Updated: Nov 17, 2020
June has had a cloud over her head this year and in its murky grasp any mood for festivities has dissipated. Cities all over our country saw an uprising of voices and bodies against injustice, even as the Coronavirus continues to hit minority groups with a hammer to the lungs. It has been a trying time to our mental health, as well. It seems as if uncertainty is the only thing that's certain these days. It's not easy having to cancel things like weddings, baby showers, or graduation parties. Things (AND PEOPLE!) getting cancelled is the new pink, darling. Unfortunately, Chicago's Pride parade was one that got the boot.
Some of my fondest memories as a teenager took place at Pride parade. Coming from a fairly traditional Mexican family, it felt somewhat like a guilty pleasure. It was one of the few large events where I felt part of the whole, even if I was a straight, Spanglish-speaking "weird kid". When I, at sixteen, asked my mom if I could go to a parade to support my gay friends, I don't think she thought it was such an extravagant affair.
The air was thick with hazy heat, Haze, sweat, dance beats andhints of alcohol here and there. Everyone was family and happy to be there, clapping for every float, chant or souvenir that was thrown at us. Oh, how I enjoyed those few hours where I could break free from all the conservative expectations society had so neatly laid out for me. I saw my first drag queen at Pride. She took my breath away. She was beautiful. She was PHAT. She was an experience. The diverse crowd sang to her siren song with an open mind and an open heart.
As Pride month comes to a close, I can't help to think that that's what June needed. She needed lots of open hearts. Instead, we were a palpably divided nation and we felt that shit everywhere. From social media to our local grocery store. And even within our own families. What we need today is healing through education and rebellion, too. We need, we deserve the freedom to be our most authentic selves. Maybe America is still figuring herself out. She is filled with a motley crew of thinkers, makers, and destroyers that think they know what's best for her. I'm rooting for her. I hope she can stop searching for a label and rise through all the pain. I think she just wants to be free, and like the drag queen, SING.