Attracting a host of various body types and identities, a local queer body-positive group, Heavy Rotation, hosted its first pie baking contest at Parlour Wednesday. More than 40 people showed up for simultaneous dance party and pie competition.
Simply titled “Baked,” the body positive soirée is a spinoff of the Chunky Dunky Beach Party. The point, said attendees, is to have a space that celebrated all body types within the LGBT community. Since its inception just over a year ago, the queer collective that brought Heavy Rotation together has aimed to provide a space for body positivity within the LGBT party scene.
“I think it’s important to have a body positive space in Chicago,” said Jamie Royce, founder of the blog Stuff Queer People Need to Know. ”Especially as queer, LGBT people because we spend so much time in the bar which is not always a safe space. In places like Boystown, there’s a lot of body negativity, a lot of shaming,”
DJ’s CK1 and Jennifer Love Handles dished up the music as party-goers took to the dance floor.
“I’ve been coming to Heavy Rotation for a little over a year,” said AJ a.k.a. Trandroid. “I think it’s important to have a body positive dancefloor.”
Body positivity was the name of the game as various styles, body types and nationalities swarmed the dance floor to jam to the music.
Steve Hnilicka, who has been with the group since its start was host for the first time at the “Baked” event.
“It’s an all-inclusive space, we’re very intentional about making [the space] that way,” said Hnilicka.
The group doesn’t just focus on parties for larger body types — it also aims to provide welcoming spaces for the races and ethnicities of people that might not feel welcome in party locations around the city.
“One thing that drove this work is that there’s so much ‘fatphobia,’ and hatred towards fat bodies — people say things about what a body is supposed to look like,” said Lark Mulligan, collective member at the Transformative Justice Law Project. “It’s like skinniness is valued in a certain way.”
Mulligan knows a lot about what’s needed to create safe and welcoming spaces for all people. She and others like her, including Juana Peralta, Femmily and Hnilicka realize the importance of having parties like what Heavy Rotation provides, every third Wednesday of the month at Parlour, 6341 N. Clark St.
“Be critical of the kinds of bodies that are able to access the spaces that we’re in,” said Mulligan. “Be aware of who comes into your space. If your space only has a certain type of people in it, you should think about whether or not other people feel welcome.”
Before the night was done, the pies were eaten and a winner was chosen. Parlour bartender, John Russell took the cake when his chocolate banana cream pie was chosen as the best tasting and most deliciously presented pie by attendees.
“I’m very, very honored. It’s pretty amazing,” said Russell.
The night was filled with fun, but wouldn’t have been complete without the performance, “Open for Mama.” Where group member Juana Peralta bird-fed pie ingredients into the mouth of group member Steve Hnilicka. The crowd went wild as she dropped pieces of chocolate into Hnilicka’s open “beak.” Then, Peralta painted Hnilicka’s face with a bit of whipped cream and a cherry on top.