Portland LGBTQ community mourns mass shooting ahead of Pride Wee - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland LGBTQ community mourns mass shooting ahead of Pride Week

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As America mourns the worst mass shooting in history, Portland’s LGBTQ community is holding one another tighter and looking at Pride Week with a new eye.

“It’s a reminder that we have to remain vigilant, that we have to not become complacent about our own progress,” Pride Northwest spokeswoman Debra Porta said Sunday. “I’m in shock, you know, because as LGBTQ people, this sort of sits in the back of our mind most of the time that something could always happen.” 

Sunday marked the beginning of Portland’s Pride Week. The popular Pride Parade and Festival will be on Saturday.

As dozens were dying in Orlando’s pulse nightclub early Sunday morning, Will Peterson was serving up drinks in Stag PDX, a popular Portland gay bar. 

“It really hits home,” Peterson said. “It was really busy last night. We had a lot of customers. It was a really great time -- everybody was having a lot of fun, so it just kind of puts it in perspective.”

Although Portland has a rich history for embracing its gay community, Porta believes targeted violence could happen anywhere. 

“I can’t say I’m surprised last night happened because the level of anger and the level of other-ing in this country is just huge,” Porta said. 

For many in the gay community, it’s a sobering reminder that more recent American LGBTQ victories — like universal gay marriage -- does not mean the end of discrimination or even violence. It’s a message that will be central to
this year’s Portland Pride Week. 

“Hopefully we as a community will bring back the origins of Pride,” said Joshua May of Portland. "I think it’s gotten away from that, and gotten this kind of superficial totem with the gay community.”

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