Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pride Parade and Protesting

Flags in rainbow colors
I went to the Pride parade over the weekend with Amber. It was my second time going, and her first.

We arrived a little after the parade had started, and I'm going to blame that on the parking situation. Parking is difficult to find at the best of times in downtown Portland, but when lots of people turn out for something like Pride...good luck. You'll need it.

There were lots of rainbows and smiles and awesomeness, and everyone was getting into the mood in their own way. Most of us by being happy to be there, but that wasn't the case with everyone.

It was just our luck that Amber and I chose a place to stand less than a block away from a few protesters, who had brought signs and and a loud voice.

Rainbows and protest signs

There were had a couple different signs, one proclaiming YOU STILL NEED JESUS, and the other listed various sins on one side while explaining that the blood of Jesus will wash away our sins on the other. And after listening to a protester's voice for a while (I mostly had a hard time making out words, not that I was trying) I couldn't help but think that his voice was going to give out before the end of the parade.

Oddly enough though, the presence of protesters didn't seem to dim the gay mood. I don't know about the people closer to them, but those around me were so happy to be there that no one seemed to care about our uninvited guests. We mostly ignored them, in fact. It felt to me like yeah, they're here, and they hate us, but there are so many of us that it doesn't matter what they thinks. I still wish they hadn't been there, and even that there were no reason for Pride marches (someday...), but it was so good to realize that their presence didn't seem to matter.

Perhaps best of all was when a semi drove past him as part of the parade. Turns out it's difficult to be heard over a truck horn.

Protester vs. Semi -- Protestor: 0 Semi: 1

Eventually I noticed that the protesters had left when I wasn't paying attention. It was surprising to realize that I had eventually paid so little attention to them that I failed to notice their absence initially.

For me at least, it didn't seem like the presence of protesters dimmed the mood. I hope that most everyone else there had the same feelings I did, that their protest in our midst didn't really matter to what were had come together for. And I couldn't blame Amber for her initial response to them, stunned disbelief that they'd show up to tell us we're going to hell. I wasn't as shocked as she was, but I was also surprised.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

It's been my experience over the years that Pride participants absolutely LOVE protesters! They make GREAT photo ops. LGBT people of all descriptions actually go and pose in front of them to get their pictures taken. The best way to make them feel uncomfortable is to include them as a valued part of the parade.

Sarita Rucker said...

I've seen the photos, they can be absolutely brilliant. :) I guess I just didn't expect protesters here in Portland, but like anywhere else we've got haters I suppose.