Chicago’s my man, my Pedro Infante, if you will. I have a love affair with the City of Broad Shoulders (and tiny cinturas), and the Second City (to none). I first fell in love with Chicago when I realized as a young queer Latino that he accepted me as I am, without any prejuicios. You may think that being queer and Latino would be a challenge, but my Pedrito has opened so many doors for me and others just like me. The truth is that being a queer Latino in Chicago couldn’t be more badass. Let me break it down for you and tell you why the Latino LGBT community here has put Chicago on the map and become more visible than ever.
Maybe you didn’t know that…
• In 2002, Chicago made history when it began broadcasting the first Spanish-language queer radio show in U.S. history, “Homofrecuencia.” The show airs on Radio Arte 90.5FM, and broadcasts from Pilsen.
• In 2004, the same organizers of “Homofrecuencia” took things a step further and organized one of the first Latino queer proms in the country. The annual event draws between 200 and 250 youngins every year and is one of the most popular queer Latino youth events in Chicago.
• In 2006, Chicago, my man, stepped up to the plate and became the host city of the Gay Games. The National Museum of Mexican Art became one of the first sponsors and offered a welcoming reception and salute for Latin American athletes.
• In 2008, the longstanding Dyke March organizers decided to make a bold move and relocate the march to Pilsen. This helped bring visibility to Chicago’s mujeres-who-love-mujeres community. And while you may think that mothers nodded in disbelief covering their hijos’ ojos, the response was quite the opposite. Pilsen welcomed the Dyke march.
• In 2010, a group of LGBTQ Latin activistas came together to organize the first ever LGBTQ Pride Week. Chicago now has a week-long Latino LGBT pride celebration with events happening throughout this handsome city.
So this Valentine’s Day I’ll be raising a glass in honor of my man, my Pedro Infante, my Chicago. He’s been there for me, time and time again. So, I’ll be toasting to him and thanking him for all his love and support throughout the years. My viejo has accepted me tal y como soy and I accept him just as he is too, a veces un poco dulce y cálido, y a veces un poco frio pero todo mío. Isn’t that the way amor goes? So, to my Pedro Infante, my handsome Chicago, te doy gracias por todo.
Con mucho amor,
Tu novio, Jorge Valdivia