Former mayoral candidate and Occupy activist Cameron Whitten ended his 55-day hunger strike for housing rights on July 25 with a ceremonial bite from a custom-made vegan Voodoo Donuts pastry. Whitten said that while his demands were not met, the strike achieved a number of victories, from mobilizing activists and raising awareness, to Mayor Sam Adams’ announcement of a Regional Housing Summit, to be held on a date to be determined this fall. Keep up with Whitten’s latest actions at cameronwhitten.com.
Red Cap Garage will celebrate its final day of business Aug. 18. The Stark Street gay bar confirmed reports of its pending closure on July 31 via Facebook. According to sources familiar with the sale, Aura nightclub is also expected to close, while other properties held by Red Cap’s ownership are expected to remain open. Red Cap said that Boxxes, Fish Grotto, and the Fez will remain open and undergo renovations. Read more about the sale of Red Cap, reactions from the community, on PQ’s blog.
Pride Northwest, the organization that puts on the Portland Pride Festival and Parade, has launched an online fundraising campaign to support the annual celebration as well as ongoing community safety efforts. Pride NW said the goal for the “$5 Online Donation Drive,” which seeks to be accessible to those impacted by the tough economic times, is to raise $5,000 by Sept. 15. If you passed on the optional gate donation at Pride this year, now might be the time to pony up. Visit pridenw.org for details on how to donate.
Looking for a more active way to give back to the community? Consider volunteering for Dream Zone, the first and only support group for LGBTQIPA youth in East Portland. (No, Portland doesn’t end at 82nd Avenue.) The Youth Planning Program grant that sustained the group recently ran out, leaving Dream Zone in desperate need of both youth and adult volunteer staff. Holler at Dream Zone President Edgar Cedeno (email@example.com) if you can help out, and find Dream Zone on Facebook, Twitter, and online at dreamzonepdx.webs.com.
One active local youth nabbed the 2012 Portland Latino Gay Pride Scholarship. Oregon State University student and Beaverton High School graduate Fermín Martínez received the inaugural $1,000 award, presented in partnership with Equity Foundation. Martínez was a leader in his high school Gay-Straight Alliance and organized a school-wide observance of National Day of Silence in which more than 300 students participated. Learn more about Martínez at latinogaypridepdx.com.
In other happy news, Portland couple Cory Murphy and Matthew Helmkamp won the Historic Old Church’s “Start Your Dreams Where Time Stands Still” wedding giveaway, entitling them to a ceremony and reception valued at $1,500. The couple met while attending Heald College; Murphy is now on staff with Pride NW and Helmkamp is studying library science at Portland Community College. The Aug. 25 ceremony will be co-officiated by Mayor Sam Adams and Reverend Nathan Meckleyof Metropolitan Community Church.
The Democratic Party is poised to add support for marriage equality and a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to its platform. The language was unanimously approved by the Platform Committee and awaits ratification at September’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryanas his running mate Aug. 11. Ryan supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and opposes gay adoption and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
LGBTQ folks in Uganda and Vietnam recently held their first-ever public Pride celebrations. While state of LGBTQ rights is evolving in Vietnam, Ugandans still face a real risk of violence and arrest.
Madonna gave the finger to Russia’s ban on LGBTQ speech in a recent St. Petersburg concert. The pop star gave a speech on LGBTQ rights, showed video of same-sex couples kissing, and passed out pink wristbands during the sold out show.