Friday, March 1, 2019

Is Chicago as open-minded as we want to believe? We’re going to find out

Two Draped Females, Etruscan, 3rd century (Met)
     What do Burr Tillstrom and I have in common?
     Partial credit if you said “an inordinate interest in puppets.” Tillstrom created “Kukla, Fran and Ollie,” a Chicago kiddie TV show in the late 1940s that broke into national popularity.
     And I’ve written about more puppetry than I have about football, certainly more than is wise for a man supposedly trying to align his work with the interests of his readers. Though in my defense, I missed the International Puppetry Festival this year because, frankly, I forgot. So safe to say that my passion for puppetry is far below Tillstrom’s.
     But puppetry is not the answer I’m looking for. No, Tillstrom and I are both members of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame — inducted in the same class in 2013, in fact.
     I’ve never put that in the paper before. Not that I’m ashamed of it — I’m proud. I’ve got the three-inch tall chunk of crystal they give members right here, with the Seal of the City and my name and “Friend of the Community” lest anybody suspect that being inducted means I’m gay — Seinfeld fans, all together now: Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Portrait Busts of Two Women (Met)
     No, I haven’t mentioned this before because I’m modest, or pretend to be, and don’t like to tout what scant honors I receive. Plus it wasn’t germane to whatever I was talking about. Now it is, I think, because I want to put into context my reaction to a certain aspect of our historic mayoral election.
     Wednesday morning. WBBM radio was reporting the scene from the Lightfoot campaign headquarters the night before, and noted that Lightfoot’s wife and 10-year-old daughter joined her at the celebration.
     At “wife” I sorta … the word I first thought was “flinched,” but the truth is something far milder, not at all physical. Ten times milder. A shift, like hearing the single peal of bell, far away.

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  1. I wonder if "started" might be a better word than "flinched." Demonstrates the momentary surprise without the negative connotation.

  2. It was the North Side lakefront wards that put Lightfoot over the top. I was going to vote for Vallas, but when I heard the results of the last poll & it showed a three way tie among Taxwinkle, Lightfoot & that corrupt as hell pile of shit Daley, I then voted for Lightfoot on Tuesday & will again vote for her in April.
    I'm not gay & don't care if she is, but even though I disagree with some of her ideas, she's a hell of a lot better than Taxwinkle, who's still connected, lock, stock & barrel, to that other corrupt pile of shit, Joe Berrios, who's responsible for my ridiculously high real estate tax assessment!
    Another reason why early voting is stupid, if your candidate is losing badly & there's a close race among the top few, you can at least help the least bad choice.

  3. The labels describe gender and duties, that is a fact. Hearing a man mention his husband seems unnatural to a man my age, perhaps younger generations will be more comfortable with it. Maybe new terms will arise to indicate a same sex spouse, I suspect using 'spouse' alone doesn't satisfy those who take their marital situations seriously. Assigning a sexual preference, like lesbian, seems uncivil in a way, but maybe just to me. However one wants to describe oneself is fine with me. While I am uncomfortable watching two men kiss on screen, it occurred to me that seeing a man and woman in such intimacy is equally icky. It is more important for us to be free tote ourselves than for everyone else to be comfortable it. Congratulations on your award.

  4. Well, I'm glad I don't have to explain the nuances of naming same-sex spouses. At this time, it seems to me whatever you call them is going to sound a bit awkward. We'll get used to, I think.


  5. I too am getting used to reading and hearing "my husband" and "my wife" from non-heterosexual couples.
    Slow but steady steps of understanding and acceptance leading us onward.

  6. Lightfoot's or anyone else's sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with whether they could function effectively as mayor (or in any other job). Hopefully enough people will realize that.


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