Salem’s Capitol Pride has announced that its annual GLBT festival will be held this year on Sunday August 5, at the corner of Summer and Marion Streets NE (Saturday Market Square.) Hours are 10 am – 5 pm.
Christened “Live! Love! Celebrate!” the organizers “welcome all who are tolerant of others and wish to join in the celebration of our diversities and commonalities.” There will be entertainment, information booths, and food & merchandise vendors.
The event is designed to celebrate the vision of the group: “We believe in the worth and dignity of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, gender, religion, economic or social status, age or physical ability.”
The journey for gays, lesbian bisexual and transgender people has been difficult and often brutal. The group has suffered centuries of discrimination. To this day laws affecting GLBT people vary greatly around the world. Some areas, such as Washington State, whose governor in February signed into law a measure allowing same-gender marriage, show tolerance and humanity. In areas like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sub-Saharan Africa, the death penalty is the “punishment” for same-sex identity (or even the suspicion of it.)
“Yesterday’s struggle is today’s heritage,” is the motto of New York ‘s Heritage of Pride, referring to the resistance of gays to discrimination starting with the Stonewall Riots of 1969. In the years since Stonewall, many advances have been secured through persistent and courageous effort.
Even in advanced industrialized nations, the continued occurrence of hostility towards, and even murder of, GLBT people, and the resistance of many to the repeal of measures like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, tell advocates of equality that there is still far to go.
The folks behind Salem’s Oregon Gay Pride highlight the connection with history further. “A community that has traditionally been rendered invisible is in full view on at least this one day; individuals who have historically been forced into isolation gather together in solidarity. In this regard, LGBT people are much like any other minority group seeking to make claims on the dominant culture, a slot on the agenda of the larger society.”
Some of the sponsors of Live! Love! Celebrate! are: Capitol Subaru, Bud Light, Monster, Southside Speakeasy, and Capitol Forum. Some of the entertainers will be: Kiss Kill, Johanna Beekman, Kate Sullivan, RADD, and the Zephyr Belly Dancers.