I have attended every Pride parade since 1993 when I moved to Chicago. In Tennessee where I grew up the parade was not something to proud of with a few people walking down a Nashville street and onlookers making fun of them.
So this last Sunday in June event every year is not something I take lightly.
Originally I rode on the Tower Records float and DJed for them on a huge red bus. Years later I dressed in specially printed t-shirts with a group of 30 or more with a theme and rainbow Jell-O shots.
The parade has changed over the years by adding guard rails and increasing liquor control. While still a good time, emotions have gotten even stronger and fights have broken out.
A Pride Fest event has been started in the last few years with musical acts and booth to kick things off. I interviewed several of the performers including Jojo and Martha Wash. It was so great seeing friend Aurora Sexton and Debbie Fox perform.
I ran to the Backlot Bash in Andersonville to see friend Chely Wright perform and was greeted with so much lesbian love!
The day of the parade I arose early with rainbow Nunn costume in hand. After some crazy nunning around to get to the front of the parade, I changed in a bar bathroom and went to take pics but when I saw my ChicagoPride brothers and sister I jumped on the float instead! Anthony, Kinley and Precious Jewel kept me grooving and waving my rainbow flag all day. Like a rainbow rollercoaster I didn’t want it to end but loved the new route!
I could hardly walk to the after parties with my colorful habit on without taking pictures with someone every two minutes. One lady made me hold her dog to be in a photo with me, awkward! I was so grateful for their support though.
I went to the Scissor Sisters concert in the evening and met amazing people like Ben Cohen and hung out with great friends like Art Smith, Matthew Harvat, and Greg Haus.
I could have danced all night even though I was exhausted after a long gay weekend but finally it was time to hit the sheets.
For me that was what Pride was all about being open and not being scared to take a risk wearing a Nunn’s costume. Seeing community friends out and about while making new ones. In many ways this was the best Pride yet and I look forward to many more to come!