It’s that wonderful time of year where we are able to gather in the streets and show our pride for being who we are. The recent deluge of anti-Boystown sentiment is unfortunate this time of year, but what is the root of it? And will it break the spirit of the whole of the community during a time when we should be proud?
Perhaps it is because a few locals have had the fortune of blogging for HuffPo that has brought national attention to our once revered North Side mecca of all things gay. Or is it truly the less then diverse group of gay white boys that populate the neighborhood that has the rest of the LGBTQQIA (Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgendered/Queer/Questioning/Intersexed/Ally) community up in arms?
One thing is for sure, the Pride Parade and Pride Fest are going forward as planned, so lets get into the spirit of things and represent our LGBTQQIA Chicago on a world stage with love, respect and a true sense of community. Here are some ways to help grow your spirit this Pride:
Gaybies first pride. No matter where you are in your life in either coming to terms with your sexuality or your coming out process, remember to respect those who are making their fabulous debut at this year’s Pride. Take time to look around and make these first-timers feel welcome in our always growing community. Maybe offer to take a photo of a smitten young (or old) couple or offer an unsolicited smile or a hug to a nervous “Nelly.”
Each year the crowds grow larger, in part due to the straight community and allies coming-out to show their support (or to watch a “freak show”). Let us not forget that, especially here in Chicago and the surrounding areas, the coming out process is happening much earlier and more frequently. Make sure to include these newbies in the celebration and show them what respectful and true community pride really means.
Booze patrol. As reported by Chicago Phoenix staff writer Ricardo Rosa, Aldermen Tom Tunney (44th Ward) and James Capplemean (46th Ward) are putting the pressure on our local boys in blue to ticket or arrest revelers with an open container. Unless you plan to spend a night in the pokey or part of your July rent for that refreshing adult beverage, why not try a more sobering approach to this years parade?
Perhaps this is the year to truly be present at Pride. It is, after all, the first time in U.S. history when our president actually has our backs. Let this historic time in our lives, where your alderman, mayor, governor AND president are all pushing for your full rights, go down in history as the richest times of our lives.
Be thankful. This is a great time of the year to get involved in your community. Take a moment and thank our hard working LGBT politicians like Rep. Greg Harris, Rep. Deb Mell and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who are making great strides in securing a future for our full and equal rights. Dig deep and donate to the many organizations that put in the time through their hard work and grassroots efforts to lobby for us and to affect policy change and laws for our community.
HRC, The Civil Rights Agenda, Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal … The list is vast of local and national organizations which are putting themselves on the front lines and they always can use our support through monetary donations, membership and/or volunteering. Visit their many booths at Pride Fest and Market Days or find a great organization to commit yourself to volunteer for and help them to fight the fight!
As always, follow the Chicago Phoenix wellness advice this weekend and make every day a healthy day. Drink plenty of water, be careful not to burn, make some healthy food choices — but what is more important is to take this year’s Pride as one that will go down in history where much of the country, including President Obama, are supportive of our community and are fighting for our equal rights. (Oh, and don’t forget to hug a first timer!)