TransActive Gender Project brings Lewis & Clark presence back to Pride Northwest Festival and Parade
June 04, 2019
A weekend of education, affirmation, inclusion, and Pride
On Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, the TransActive Gender Project at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling will be hosting a booth at Tom McCall Waterfront Park as part of the Pride Northwest Festival. They will be sharing information and resources about education, affirmation, and inclusion for gender expansive and transgender/queer spectrum children, youth, young adults, and their families. Festival attendance is expected to reach 30,000-35,000 on Saturday and 45,000+ on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, TransActive will have a decorated truck and trailer ‘float’ in the Parade, featuring their theme for this year - “Find The Magic In You!”. They will be joined by many of the children, youth, and families who they serve in the community as well as Lewis & Clark faculty, staff, and students.
“The best part of the day is seeing (and feeling) the love that emanates from the crowds toward the children, teens, and families who march with us, and seeing the joy and tears of happiness that our marchers experience,” says Jenn Burleton, TransActive’s program director. “Many of those who participate have no idea how much support there is out there for them, and this event is inspiring in countless ways.”
Burleton, who founded TransActive in 2007, spends much of the Pride Northwest Festival weekend engaging 1-on-1 with the parents, grandparents, children, and teens who visit TransActive’s booth seeking support and guidance.
“Sometimes they need a hug, or just to talk to someone,” she says. “Being present to meet their needs is both an honor and a gift.”
Marching for a more inclusive future
Burleton knows that the visibility and unconditional affirmation that come from participating in the festival and parade are especially important in the current political climate.
“There are forces in our nation at this time that are putting great effort into convincing our fellow citizens that hate and intolerance are majority American values,” she says. “They want parents, educators, legislators and neighbors to believe that gender diversity in children, youth and adults should be discouraged, condemned and rendered invisible by any means necessary.
Lewis & Clark providing a home for TransActive Gender Project and being a visible part of this most public of displays of solidarity is a game changer.”
Better together: TransActive and Lewis & Clark
TransActive joined the Lewis & Clark Graduate School in January 2019, in an effort to increase their capacity to serve the gender expansive and transgender/queer community throughout the greater Portland area. This is the first year that they will be attending the Pride Northwest Festival and Parade as part of Lewis & Clark College.
Burleton and TransActive believe this expanded engagement with some of the most marginalized and underserved children, youth, and families in the Portland area and surrounding counties further demonstrates Lewis & Clark’s commitment to social justice and to a brighter, more inclusive future in community life and higher learning for gender diverse and transgender kids.
The TransActive Gender Project at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling plans to continue being part of the growing number of Pride-related events that occur in the Portland-metro area.
“We strongly believe in the Lewis & Clark mission to transform lives, sustain communities, and help lead the way to a more just society” concludes Burleton.
Any and all Lewis & Clark staff, students, faculty, and friends are invited to march with TransActive in the Pride parade on June 16. To participate, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your interest in being part of the parade contingent. Your name will be added to TransActive’s parade roster, and the logistical details for Sunday, June 16th, will be sent via email.