By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,330)
Seventy-seven (77) organizations marched in the annual Gay Pride Parade hosted for the second year by Pride Portland. All manner of groups marched from Monument Square to Dearing Oaks Park under sunny skies and a gentle breeze that brought out huge crowds along the parade route. One of the pioneers of the gay movement in Portland is Frannie Peabody. Her eldest grandson died of AIDS in 1984 and so in his memory she worked diligently to be certain that his death was not in vain. Peabody, who died in 2001, established a hospice for those ill with AIDS because they weren’t welcome in local hospitals. The Peabody House was located on Danforth Street said Megan Hannan, executive director, of the Peabody Center. The Center provides preventive services for at-risk groups and direct services for those ill with AIDS.
Following the Parade, a Festival occurred at Deering Oaks Park until mid-afternoon. Sixty (60) vendors participated in it – with some of them already participating in the Parade according to Chris O’Connor, a co-chair of Pride Portland and development director for EqualityMaine; a state-wide organization. Among the performances on the stage was VividMotion – a very enjoyable Portland dance group. The non-profit will be performing at St. Lawrence Arts next month. For more information, please visit vividmotion.org
Jill Barclay, the other co-chair of Pride Portland said she is from the west where she attended a Christian school: “I lived in a world I could not see. Until everyone feels equal, we have to commit to do this work.”