Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-06-28
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Event brings bar community 'Out of the Bars and Into the Streets'
Video below
by Kirk Williamson
2016-11-07

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Chicago Votes and Organized Grime combined forces Nov. 5 to encourage the Windy City's LGBTQ nightlife community to join together and make their individual and combined voices heard and to get "Out of the Bars and Into the Streets."

The gathering and march, which Chicago Votes' Derek Bagley spearheaded, was an effort to harness the crackling energy of the local queer bar scene and to channel it directly into the voting booth to make a statement about the power of community to effect change.

The event kicked off at noon at Replay, 3439 N. Halsted St., in Lake View's Boystown neighborhood. The atypically warm and sunny November weather mirrored the enthusiasm of the spectrum of attendees, featuring nightlife ambassadors and performers, flag-draped bisexual warriors, spiked-heel wearing leather-clad veterans, and everyone in between.

At 1 p.m., Bagley and fellow Chicago Votes activist, field and outreach manager Nicole Johnson spurred the bar patrons to join them outside to begin the march, all with the aid of a couple of bullhorns, amplifying the influential words of Replay's own hostess, Debbie Fox and Organized Grime's Ryan Willing. Bagley and Johnson offered some inspirational words to the crowd of about 50 supporters and then stepped off southward down Halsted Street, bullhorns aloft. As the colorful contingent proceeded to the polling place, the Merlo Branch Public Library at 644 W. Belmont Ave., rallying slogans included, "We're here, we're queer, we're voting;" "Out of the bar and into the streets;" and, at one very specific stretch of the parade route, "Out of Steamworks and into the streets."

Bagley took inspiration, as well as the title of the event itself, from a line in the Harvey Milk biopic Milk. "After doing a little research about how they organized the Castro in the '70s around Harvey Milk's election," Bagley continued, "the idea is that our bars and our clubs are our sanctuaries. We go into them and we commune in these spaces, almost like a church, but that's where we almost isolate ourselves. We have to get out of the bar and into the streets because our community has a history of marching, getting angry in the streets, making our presence known and if we are only in the confines of our sacred spaces, our visibility declines."

Asked about his role with Chicago Votes, which describes itself, according to its website, as "a non-partisan, non-profit organization building a more inclusive democracy by putting power in the hands of young Chicagoans," development director Bagley replied, "I was given an opportunity here, this year, to do some organizing in my own community. What's really nice about Chicago Votes is that it allows us to have opportunities beyond what our job descriptions are and really get into the meat of issues that we're passionate about. And so for me, it was queer organizing and I'm honored to be a part of this event today."

As Chicago Votes focuses primarily on young voters, Bagley opined on the topic of youth engagement in the current election. "I think that it's pretty united that we have to do it," offered Bagley, "but the issues is, I think, especially among the younger generation ... that there's sort of an apathetic viewpoint to it. It's like, 'Oh, I'll get to it when I can,' or, 'I'll just come out and party,' and these sorts of things. I think that the whole idea of this event itself is to mix our party life, our club life, our church life, with that of civic activism and action and that's really what I've seen."

Johnson also weighed in on the topic of millennial engagement and expanded on the mission of Chicago Votes. "We have parades at different high schools, different community colleges throughout the city. We're on the South Side, we're on the West Side, we're at White College, we're at Hyde Park, we're at Lindblom, we're at Harper. So we get the kids riled up and pumped to go to the polls and we discuss the issues and we share with them the voter guides and then we go parade to the poll, literally."

As the parade members finally reached the polling location, they joined the already extensive line and waited for their turns to be heard. Among the many participating voices in the crowd was Andrew Levi Belford, a U.S. Navy veteran and a queer leatherman. "I believe it's everybody's right to vote," Belford said. "I fought for this country, people have died for this country and ... you need to get out and let your voice be heard. ... It's your God-given right and it's a right that I have fought to protect for you. So make sure you get out and vote, if not for me, then for the people that have come before you."

Pekky Marquez, aka The Bi Princess, gave a unique perspective: "I've been in this country for 18 years, I've been a Green Card holder for only two and I still cannot vote. That's why I tell American citizens, 'Don't take this right for granted. Go vote. You don't know what can be in your hands. It's very important to vote; you can effect the change. And I'm here to support you, to be behind you as an American resident who aspires to be a citizen and help you to fight for your process.'"

Performer Kat Sass added, "I feel absolutely privileged and delighted to be here to exercise my right to vote and to work with Chicago Votes and, as a member of the gay community, I feel like we need to have our voices heard and that everyone needs to be active and activated."

"I came today for my friend Drew Leinonen and his partner, Juan Ramon Guerrero, who were killed at Pulse," said paradegoer Ezra Meadors in a tribute to his departed loved ones.

Perhaps the most succinct statement was offered by Andrew Kain Miller, who simply asserted, "We represent everything they are scared of—and we vote."





facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Cassidy backs Biss for governor 2017-06-28 - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss announced the endorsement of state Rep. Kelly Cassidy. In a statement, Cassidy said, in part, "Daniel is the ...


Gay News

National LGBTQ Task Force Delivers HHS Restoration of Sexual Orientation Question 2017-06-28 - WASHINGTON, DC—The National LGBTQ Task Force ( "the Task Force" ) is celebrating the restoration by the Department of Health and Human Services ...


Gay News

Dyke March Collective member responds to criticism and attacks 2017-06-28 - During the rally at Piotrowski Park which followed the 2017 Chicago Dyke March held June 24 in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, an incident ...


Gay News

PRIDE '17 Navy Pier holds second Pride celebration 2017-06-28 - =On June 24, thousands of people journeyed to Navy Pier's Pier Pride for a day filled with fun and entertainment along the lakefront. ...


Gay News

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Taylor Mac's here for 'Hir' 2017-06-28 - Acclaimed out playwright and drag-performance artist Taylor Mac is back in Chicago. But instead of donning glittery deconstructed drag onstage to entertain and ...


Gay News

BOOKS Nathaniel Frank chronicles the road to marriage equality 2017-06-28 - Nathaniel Frank trained as a historian, but found his calling covering what he calls "first drafts" of recent events. "In graduate school ...


Gay News

PRIDE '17 Unofficial Pride gathering at Montrose Harbor 2017-06-27 - Despite the closure of the annual Pride at Montrose Festival in 2016, members of the LGBTQ community gathered for the traditional post parade ...


Gay News

PRIDE '17 Back Lot Bash thrills A-ville 2017-06-27 - This year, the popular Andersonville Pride festival of dancing, DJs and world-class talent took place oer two weekends. Here are some images from ...


Gay News

PRIDE '17 Pride North returns to Rogers Park 2017-06-27 - DJs, dancing and sunshine all helped to spread Pride rainbows across Chicago's northernmost neighborhood. The Pride North Festival, which took place along Glenwood ...


Gay News

PATIO BEEF AT THE SOFO TAP 2017-06-27 - A new Andersonville Pride tradition with Moose the DJ. Photos by Kirk Williamson ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.