Sunday, June 24 1:00-2:00 pm
Broadway and Wellington (@ Pride!)
“Oh. You are so hot.”
For sure not feeling it.
I used to feel it. I don’t even know why I stopped, or what has changed, maybe its just part of getting older. My sexuality no longer defines me, but it did, and I notice the difference.
I watch as others display their sexuality openly, expose themselves, at their best and worst, seeming wholly uninhibited. They let loose in joyous ways, inappropriate ways, explicit ways. They express a rebellion against a certain cardinal culture, and the violent shrill of the parade watchers sounds as an alarm.
Last year 450,000 people attended the Pride Parade. This year, an estimated 750,000. No one was prepared. The parade was re-routed in the middle because the crowd overtook the street. Train stations were mobbed, intersections were overtaken. Record numbers of people celebrating the holiday that is PRIDE in Chicago. 51 tires were slashed in the morning hours before the parade. Another kind of an alarm. Was it a hate crime? We are a culture of reactionaries and rebels, it seems. Where the numbers of supporters double and triple, the hatred can still be witnessed plainly. Where this violence and this hope for change stand together, arm in arm. Because here, we witness a real clashing and real violence still, and alcohol is a knowing accomplice.
Aurora and I persisted as a passive landscape, peacefully embracing. Quiet among the raucous peacocks. The crowd moved their way around us, and I felt again the invisibility I have felt before. Unexpected invisibility. I realize now that our Hug could have been more noticeable if we had been naked, or at least scantily clad. Our Hug is not sexy on this ground, where provocative exhibition is fundamental.
I began to remember other parades, where, painted and costumed, I strutted and hollered. I remembered my youth, and recognized it as my fight, my persistence to increase the visibility of the “different.” It was usually with a smirk, a jabbing remark, or a flirty wink. I remain an advocate for PRIDE and PRIDE goers, knowing the intention is a good one. I leave it to the rest of us to behave in a way that serves to open our minds instead of closing them.