Monday, June 29, 2015

Gay Pride Now & Then



When I moved to Chicago in 1982 New Town was just starting to be called Boys Town—now when I say New Town my daughter has no idea what I’m talking about. She only knows it is called Boys Town.

In the early 80s the parade jammed the streets of Boys Town, people marched in their underwear and united in solidarity. Yesterday an estimated 1 million marched and the parade takes up almost the entire North Side.  The trains were packed going into the city. In the early 80s it was easy to stumble into the parade; there wasn’t always a lot of publicity. That would be absolutely impossible today. It is an event on par with the Chicago Marathon as it threads its way through the city. Roads are shut down as revelers take over the streets and sidewalks. The beachfront at Montrose where there is an after-party was shut down because it reached capacity.

Then—people were dying of AIDS. By the millions. Today people are living with AIDS. Then coming out meant exile and divided families. Today gays are having families. 2015 will always be remembered as the parade marking the benchmark SCOTUS decision striking down the Defense of Marriage act and making gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Let’s take a moment to look back:
Scenes from the Gay Pride Parade, Broadway and Surf, 1977, Chicago. Calumet 412

Scenes from the Gay Pride Parade, Broadway and Surf, 1977, Chicago. Calumet 412

Mayor Jane Byrne greets people along the Gay Pride Parade route on Broadway, 1983, Chicago. Calumet 412
courtesy of Alan Light, from Chicago's 1985 Gay Pride Parade:

http://www.vintag.es/2014/05/gay-pride-parade-in-chicago-ca-1970s.html

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