This year I attended the Pride Parade (the closing event for the three-day long Pride Festival in Chicago). It was the first time I went to a Pride Month event in the ten years I have been out of the closet. When the idea first came to me and I discussed it with my boyfriend Joey, we were both a little nervous. Not only are we both highly nervous in large group situations, but we had certain misconceptions about what kind of event this would actually be. Visions of bubble butts and body glitter danced in our heads as we made arrangements, and despite our trepidation we went.
What we experienced on Halsted and Belmont was a far cry from the hormone-fueled debauchery we had imagined. Sure, there were plenty of people wearing nothing but a pair of novelty briefs and sunglasses, but there were even more people who were out there just to have a drink with a friend or lover and celebrate the fact that we don’t necessarily need to hide behind fronts of false heterosexuality anymore. The crowd was so varied in terms of age, race, sexual orientation, and gender that it was hard not to finally feel at peace with the one aspect of myself that had given you the most trouble in life (aside from my Oprah-esque yo-yo weight…haha).
Was I seeing all this through beer goggles? Possibly–I had nearly 10 over the course of the afternoon. Had a haze of glitter, confetti, and rainbow flags obscured my perception of the events that were unfolding around me? Maybe, but I doubt it. Regardless of what state of mind I was in, there is nothing quite like being plunged into a group of a few hundred thousand people who, at least to some extent, think and feel the same way you do. I am already looking forward to next June when I can head down to Boystown and do it all again.
Image credit: chicagoist.com