Saturday, July 26, 2014

Not my Pride

I went to Chicago on Saturday to celebrate having finished the final book for a project I was working on. The next book I need to work on will be mine. I must start putting together the manuscript and fleshing it out. It will happen and it will be good and I am excited about the prospect and looking forward to seeing it enacted and I shall enjoy seeing how it looks when I finally get it out of my mind and onto paper somewhere.

But that was neither here nor there, I was happy to know the book was finished and happy to celebrate. The celebration included duck and some beautiful jazz at the Green Mill, which I always enjoy as a haunt. The city was beautiful that Saturday night, with passing thunderstorms bringing lightening to flash the sky and make the pretty streets a wet spectacle punctuated by strobe-light lightning. Beautiful and celebratory, like my own fireworks show. I was pleased.

On Sunday I treated myself to a nice breakfast of salmon and chicken sausage and realized that I was up early enough that it was possible to get the train home, rather than try to arrange for a pickup. This worked for me, and so I started to walk on the pretty sunny morning after the rain. The city was clean and sparkling, washed free of dirt and debris and pollen, enjoyable. I was feeling very in love with Chicago.

Then I started walking toward the train. It was just as I was approaching Michigan avenue that I started to see something unusual. A man in a rainbow mohawk walked by me, which in and of itself would not have made me look twice, but the girl next to him was wearing furry rainbow leg warmers with matching arm covers. I did a double take.

Then, there was a girl in a rainbow tutu. Than a gorgeous drag queen decked out in rainbow colors.

I stopped.

I thought.

What is…what day is this? I was thinking, when suddenly I was absolutely swarmed, overwhelmed by a group of teens and young adults in decked out in a variety of rainbow gear. Some where wearing bikinis in a retro spring-breakers style. Others had rainbow glitter and body paint, but the thing that struck me about most of them was one thing.

Most of these people were straight people.

Most of these people were doing this as a way to get away with something in daylight that had absolutely nothing to do with Pride.

After the third rainbow dress I realized that it was Pride weekend in Chicago and had a moment where almost turned around and joined the rainbowed mohawk to make the trek toward Belmont and Halstead where the parade would be hosted.

Until I ran into all the straight people.

I heard someone yell out, “Gangja!” at the top of their lungs, in front of five beleaguered looking Chicago cops. “That’s weed! Someone’s smoking the good shit!”

Then the crowd literally tripled and I was swimming against a tide of revelers, all dressed in their various rainbow attire, yelling, and screaming and acting like animals escaped from the zoo, or patients from an asylum. It was insane and grotesque and a parody of everything Pride is supposed to stand for.

This was not Pride. These frat boys and girls knew nothing about the people that died in the Stonewall riots on that fateful June 25th weekend. These people did not have an inkling of the millions of men, women, and genderqueers who had been persecuted, raped, imprisoned, trampled upon, mutilated, and murdered all because a specific class of society deemed their desires to be a perversion of nature, simply because they couldn't see all the multifaceted human love that is embodied in those that simply don’t, can’t, or aren’t wired to love in a way that a society that demanded conformity could accept.

This is not straight hate, as there are a number of honest-to-goodness straights that really do support and embrace Pride for what it means. Men and women who have lost sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in ways that cannot be described. Families who truly do understand what being able to openly celebrate Pride means. This group, sadly, was not representative of the straights I ran into.

Running wild boys and girls screaming the top of their lungs about being drunk and stoned and fucked up on uppers or downers, flaunting in the face of authority how very avant garde they are being and using Pride as a way to say "See? This is okay; we can all do this now thanks to the homos."

It pissed me off and made me feel sick to my stomach and I was thankful for the peaceful quiet of my train ride home, rather than joining with the revelers.

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