The Pride Parade here in Chicago has always been one of my favorite events of the entire year. It’s really any kind of display of community celebration that really gets me going, but Pride is an especially fantastic time. I also like fireworks, but that’s neither here nor there.
This year, someone had the idea to split Pride up between two weekends – Pridefest was last weekend and the Pride Parade is this coming Sunday. I don’t exactly know the reason for the split, but I have a feeling it had something to do with the bars being able to make double the income from two huge gay weekends. A good friend of mine that I met in school owns a tee shirt company geared towards the ladies who love ladies and I worked her booth at Pridefest this past weekend. It was a great chance to be at the fest while still being apart from it, and after two days of hocking tee shirts to lesbians, I was BEAT. I’m a little sad that I ended up missing all the entertainment because I heard Deborah Cox and Neon Hitch were amazing, but a boy can’t be all places at once. It also provided a nice opportunity to experience the fest while still having a space to sit down and relax and breathe between onslaughts of rabid lesbians trying to get their novelty tee fix. Plus, being able to people watch from the sidelines at Pridefest offers an interesting vantage point. Only at a gay street festival is only wearing mesh underwear considered acceptable attire. You just can’t get away with that shit at Ribfest, y’know?
Simply put, I’ve always liked the parade because it makes me happy. Easy as that. It’s a time to celebrate, and with this week’s historic overturn of DOMA, gay people everywhere have even more reason to celebrate. But for me, the parade goes deeper than just gay pride. It goes to just having pride period. Being happy with who I am and excited about the places my life is going. It’s easy to get annoyed with the crowds and all the drunk assholes, but at Pride I try to look past all of that. So far this year I haven’t really been able to do that with much of my life. Pride seems like a good place to work all that shit out.
I had a date last night with a kid I met at the fest and we went to a CS Magazine party at a furniture studio in River North. A nice little cocktail open house with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Then we went to Boarding Room for a martini before saying goodnight. Instead of just hopping on the train and heading home, I walked down State Street and just took in the city like I haven’t done in a really long time. And for the first time in a really long time I didn’t feel like I was fighting with Chicago and I really did own a piece of it. A small little corner of it was mine. The air had this charge that I used to feel when I first moved here. Maybe last night I felt like so many other people do when they talk about their affinity towards this city.
So whether you make it to the parade or not this weekend, take a minute to take inventory of yourself and where you’re at and find a little space that you’re proud of and celebrate it. And maybe dig out a pair of mesh underwear and strut your stuff like you were meant to.