I could keep it classy and say that Pride is a time to toast and celebrate our identity as an LGBT community, our victories, and our unshakeable presence as a community – but why lie? Not that all of the above isn't true, but Pride is also a time to get it in! From doing God knows what to score some Pride beads to finally getting the courage to make out with that cute boy you met last week, Pride is that one time of the year when we're all friends; independent of all the past drama and bickering.
I was excited and elated to bring in Pride with close friends, family, and with some of my favorite charities that keep the community afloat. Above all, my extended family, ChicagoPride.com turned 10!
ChicagoPride.com planted the Pride seed a bit early with celebrating its 10 year anniversary at none other then Halsted street nightlife staple – Hydrate. Community leaders, readers and supporters all came out to raise a glass to ChicagoPride.com on another successful year of reporting, featuring, and overall capturing the very essence of Chicago's LGBT community. Guests enjoyed complimentary 4Rebels Vodka, some yummy cupcakes courtesy of Magnolia Bakery, raffle prizes, and a live DJ set by Maurice Halsted from the 103.5 KISS FM Beat Freaks. Gay Chicago TV came out to interview notable guests, which included Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House & Social Service Agency, Precious Jewel, and Victor Salvo of the Legacy Project. Also, congrats to this year's Bud Boyz, who were announced during the event and had a combined 30,256 of nearly 100,000 total votes: Tristan Hayden, Jason Bitner, Bradley French, and Eric Wilken. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year's Bud Boyz has planned! All in all I'm honored to continue to call ChicagoPride.com home and I look forward to another ten years of celebrating us – our LGBT community.
This was my first time attending Chicago House's Pride Deconstructed: The 2012 Birdhouse Art Auction and Cocktail Party and it certainly will not be my last. Room & Board, 55 E. Ohio, hosted the event again this year. Guests were welcome to themed Absolute Vodka cocktails, custom-made birdhouses on display, and light apps. Bottom line; the event raised$33,000. It was also great to learn from Jeremy Hilborn, Chicago House's special events manager, the history behind the Birdhouse event and how it's representative of Chicago House's mission.
"When it was founded seventeen years ago, the individuals who came up with the concept was just looking for something to symbolize what Chicago House was all about, so the creation of a safe haven for birds was representative of the same safe haven that Chicago House provides to individuals afflicted by AIDS," said Hilborn.
I kicked off my Pride Sunday by attending the Cohen's Standup Foundation's Pride Bruch at the W Lakeshore, 644 N. Lake. Ben Cohen, former England ruby union international player, is the founder of the Cohen Standup Foundation. The foundation aims is dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term effects of bullying while also supporting others who are working to end bullying – with a particular interest in the LGBT community. I must say that I couldn't have found a better way to start my Pride Sunday then supporting Cohen's charitable initiatives to the backdrop of the W Lakeshore's low-key, posh 7th floor outside deck. There was a certain chill energy about the event that lured me in while simultaneously getting me amped for the Pride parade. A long time ago, my mom told me that the key to every successful event is intriguing your guest with the unexpected. Cohen did just that by inviting his friends, The Scissor Sisters, for a live, impromptu performance – and surely they did not disappoint. It was great speaking with Jake Shears, lead vocalist of the Scissor Sisters, about music, my favorite song of theirs (love The Other Side), and overall the event. According to Cohen, he is grateful to have the support of the LGBT community.
"We wouldn't be in the position we are today if it wasn't for the LGBT community. They have always been in the forefront and the trailblazers. I'm thankful to have their support," said Cohen.
Until next update, hope you all had a Happy Pride like I did and always remember, Pride is EVERY day of the year – it's just a little bit more socially acceptable to strut down Halsted street in speedos and beads – though that's done on other days, but you get the point! For more photos of the above events, friend me on Facebook: Facebook.com/TerrenceChappell