By D' Ontace Keyes
As I pick out my outfit for this year’s Pride celebration, I think about my first Pride celebration in 2005. I was 15 years old and so FRESH! I was a hungry boy waiting to get a taste of the gay culture.
At the time I was sheltered from everything “gay”, forced to live what could be considered a normal suburban life. Not so bad because I was able to excel in things like my education, but horrible when it came to trying to express myself. I felt colorless, trapped in a closet of evening plaid.
Luckily, I had a boyfriend that would steal me away to the city. I was amazed at the amount of young people that would frequent the streets of Boyztown, voguing the night away on Halsted Street and just being free. I, too, wanted to be free.
The day I decided to attend Pride was actually the day I found out I was being cheated on. I was so upset, and I wanted to attend only to catch him in the act. I decided that I must find a way to attend Pride. I wasn’t out at the time, so I couldn’t tell my guardians I was going to a Pride celebration, no matter how much I thought they weren’t aware of my sexuality. Actually, they were aware; they just tried to “straight-wash” me, believing that one day I would break away from my “path with the devil.”
So I worked out the typical “I’m somewhere I’m not” plan and left after church to visit “grandmother’s house” and made sure I prayed away the sins for the day, just for my parents’ sake!
It was a long ride up to Boyztown, but at that moment, I didn’t care. I was so excited for the experience that nothing could really bring me down.
I met this lesbian while I was on the train that was so very pretty. She said I was cute too, like a girl. She made me feel “cunty”, as the young queens will say today. We switched numbers in hopes to hang out later. I figured I had nothing to lose so why not.
I got to Boyztown, wondering where I should go and what to do. The parade was over and I was clueless as to what to do next. Strange and not so strange men were hitting on me and I LOVED It! I felt like my “Pride” has begun!
I called the lesbian I met earlier and she invited me to meet her at Montrose Beach. She was there with her friends and thought it will be cool to hang out. We met up and I was amazed at the sight of people freely showcasing their pride.
I didn’t hang with her very long, and I walked down the stroll for the rest of the time I was there. I got hit on a lot, and shamelessly switched numbers with people too.
The surprising moment was when I ran into a friend of the family. I was scared boots! I wanted to run but he quickly spotted me. We greeted each other, a greeting that could be mistaken for flirting. We switched numbers, promising to keep word, and to hook up later.
The day was getting late and I needed to get home before curfew. I never caught my boyfriend because we played cat and mouse the whole day. Its alright, we didn’t last much longer after that because I found someone to offer me something more substantial.
Luckily, I got home before curfew and I thought I got away with murder. NOT!
So you remember the family friend? Well he outed me! WTF! Of course I denied the whole thing despite the evidence. They never believed it and I was crowned the queen of the town. Looking back, it’s all so funny to me. Well, here’s to the memories.