The year in queer
For the out and about, '08 contained plenty of fantastic moments.
Nationally, it was an unforgettable year (Prop 8, anyone?). But here in the heartland, we had just as many wow moments; here are our ten favorites.
10. Who rained on our parade?
Much to the dismay of our right-wing foes, June’s Pride Parade rarely sees a downpour; this year, it did. But the shirtless, glittered masses would not be deterred, and more than 250,000 enjoyed the event. Best moment? The Obama contingent, in which 100 or so wore (campaign-sponsored) pinkT-shirts that read “I’m Out for Obama.”
9. Stardust memories
Trans celebutante Amanda Lepore made us Chicagoans feel like cover girls when she decided to become a spokesmodel for Glen Ellyn–based cosmetics line CAMP. But it wasn’t her eyebrows that were raised; it was ours: To commemorate the new line in October, Lepore posed for pictures and later gave a live, nude performance at Berlin’s weekly party Stardust.
8. Tea and sympathy
After two successful Prop 8 protests in Chicago, activists weren’t certain they could rally supporters to Evanston for a demonstration at Century Theatres to protest its CEO—Prop 8 supporter Alan Stock. But 500 showed up, passersby joined in, and in a wonderful display of support, employees from Borders across the street delivered hot beverages to help take the chill out of the late-November air.
7. Look at me; I’m Sandra B.
This isn’t the first year out cabaret legend Sandra Bernhard has stepped on Steppenwolf’s stage. But it is the first time A Sandra Bernhard Halloween happened a week before a momentous national election. Bernhard twisted her knife straight into the guts of McCain and Palin, and when a heckler cried out, “You suck!” the feisty 53-year-old chased the poor sucker right out the door, much to the audience’s delight.
6. Sister act
Who would’ve thought post-Stonewall partyers would visit the Bijou, the porn theater and sex club that attracts mostly married men on the DL? Enter Wayward Sisters, a monthly party officially started in February by an art student motivated to show a slice of queer history to young gays by bringing them to the source. Wayward Sisters became the most diverse and unusual event of the year.
5. God complex
For many suburbanites, the ultimate house of worship is megachurch Willow Creek, headed by evangelical pastor Bill Hybels. Surprisingly, in May the South Barrington church welcomed several dozen LGBT Chicago-area folk and their families for a much-needed discussion about religion-based bigotry. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker offspring and friend of the community Jay Bakker led the talks.
4. May the Force be with them
The Chicago Force, the Windy City’s all-female tackle-football team (and one that boasts out players), crushed every team in its path, winning the title of 2008 Eastern Conference Champions. In July, the Force lost the nationals to the Dallas Diamonds (35–29), but not without a spectacular overtime fight.
3. March madness
In a surprising about-face, the Dyke March ditched Andersonville (where it’s taken place for more than a decade) and headed south to Pilsen in an attempt to bring queer diversity to neighborhoods that need it most. By all accounts, the Pride Month event was the largest in its 12-year history. Talks began last month about a possible ’09 location (which could be Jackson Park, Humboldt Park, Chinatown or the Loop).
2. Doth we protest too much?
At noon on November 15, several thousand LGBT people and their allies gathered in Federal Plaza to protest the passage of Prop 8, which outlawed marriage equality in California. The crowd then took to the streets and wound its way along Michigan Avenue—of all places. It was a show of strength and solidarity (a peaceful one at that), and it was long overdue.
1. Countdown to change
If you were among the 125,000 at Grant Park on Election Day, you’ll never forget when CNN began counting down to the closing of the West Coast polls. We cheered for what we assumed would be an announcement that Obama had won California. But when CNN proclaimed, “Barack Obama elected President,” the cheers turned to deafening shrieks as Americans—gay and straight, black and white—turned a new page in our nation’s history.