WINDY CITY TIMES
by Yvonne Zipter
This article shared 1567 times since Wed Jun 20, 2001
My gal Kathy and I are the sort of people who can sometimes go to extremes. We will go out, for instance, shopping for a baseball cap and come home with a VCR. Or we'll set out to adopt a greyhound, wind up with two, and end up being key people in the greyhound rescue organization. That's why it should come as no surprise that, after several years of doing nothing for Pride month, this year our calendar is overflowing with Pride events we've made commitments to attend: the Mayor of Chicago's Pride Reception, a fundraiser for Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the annual Pride reading at Women and Children First, and the ACLU Pride-related event Girls on Top, culminating with the parade itself at the end of June. It's not that we're more proud all of a sudden. We were just as proud of our queerness those years when we were out of town during Gay Pride Weekend or when I had a writing class to teach the night of the mayor's reception. It's hard to know how to account for this burst of Pride activity. Maybe it's some queer alignment of the stars or maybe it's some quirk of the new millennium as it actually gets underway. Or maybe it's simply as random as my thoughts here generally are.
Whichever of those is the case, I'm looking forward to these various PDQs: public displays of my queerness. I may be most excited, though, about the parade, since Kathy and I will be riding in the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame trolley. Next to a Cadillac convertible or a Harley-Davidson hog, the trolley seems like the most gay mode of transport one could use in the parade: it conjures up images of Judy Garland, and San Francisco, and Rice-a-Roni—the other San Francisco treat. I'm not quite sure, in fact, why we, as a people, don't use trolleys more often to get around—heck, you could fit an entire softball team and all of their equipment in one of those things, not to mention several cases of beer. Which reminds me: this isn't the first time Kathy and I will have been on a trolley in the past year. While our other trolley ride was queer in its own way, Kathy and I were the only actual queers on that previous trolley excursion, in which Kathy, her entire extended family on her father's side, and I rode around the city of Chicago and environs revisiting every significant site in her uncle's life in honor of his retirement. Some poor, unsuspecting soul even let all 33 or 34 of us file through his apartment, which was where Kathy's father and uncles had grown up. The highlight for me was singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" two or three times at the top of our lungs while the trolley circled Wrigley Field during a Cubs game—a rendition that was particularly sweet for me because of all of the White Sox fans aboard. One of the more important lessons we learned from that trolley ride, though, is that people on the street are substantially more likely to wave at you if you wave to them from a trolley, as opposed to from, say, the window of your car. In the former situation, they seem vaguely amused, while in the latter case they tend to be moderately frightened, as if you might have escaped from somewhere with padded walls.
In contrast, if you are in the Pride Parade line-up, people will wave to you, in my experience, no matter what your mode of conveyance. Still, the trolley seems like a good choice on this basis as well. I asked Kathy if she thought there would be as much beer on this trolley ride as on our last one, but she firmly believes that even if the trolley were transporting the entire women's rugby team, there wouldn't be as much beer—not to mention hot dogs, peanuts, candy bars, ice cream, and soft drinks. It was as if Kathy's cousins, who had organized the excursion, had had a Gilligan's Island moment and wanted to be prepared in case we became marooned in some inhospitable place. No such worries for us during the Pride Parade, in which the entire route will be welcoming to a fault. My only worry, in fact, was that there wouldn't be space for Kathy on the trolley, but I was assured that there would be no need for her to run alongside. This is good, because now, even though neither of us will have a "high-starched collar" or "high-topped shoes" ( my Reeboks now long retired ) , I can, as the song says, "just ... stand with her hand holding mine, to the end of the line." Zing, zing, zzzzing.
Yvonne Zipter can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information on the Girls on Top event, see their web site ( girlsontop.aclu-il.org/ ) and for the annual Pride reading June 26, see the Women and Children First schedule at see their web site ( womenchildren.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp ) .
A full schedule of Pride events is at www.chicagopridecalendar.org/.
This article shared 1567 times since Wed Jun 20, 2001
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