Love and acceptance from 850,000 spectators, family, and friends!
It was my first time marching in a parade. I never thought I would do this.
As a kid, I’d hear my parents express disgust whenever the news stations broadcast the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade on television. “Those people are sick; they have an illness,” my father would say. It would upset me a lot, and I never thought to voice my opinion when I lived with my parents. Y’know, it was just one of those sexist, racist, classist shit you’d just roll your eyes in response to.
Never had I imagine that I would one day march in a gay pride parade.
Never had I imagine that I would even end up marching in one with my straight boyfriend, as opposed to one of my previous same-sex significant others, and still feel accepted by both the straight and queer communities!
Marching in the 2012 Chicago Pride Parade with my L Stop team and my boyfriend was both humbling and empowering for me.
I was nervous asking Vivian and Lisa if my boyfriend can join The L Stop in the Pride Parade. I was nervous after I posted up my last article. I feared losing support from my queer family of friends. My fears were allayed, however, by my L Stop family almost immediately after they surfaced. Not only did Vivian and Lisa give me the okay to invite my boyfriend to march with us, my fellow writers were also very supportive of our relationship when they met my boyfriend. I have never felt so proud to call The L Stop my family.
I also love that my boyfriend isn’t shy about his support for gay rights and marriage equality. He sported a purple American Apparel’s “Legalize Gay” shirt at the parade. Most straight men would have probably chosen a different color. I love that he’s so confident in his sexual and gender identity that the color purple didn’t phase him. I loved that he posted up a Facebook status about his participation in the Pride Parade with a quick camera photo for documentation.
I was invigorated by cheers and thumb-ups given to my boyfriend and me by lesbian archetypes after reading my last-minute poster. It was touching in a very powerful way. Ladies, thank you for empowering me. Thank you all for your support.
I felt humbled when I was again reminded of the privileges I have as a queer femme in a straight relationship as we neared the end of the parade route. I made sure to steer my boyfriend and point my poster away from the haters who took advantage of our fatigued states to point and shout “Sinner!” at each and every one of us. I didn’t want to be made an example for the haters just because I self-labeled as “queer.”
Lastly, I love seeing Pride photos all over my Facebook news feed filled with smiles and laughter plastered on my friends’ faces. The Pride Parade is about raising awareness and empowering the queer community. I think we accomplished all of the above this past weekend. Support for the queer community is growing. We raised awareness through our outreaches and parades. Just look at the number of attendees! To our 850,000 supporters, thank you for empowering us.
Best Pride ever? Hell yeah, and next year will be even better! I can hardly wait.
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JT is originally from San Francisco, CA. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in psychology, focusing primarily on gender and sexuality research. Seeking a change in 2008, she moved to Chicago, and what a change it has been! Currently, she works for a nationally renowned magazine publishing company. During her off hours, she can been seen walking and yelping about various Chicago neighborhoods. JT identifies as queer and bisexual, and she is currently dating a straight man. She has an unapologetic love for civil rights, whether it’d be for racial, gender, sexual, or political socioeconomic equality. On weekends, she volunteers with Howard Brown Health Center to promote safe sex in Boystown.