Creating spaces for Gresham Pride
It is the little moments that showcase the impact of creating spaces for all sorts of people to safely be their true selves.
For Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales, one of those moments came last year during a drag show performance he hosted. A younger resident attended the event sporting a colorful, ladybug skirt they had been too scared to wear in public. But that day they had a beaming smile, and their mother was brought to tears seeing her child be able to express their sense of style.
"We are creating space for people within the LGBTQ community," said Morales, who was the first openly gay councilor in Gresham. "Here in Gresham our kids can walk around in the open and be proud."
The latest of those events was a Pride Happy Hour Celebration Tuesday evening, June 14, hosted at Sweet Betty's, 543 N.W. 12th St. There were drinks and appetizers; colorful, rainbow decorations; a comedy set; and plenty of laughter from the nearly 100 people who attended.
"As a business owner in East County it's important to be verbal about being an ally," said Faith Camp, owner of Sweet Betty's. "It is rewarding to have people come in and feel included — making that bit of difference to be inclusive."
"I would love more businesses to openly make similar stances," she added.
The gathering, sponsored by Morales Public Relations LLC and East County Pride, is just one of many Pride events that are filling the calendar in Gresham.
On Saturday Equinox Tattoo, in downtown Gresham, will host a Pride event filled with queer performers, drag, trivia and more. Then next Tuesday, Jan. 21, Gresham City Council will read a proclamation and officially recognize Pride Month, which is a month long celebration throughout June to affirm and increase visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That is the first time the city of Gresham has made such an affirmation.
"Our community is changing — we have been collectively pushing for inclusivity, diversity, equality — creating a safe place for anyone to express themselves," Morales said. "Everyone is welcome in Gresham."
The councilor would like the city to take further steps. He suggested bringing on a third-party organization to conduct an equity index to see where the city can improve, and wants to fly a Pride flag above City Hall.
During the Tuesday gathering Sweet Betty's and the community attendees presented Morales with an award acknowledging his efforts on council in creating a more inclusive community.
"(Eddy) spends the majority of his time trying to make this a better place," Camp said.
To stay up-to-date on other Pride events happening this month and throughout the year, follow Gresham Pride on Facebook or visit greshampride.org
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