Say it loud and say it proud, Beaverton Pride is back!  The road has not been an easy one but this year, organizers are pulling out all of the stops according to Beaverton Pride executive director, Kate Kristiansen. With the support of the city and its residents, this year’s celebrations will blow all the previous ones out of the water.

“On June 26 at 11:00 A.M, we’re going to have a parade,” she says, “with the Beaverton Police department making sure we are safe and unharmed. Northwest legend, Poison Waters, is the host on stage.  Sir Cupcake’s queer circus will join us for the fourth year doing arial work, contortions, comedy, dancing, just lovely stuff.  And, of course, a cadre of drag queens will be performing, we’ll have vendors, art, food and services that support our community.”

Big Gay Beaverton Pride Parade Poster

The parade itself will run from the corner of 5th and Hall, across from city park, with Dykes on Bikes leading the way, as tradition dictates.  The parade will progress around older central Beaverton and return to the parking lot that the famers market uses. “We have to keep it kind of short because all the drag queens are in high heels,” Kristiansen says.

The celebrations continue until 4:00 P.M. in the park with vendors, food, art, artisans and entertainment including face painting, balloons and more rainbows than you can shake a stick at.  Absolute Vodka is a sponsor this year and Hip Chicks Do Wine will be pouring.

If you’d like to expand your Pride participation, you can go to the Friday night Pride Celebration, June 24, sponsored by Absolute Vodka at the Hillside Pub in Beaverton on Barrows and Scholls Ferry. On Saturday, the Rainbow Pub in downtown Beaverton will put on pints and fun from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.. “The Pride team will be there,” Kristiansen says, “we’re going to bring all sorts of rainbowy treats to eat.”

Additional Pride events around Beaverton include a visit to the library with a surprise guest to read to kids that took place June 12 that included the mayor and her daughter, the mayor delivering a proclamation about the city support for Pride and, for the first time, the mayor raising the Pride flag over city hall. 

Kristiansen has long been involved in the cultural and political life of the city and it was during one of her two runs for city office that the first Beaverton Pride event was launched in 2018. Called Pride in the Park. Kristiansen recalls they had a few vendors and a small circus performance for an audience of approximately 2,500.  By 2019 the crowd had swelled to 10,000 and Beaverton enjoyed its first Pride parade. 

We all know what happened in 2020.  For their part, Beaverton Pride introduced their now famous unicorn parade float, Eunice, but having a parade was out of the question. So organizers donned masks and took Eunice around making stops at homes and businesses. 

You’d think that would be enough adversity for anyone but, no.  Come June of 2021; enter the heat dome. The temperature was at 115 degrees, Kristiansen recalls. Still thousands of people showed up.  They set up misting tents but it was just too hot for performers and audience alike and the event was forced to close early.

Organizing events is never easy and organizing an event that demands acceptance and asks for the community’s embrace is particularly fraught with challenge. When asked what motivates her, Kate Kristiansen, executive director for Pride Beaverton,  turns to thoughts about the most vulnerable gay people, young people who are still figuring out how to live in the world.

“Beaverton has the highest number of homeless children in our school district in the entire state and that just eats me alive,’ she says, “Probably 75% of them, if not more, are LGBTQIA.” Growing up different from the standard portrayed in a culture has its costs. “These are the kids that are likely to have suicide ideation, to hurt themselves, to restort to coping skills like drinking or drugs,” she says, “We are representing them and representation matters.”

See Kristiansen reading Why We Say Gay here.