As the temperature soared into triple digits last weekend, more than 100 people joined a colorful, musical march through Twisp Sunday as part of the Methow Valley Pride Festival.
This is the fourth time Methow Valley organizers have staged the event, previously held in Mazama and Winthrop in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
“This was so inspiring to come together in our community where we get to remind each other that it’s OK to be who we are. We can be who we are every day and dress how we want every day,” said Colbey Breed, one of the event’s organizers.
The event started with a gathering for sign-making and face-painting Sunday morning at Twisp Park. By 11 a.m., the group began its march down Glover Street to TwispWorks, where they gathered at the pavilion. The colorful parade included a float, bicycles, roller-skaters and marchers carrying flags, signs and a rainbow parachute, among others. A number of people gathered along the parade route in support.
“We just want to have fun today,” Breed said.
As the marchers gathered and celebrated in the TwispWorks pavilion — many taking the chance to cool off in the splash pad — Breed gave a few opening remarks for the event.
“We do live in the beautiful Methow Valley and it’s not because of where it is, it’s because of who it is,” he said. “I am so proud to be here, I grew up here, I’m gay here and I am proud here.”
Beginning of movement
Next, Reba Baudino spoke about her experiences participating in pride marches since 1977, and spoke about the beginning of the pride movement.
“I’m starting this speech with kind of a play on words, because the first gay pride was a riot,” she said.
The Stonewall riot, that is. Baudino gave attendees a brief history of the uprising that sparked the gay pride movement in New York City and the rest of the country in 1969.
“In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City was raided. This was not unusual. Gay bars which were one of the few places that LGBT people could meet and socialize with each other were constantly raided by the police in New York City and other cities around the country,” she said.
But the raid was a turning point, she said.
“Something different happened in those early hours. The LGBT people that were being arrested at Stonewall rioted,” she said. “They said enough, and fought back. The riots continued for four days and gay pride was born.”
The next year, in 1970, the first gay pride marches were held in New York and in many major cities around the country. Since then, the last week in June has been a time to commemorate the riots and the start of the gay pride movement with marches and other events.
“We’ve come a long way but not far enough,” Baudino said. “We need to keep working, not only for LGBT equality and rights but also for the rights and equality of other oppressed people. In order for any of us to be free and equal, we all must be free and equal.”