Thousands of people turned out for the Pride Portland! 2022 parade and festival on Saturday.

There was a decided party atmosphere – dancing in the street, music, joy, laughter and hugs – as participants celebrated the LGBTQ community at the event, which hadn’t been held since 2019 because of the pandemic.

Before the parade began, people lined Congress Street wearing every possible rainbow fashion: shirts, beads, socks, hats, glasses, earrings, capes, tutus, dresses, pants and facial makeup with rainbow colors. Even dogs were dressed in rainbow tutus and shirts.

Jimmy Lobley of Portland marches as the Portland Pride parade returns for the first time since 2019. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

Pride Portland! spokespeople said about 90 groups registered for Saturday’s parade. So many groups marched that the parade lasted an hour.

The organizations marching included Hannaford, Unum, Harbor Masters of Maine, Gym Dandies Circus, ACLU, the city of Portland, the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Public Library, Planned Parenthood, News Center Maine, MaineTransNet. Numerous groups from churches also marched, including the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland and the Universalist Church of Yarmouth.

A group supporting the Janet Mills for Governor campaign was there with Gov. Mills marching and waving.


The parade host was a drag queen, Chartreuse, who on a stage wore a striking outfit of black and lime green with a flowing cape and a constant smile. As the L.L. Bean group marched by holding “Be an Outsider” signs, Chartreuse made a joke. “Honey, I’ve never been an insider myself.”

Dancers from Hustle & Flow Movement Studio of Portland wore black and gold skirts as they performed a lively dance before Chartreuse’s stage, just before the Portland Public Schools marchers came by, followed by a yellow and black school bus.

A number of gay, queer and transgender groups marched, both the young and old. The parade proceeded down Congress Street to High Street and ended at Deering Oaks, where the festival was due to conclude at 5 p.m.

There was a bit of tension when at Monument Square, a small group of men held Bibles and religious signs, with one speaking into a megaphone encouraging LGBTQ people to repent and “not live in sin.” But it was difficult to hear the man with the megaphone because “Dykes on Bikes” revved up their motorcycles to drown out his voice.

Meanwhile, a crowd gathered around and chanted: “God loves gays! God loves gays!”

Juniper Connelly, 8, marches with a group from the Portland Public Library on Saturday. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

Kate Allerding of Westbrook came with her son, who is transgender.


“I’m here because I am a daughter, a mother, a cousin, a niece” and want to support the LGBTQ community “with all my heart,” Allerding said. She said she’s glad the small group encouraging LGBTQ members to repent were there, because it demonstrated how few people oppose them and how many are accepting.

“There are so many people in the world who aren’t like him,” Allerding said, referring to the man with the megaphone.

Asher Allerding, 12, and his mother wore colors of the rainbow and a shirt that read: “Love is better in color.” The parade is important, Asher said, because being around so many who are supportive makes him “feel loved, and sometimes I struggle feeling loved. So this feels really good.”

This year’s Pride Portland! had more than the usual energy of other years, he said, probably because “we realized how much we missed it.”

Kate Pennington of Newcastle showed up with a group from the Midcoast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Damariscotta. The day is a joyful celebration of pride and accepting people as they are, Pennington said. “There are so many people who have hate in their hearts for people who don’t fit the standard gender norms. I do fit the standard gender norm, and I think it’s my responsibility to be here.”

Ryan Polly of Biddeford, grand marshal of the parade and vice president of diversity for MaineHealth, said “I’m a trans man. It means a lot to see this many people here, to have folks demonstrating their love of each other.” Especially now, he said, “when rights are being challenged everywhere. We need to be out there today.”

Justine Ravenscroft, a marketing volunteer with Pride Portland!, said Saturday’s huge turnout was expected.

In addition to celebrating diversity, the day honors the history of the Stonewall Uprising, when the first gay pride event was held after a 1969 police raid of a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Ravenscroft said. “We want to make sure everybody knows that we’re here.”

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