Out(fit) and Proud
This last June 24th was my third Chicago Gay Pride Parade with the Outfit and, at the risk of being trite and mushy, every year it reminds me how much I've come to love this league and the people in it. The pride parade has become something of a "national" holiday for us, perhaps one of the few weeks where a little time off skates is celebrated and Sunday scrimmage is cancelled without remorse. I liken it to a sort of Outfit Independence Day, barbecue and all, that allows us to celebrate something that is truly ingrained in the fabric of our organization: an unapologetic pride in what and who we are and a strong sense of support for that idea from many, very different, people.
The Outfit has, historically, been a bastion of the gay community in Chicago and has never shied away from that label or fact. As long as I've been around the Outfit has been gay and, proverbially, "pumped about it." I think what is great about the pride inherent in the league's culture, though, is it's lack of exclusivity. It's simply not limited to those on our league who are gay, our pride is a statement of support and strength from every member: straight, gay or something on between. In short, what we have in common on the subject (and what, this skater believes, makes Pride such an event for us) is not so much about how gay we are or aren't, but how unique it is that we're able to celebrate this fact without dissent.
So, in this spirit, I write to you as another Pride has come to a close. Beads were thrown, fishnet sunburns made grill patterns across our thighs and we all collapsed in a sweaty, glittery pile on the shores of Lake Michigan. Sitting in Lola and Cheese's backyard, our ears ringing with the "OUT-fit, OUT-fit" chants that had echoed down Halsted street some hours before, there was a sense that we had once again shown our fair city a great part of ourselves and that, above all, we were happy to be Outfit.