DOMA, pride parade bring hope for future of LGBT communities

By Brenda Krause

Sunday was Chicago’s 44th Annual Pride Parade. According to an ABC 7 News report, a whopping one million people attended the celebratory event.

I also had the privilege to proudly stand alongside fellow supporters. The crowd was packed tighter than a can of sardines, but the overwhelming excitement made every shoulder bump worth it.

After anxiously waiting, the parade began around 12:30 p.m. on the crowded corner of Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street.

The street was lined with rainbow flags and a nearby restaurant was blaring music, which without a doubt added to the overwhelming excitement. Paradegoers young and old were all dressed top to bottom, covered in colors of the rainbow, in support of the LGBT movement.

Several brave individuals took a more risqué approach, wearing close to nothing. Though it’s not my style of celebrating, I appreciate their level of passionate support.

A feeling of vibrant unity and uplifting hope grew stronger with each passing float. Several floats contributed to the common goal of gay marriage finally becoming federally legalized.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the older veterans and those from different branches of the military showing their support by marching in the parade, as well as multiple churches from around the Chicagoland area.

Each group was carrying signs that read promising messages like, “All means all,” and “We love you.” Many children also took part in the festivities along with their same-sex family members. They held signs saying, “I love my two dads” or “I love my gay sister.” It was truly heartwarming to see such a diverse group of individuals take a stand and publicly show their immense amount of support.

Those participating in the parade were vividly charged up, which certainly encouraged the crowd to become even more enthusiastic.

As the festivities went on, the commotion amplified. Blue glitter was being thrown around the roaring crowd, half-naked men were dancing on light poles and a plethora of drag queens were coming out of the woodwork. It was as if everyone was caught in an intoxicating frenzy.

Much of the craziness is due to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA. The “Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled,” Huffington Post reported.

The parade was obnoxiously crowded, and I saw more man parts and lady parts in three hours than I ever have in my entire life, but the experience was one that comes maybe once in a lifetime.