Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gay Pride

Today was the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. It’s my third favorite weekend in Chicago (followed by IML & Halsted Market Days, which I wrote about here: { http://randomthawghts.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-heart-chicago.html }
I had originally planned to go out to some of the bars this weekend. However, my sinuses had other plans, as I’ve been hit with another sinus infection. The only good part of this is, that when I went to my Dr., in addition to oral antibiotics (which prevented an plans of drinking), he also ordered a shot. My favorite, hot patient tech came in to give me my shot. If someone’s going to come in and tell me to ‘drop trou’, I’d prefer it be him. (Hey, we take small victories where we can get them.) Anyway, sleeping little and sleeping poorly for the past week, combined with the feeling that there’s a tiny man inside my head, using the back of my right eyeball as a punching bag. I wasn’t up for nights on the town. Saturday, I called Mike, the friend I recently reconnected with (that I wrote about here: { http://randomthawghts.blogspot.com/2008/05/two-unexpected-things-happened-this.html } , to see if he had plans with anyone for the Parade and if he’d like to hang out together to watch the parade. He had plans, but invited me to come along with him/them. I accepted. Mike and I share the same acerbic, dry sense of humor, mixed with a good amount of bitter cynicism. We also lust after the same types of men, so watching hot guys go by is a lot of fun with Mike…”11:00 O’clock-hairy chest, pencil eraser nips; 2:00 O’clock- scruffy beard, solid pecs…” and so on.
I first met up with Mike at Starbucks. From there we went to meet up with his other friends, who Mike knows because they are all friends of Bill. He sees Fred and introduces us. Fred tells us the other guys are a few yards away. We go over, and Mike introduces me to Frankie, Fred’s boyfriend (I’m using pseudonyms to protect the guilty and the innocent). “Umm, uh, hi Frankie, nice to uh meet you.” The others get a few yards ahead of us, out of earshot and I lean over to Mike and say, “I tricked with Frankie before.” AWWKKWARD!! This was not recent, 2 or 3 years ago, but still awkward. What would Miss Manners say is the appropriate way to handle this situation? Do you pretend you’ve never met? Do you acknowledge meeting, but not the circumstances? Mike laughed and said, “Let’s keep that info under wraps.” Not a problem. Mike and I stayed together in one spot back against a building under an awning , and the other guys went 10-15 feet up the sidewalk, at the curb, and we didn’t really mingle.
The Parade was really slow this year. There was about a 20-30 minute stretch where there was a stop in the procession. Rumor is that someone got sick/had an accident earlier in the route, which held up all of the floats behind. Then it got cloudy and dark, and started raining. I was glad Mike chose the awning spot earlier. Guys rushed to us and squeezed in. I love people watching. One of the humorous things to witness is the straight guys, who are trying really hard to be cool, and OK around us gays, but they haven't quite fully crossed to the other side of that bridge. As they are walking through the crowd--the sea of fags and dykes, they hold on to their girlfriends' hands as if they were super glued together, for fear that a momentary body separation will cause us gays to descend upon them and try to bring them play for 'our team'.
The clouds finally passed, and it quit raining. There seemed to be another lapse. It was getting dark again, so Mike and I opted to leave before the next cloudburst. I got to the El station just before the next downpour. It was a fun day, and good to spend time with Mike again.
Now my monologue about “Why Pride?” Every so often the occasional uniformed person utters, “Why do you need to have a parade? We don’t have ‘straight pride. Where’s our parade.” There’s no straight pride parade, because EVERY DAY is straight pride day. Until GLTB people are granted the right to marry, to file joint tax return, to not be prohibited from being with their partners in hospitals, to not worry about being fired for being gay, for not getting tied to a fence and pistol whipped and left to die, or getting bashed for walking down the sidewalk, holding hands, showing (appropriate) affection in public, until we no longer have a government (and president) who tries to be the first ever to make a constitutional amendment to specifically DENY civil rights to GLTB people, as long as people use the bible and religion as a weapon with which to persecute us, we will continue to have pride parades one day every year. The other 364 days we will remain a people who are proud and grateful being who we are. We aren’t going away.

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