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Palouse Pride Festival aims to keep LGBTQ community visible

Patrons+celebrate+in+colorful+attire+at+the+Palouse+Pride+Festival+in+2016.
Patrons celebrate in colorful attire at the Palouse Pride Festival in 2016.

Patrons celebrate in colorful attire at the Palouse Pride Festival in 2016.

Courtesy of Tina Trana

Courtesy of Tina Trana

Patrons celebrate in colorful attire at the Palouse Pride Festival in 2016.

BRANDON PARKINSON, Evergreen reporter

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The Palouse Pride Festival made its debut 23 years ago, and this year is coming back just in time for students to participate.

Aquasha DeLusty, platinum sponsor for Inland Oasis and festival host, on top of being a drag queen, explained the importance of the festival and what it means to them.

“[It’s] staying visible and showing that there is support,” DeLusty said. “This is the first year we’re hosting Pride where students are in town, so we’re hoping for a larger outcome.”

Located in Moscow, Inland Oasis is a volunteer-based organization serving the needs of the LGBTQ communities of the Palouse.

“[Pride] is a way to self-express yourself respectfully, know your truth,” DeLusty said. “It’s to show people in the community that if you’re about to come out, or if you’re questioning, there’s a group of people that will support you.”

The weekend has activities ranging from bingo to brunch, DeLusty said.

Alejandra Martinez, co-chair for Queer People of Color and Allies, believes there is a valid counterargument to remind ourselves where the roots of Pride came from.

The first pride rally began in New York with the Stonewall riots, led by transwomen of color and progressive activist icons, namely Marsha P. Johnson, a gay African American man and drag queen, who later came out as a transwoman.

Stonewall was a rally against police brutality that targeted the LGBTQ community. In 2015, a movie titled “Stonewall” was released, but received criticism over erasure of the leaders in the revolution, according to movie critics like The Guardian.

Instead of the leaders of color, the movie instead casted a gay Caucasian male as the lead, which tends to be stereotypical of Hollywood films, according to an article in The New York Times.

The same criticisms facing the movie also face this weekend’s festival. Martinez said she doesn’t think the festival brings to light the underlying truths of pride and its origin.

“What are they celebrating? Black transwomen are still being murdered,” Martinez said. “In queer spaces on campus, queer people of color don’t feel safe, so they go to their cultural centers instead, and to me that’s sad.”

Martinez said people should acknowledge that there is a complex story within the queer community.

“We could create Pride to be this thing where we could support and uplift marginalized people within the LGBTQ community,” Martinez said. “That would be something to be proud of.”

Drag Bingo is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Best Western University Inn in Moscow. There will be a peaceful pride march 11:30 a.m. Saturday at 4th and Jefferson Streets behind Safari Pearl in Moscow.

After the march, the festival will continue in the afternoon at East City Park at 3rd and Hayes Streets. There will be music, live dancing, performances, and local vendors throughout the day. Sunday morning will conclude the weekend with a brunch at the Maialina Pizzeria.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Marsha P. Johnson identified as a transwoman.

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Palouse Pride Festival aims to keep LGBTQ community visible