I decided to go on a bike ride yesterday. I ended up enjoying a slightly overpriced waffle meal and continued down the Greenway to cross the Tillikum Bridge for my first time as a biker. I could see that there were people out dressed for the Pride celebrations all along the way, but I've never been enough of a Pride follower to know their agenda or anything about what events were occurring as part of the festivities. Not knowing what I was about to experience, I approached the Waterfront Park and saw massive amounts of people scattered everywhere and in the distance I saw vendor tents set up. I got to the fountains by the bike rental shop and decided it was finally time to pull out my camera.
Perfect timing. I made my way down the path and found that there was a parade and festival happening and I ironically was right in time to see it all, so I went and took a gander at the parade.
All The divas were out dressed in their best:
There were lots of sponsorship groups
Then there were the animated characters
And even the unexpected supporters
This was only my second experience with a Pride festival. My first experience was also accidental and it happened in 2005 when I lived on Capitol Hill in Denver. I went to go do errands one day and I got out my back door to see a parade of rainbows making it's way down Colfax in Denver. I have no information about the history, organizers, or even the founders of the Pride movement, and I am not very well immersed in the community even though some of my favorite people are so I cannot speak to anything that is not my own specific interpretation of the events that occur during the annual celebration.
That said, after spending the day celebrating Pride one more time now in Downtown Portland, Oregon, I believe this is a shear and true celebration of humanization. It's been very important to me lately to start writing and talking about the daily practice of humanization or really re-humanization within the minds of the common people. I truly believe that part of the angst that thrives in society right now is that we've lost track of how human we are and yesterday was a pure and very tangible expression of how incredible we all are because we are human. Every walk of life was lifting each other up and celebrating each other's flaws and finally reorganizing them to finally not be seen as flaws.
There was not a single "outcast" to be seen. Outcasts only exist when the rest of the group throws them to the wayside and that doesn't happen at Pride. The freak flag flies high while we chisel away at stigma, break away common social barriers, and re-create what we all learned as "normal".
A rebellion lives at Pride, but it's nature isn't evil or violent or hateful, it's nature is eccentric and tangible; almost reminiscent of the punk rock movement minus the angst.
The human soul relentlessly thrives in the depths of human connection. Even in the Punk Rock movement the theme was mostly unity and power to the people. It's undeniable that coexistence is a necessity in this life. The Pride festival blurs the lines between the principals that tirelessly divide our existence and gives us the support we need to stand tall in our uniqueness and embrace this life in a way that our soul desires and not just in a way that society has constructed for us.
We've been on the brink of this barrier for years and it seems as if the entirety of our existence lies in small baby steps of human experience. Each generation has it's barrier to break. From slavery to censorship to free markets to policy to technology and all the way through biodiversity birthed to brand new ecosystems, this is most certainly not a new struggle, but the resonance of progress is continuing to gain strength and reach more and more people across more and more messages and the proof lives in our celebration of life!
HAPPY PRIDE EVERYONE and don't forget to celebrate yourself, do you, stay weird, and PRACTICE ACCEPTANCE!