Winter PrideFest in Central Oregon was a raucous time filled with dance parties, drag brunches and more. As winter (kind of) gives way to summer, OUT Central Oregon is back with a full month of events for Pride Month. Events are continually being added to OUT Central Oregon's Pride web page at outcentraloregon.com/pride, but some on the horizon this week include an LGBTQ Salsa class on June 2, First Thursday meet and greets with Come OUT Bend at Canteen, a drag variety show from Cult of Tuck on June 4, and a Roller Pride Dance & Skate Party at The Pavilion on June 10. And of course, the big event, including a parade, happens June 25.
Also happening later this month: a business showcase featuring LGBTQ+-owned businesses in Bend, hosted by Everywhere is Queer—a website listing queer-owned businesses around the world, started by Bendite Charlie Sprinkman. Sprinkman (he/they), who moved to Bend in 2021, started Everywhere is Queer after spending time in a job that required lots of travel around the country. I chatted with Sprinkman about the project and the plans for the queer-owned business market, happening June 22 at 10 Barrel West.
Source Weekly: Tell me about the genesis of Everywhere is Queer.
Charlie Sprinkman: I grew up 30 miles east of Milwaukee, Wisconsin—a small little rural town, super Catholic, super conservative. I really struggled to come to terms with my sexuality and stuff. I went off to college in Colorado, studied Entrepreneurship, minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. And then post-college I hit the road and worked for an organic beverage company where I traveled to 42 of the 50 states, and this is where it all subconsciously started. Going throughout my travels, [I'd find] like queer hangouts here or queer spots there; sometimes I couldn't really find anything. Everywhere is Queer had not come to mind quite yet. But I think this was like the first layer. And then July of 2021—so last summer, I volunteered at Brave Trails, which is a queer youth leadership camp outside of L.A.—Big Bear. And after that week—I was a cabin counselor, I led the outdoor adventure program and led a workshop on environmentalism—and just coming off of that really euphoric experience of being with 100 queer people, I was like, how can I create something like this feeling for more people across our country, because that was, like, the best week of my life. It was so amazing. And so I was driving back to Colorado where I lived at the time and literally, the words Everywhere is Queer came to mind and I like thought of, a worldwide map of queer-owned businesses.
I was living in Bend when it launched in January of 2022. I moved here in September of 2021. So I had been briefly working on it before, but it did launch in Bend, Oregon.
SW: What brought you to the city?
CS: I have college friends that moved here post-college in 2019—just very good friends of mine. I'm actually living with them, and they were, like, we love it here, you should come check it out. So I came in, checked it out—but I will plug that, seeing and having been friends with Wyn [Wiley]—Pattie Gonia—moving to Bend was just like, really promoting the amazing community that existed here. It was definitely a layer of, like, OK, I'll move there if there's a strong queer community and that is absolutely my experience.
SW: You said now, you have 28 businesses on the map for Bend. So, do you think is that a high number compared to other towns of this size?
CS: I don't know the exact numbers—I'd have to look, but I honestly want to say that number, 28, is probably close to any other major city. I think that that's more than Portland, Oregon. I think it's probably close to New York and L.A. of what we currently have on the map.
In a partnership with Everywhere is Queer, 10 Barrel in Bend and Gold Spot Brewing in Denver, along with other breweries, will brew a special beer titled "Out Loud Beer" in honor of Pride Month. In Bend, the beer will be on offer during the queer-owned business market June 22. A portion of the sales of the beer will go to a nonprofit of each brewery's choosing. As of this writing, 16 queer-owned businesses will take part in the business market.
Find all the events listed for Central Oregon Pride at outcentraloregon.com/pride.