Love was the treasure at the end of every rainbow during a Sunday spectacle in Portland.
Thousands marched, pranced, danced, jiggled, giggled, swaggered, stomped, sashayed, prayed, hip-hip-hoorayed and — above all — stood tall during the 2018 Portland Pride Parade on Sunday, June 17 in downtown Portland.
"It's a celebration of who we are, no matter what," said hair artist Hristian Georgiev, whose shortly-clipped beard was dyed cascading colors in preparation for the cavalcade. "It's we exist. We're here."
Organizers expected some 60,000 people to line the sides of West Burnside Street, Broadway, Northwest Davis Street and Southwest Naito Parkway during the mid-day march that began promptly at 11 a.m.
With hoops, hollers and horns filling the streets for the pinnacle of LGBTQ Month, many Portlanders slathered on the sunscreen, grabbed anything tie-dye and staked out a spot along the parade route or enjoyed the nearby Pride Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
"It's being a voice for the ones who don't feel safe and secure to be themselves," explained Mac Martinez, a Metro employee who works in the parks and nature division. "As I get more comfortable with myself… I feel stronger."
"The most fun part is being with girls and my mom," chimed in Martinez's daughter, Amelia.
Has she ever attended a pride parade before? "Well, I have now! But I never did last night," the four-year-old replied.
As has become tradition, dozens of corporate entities — including Nike, Intel, Alaska Airlines, Comcast, Autodesk, Daimler, Wells Fargo, Walmart, Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, Key Bank, U.S. Bank and Bishops — were among the 167 registered groups in the parade.
Members of Portland Public Schools, Multnomah County and other government agencies organized contingents for the parade as well, while Portland Police officers passed out rainbow-colored badge-shaped stickers.
That has irked some on the far left, who turned out for the parade even as they criticized the event for prioritizing "rainbow capitalism over queer liberation."
"The first Pride was a riot, and it should still be. Just because we have marriage equality doesn't mean we have equality in general," said Skarrlett Krow, a Forest Grove resident. "I'm basically a queer Jewish trans woman who stands against fascism in any form, including our current regime."
Others, like Shomi D. Goods of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, said it was at least their tenth time returning to the parade. This sister is part of a nonprofit nunnery that promulgates universal joy and expiates stigmatic guilt, "which is the guilt placed on you from outside sources."
"We're an oppressed people, and when you're oppressed you need moments in the spotlight to remind you that you're like everyone else," Goods said.
Then another sister announced it was time for communion, and Goods slipped three condoms, a peppermint candy and her organization's card into a reporter's shirt pocket.
But to be sure, the event is open to everyone and populated by tons of families and community members.
Viola O'Connell travelled from Kansas to attend the Pride Parade with her daughter, Brandi Browning, and her granddaughter Bailey Browning.
"Here, it's open, it's announced, everyone's supportive. I like that," O'Connell said.
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