I know you all are sick of Chicago Chicago Chicago all the time on the Slog, but tough shit.
I mean happy Pride Day! Two items from Chicago's Pride Parade are, I think, good indicators of how things have changed in a relatively short period of time.
First, from the invaluable Neil Steinberg, a column about gay cops in Chicago. Money quotes:
In 1992, when five Chicago Police officers marched in the city's Gay Pride Parade — the first time cops publically participated in that event — fellow officers working crowd control snubbed them as they passed.
"They turned their backs on us," said Kathy Dore, one of the five, who retired last year after 27 years on the force.
The Fraternal Order of Police (the cop union in Chicago) had a float in the Parade in 1999, and now the city is hosting a conference for GLBT law enforcement.
As the meeting [about the conference] ended, District 23 Cmdr. Kathleen Boehmer stopped by to say hello. She's taking part in the conference.
"We see this as something good for the department," she said. "We get to talk to officers from all over the world — it's a chance to learn from them."
As someone on the force 31 years, who remembers "a department with not many women on it," Boehmer said much has changed.
"The diversity is amazing," she said.
So is the hot sports action! Not only are the champion Blackhawks sending the Stanley Cup, the Cubs owners and Hall of Famer Ernie banks, my childhood hero also rode in the Parade. The Cubs ownership team is notable in that it includes the first openly gay owner of a major sports franchise, Laura Ricketts. So, the team might still suck, but we're proud, damnit.
Of course, someone had to point out that the Blackhawks didn't send their best-looking players . . . at least one of whom is busy in a straighter way.