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Pride isn't over yet in Chicago

OPINION

July 04, 2013|By Lenox Magee, @LenoxMagee | For RedEye

A record crowd of more than 1 million people turned out Sunday for the Gay Pride Parade in Boystown. Awesome! What a great time this is for the gay community.

Yet what many people may not know is there's another celebration this weekend that flies far under the mainstream media's radar: Black Pride. United Black Pride is the organization that brings it all together with parties, concerts, health workshops and poetry slams at venues throughout the city.

Here is the million-dollar question: Why do we have two separate Pride festivities?

Some critics say the split serves only to drive a wedge between the city's black and white gay communities. That's true—and unfortunate—but as with all things racial, it's not that simple.

Yes, it's behind the times that our gay communities are still segregated, especially considering all the legal advancements surrounding gay rights on the state and federal levels. Legally, we're getting things together, but as a community we're still very much apart.

Let me be frank: In some gay circles, the annual Pride weekend in Chicago is considered the "white Pride" parade, and some blacks stay away. From my experience attending Gay Pride Parades since I was a teenager, I've never understood why there are so few people who look like me on the floats.

Black Pride helps rally the black gay community around the challenges that are more prevalent in our community: homophobia within our families, prostitution among teenagers, poverty and the one that really hurts my soul—homeless gay teens.

It would be nice if we had one Pride to take over the city. But until then, let's just celebrate one more Pride together this weekend. All of us.

Lenox Magee is a RedEye special contributor.

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