of the day’s events hit these marks.”
The event kicked off with a Rainbow Fun Run/Walk, which was organized by the Gorge Roller Girls, that took people around to the Hook and back to the Waterfront Park and Event Site.
Those who didn’t participate in the run/walk at the beginning of the day experienced the community resource fair and festival that was put on by a handful of different organizations and partners; a total of 24 local businesses, churches, non-profits, medical groups and LGBTQ+ groups from Portland participated in the fair.
Along with the Rainbow Fun Run/Walk event, activities such as yoga, Zumba and Silent Disco all followed in the afternoon of the event. Rayna Shard led the yoga session and Veronica Espa led Zumba.
Following the various activities at the festival, the CGPA group brought in guest of honor Gisella Contreras, who graduated from Hood River Valley High School in 2001 and was voted Miss Trans Oregon in 2016, to speak to the crowd about discussions that surround the LGBTQ+ community.
“Paul Blackburn, the mayor of Hood River, escorted Contreras into the festival,” said Winn. “Contreras thanked the CGPA and the very supportive crowd for inviting her to share her experiences growing up in Hood River, including the struggles and support she received. She encouraged the youth in attendance to be who they are and be proud.”
As the event came to an end, the CGPA board estimated a total of 400-500 in attendance. “There were youth through seniors, individuals and families. It was truly amazing to see how many parents showed up to support their children,” said Winn and the board.
“We, as an organization, strive to create inclusive spaces for all families to be together,” she said. “The fight for equality looks different for every person who is part of the LGTBQ+ community. As with any group of people, there will always be people who have fewer barriers than others and transgender people are a particular group that is disproportionately affected by discrimination.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, since 2013, a total of 102 transgender people were victims of hate crimes and 82 of those victims killed were trans women of color.
“When we are standing up for equity in the LGTBQ+ community, we are also trying to stand with other folks whose identities are not valued like immigrants and people of color,” said Winn and the board. “Although generally, there is a feeling of more acceptance for LGTBQ+ people in our community, there is the potential for laws to be overturned and people to lose very basic civil rights, such as housing, job protection, medical care and marriage. These are problems that no one should have to worry about.”
The CGPA would especially like to thank Ethan Masters of Wildflower Kitchen and Events, and Rayna Dhara for all of their support with event coordination for the weekend’s events.
If you would like to get more involved with the CGPA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.