Okay, I promised some stuff I had left over from but didn’t have room in my last post about the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade & Rally that occurred last Sunday (August 19). Unlike that previous post, I promise I won’t even bring up the controversy that surrounded the parade this year. Nope, this will be all positive. The first thing is that though some of the same socialists who despised the police being at pride also despised the presence of corporate sponsorship (no, I’m not gonna get any darker than that in this post), there was, without mistake, a sincere presence of businesses who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community. Just as with the charities, non-profit organizations, and church and advocacy groups that also populated the parade, they made it known that they truly support our community and do not venture to discriminate against us. That they also do so with their checkbooks and accountants through their sponsorship of Pride does not (and should not) hurt, no matter what your level of disdain of the corporate world. And, yes, sometimes I do think this world has gotten all-corporate, if you know what I mean. Still, I do understand the necessity of having a benevolent, philanthropic sponsor offering cash. Continue reading
It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience. As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy. A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest. In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff. Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform. (Side note: The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.) While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did march in the OutReach Pride parade last weekend. And, yes, I will have a post on it coming very soon. But at this point, I will thank goodness that the parade took place on the warm, pleasant Sunday we had in Madison last weekend, not the wet, stormy Monday that socked us.
For those of you who do not live in Dane County, we were hit with a massive deluge of rain Monday afternoon into Monday evening. How much rain? Judging from the reports I saw, my particular location on Madison’s west side got socked with about 8 inches of rain. That could be an underestimate on my part, considering that locales to the immediate west of Madison got hit much worse, including just under a foot of rain in Middleton and over 15 inches in Cross Plains. It was, according to county emergency management, the all-time Wisconsin record for heaviest rainfall within a 24-hour period.
I’ve been away from WordPress for over a week and, oh boy, has a lot gone on around here. For one, I am in the midst of new temporary employment, which I promise to expound on in a later post. But I want to devote this post to a little something… okay, a rather big something that’s been going on here in Madison, one that has plagued the biggest and most important event in Madison’s LGBT+ community.
I’ll cut to the chase and let you know of the outcome: There will be an OutReach Pride parade this coming Sunday afternoon, starting at the west end of State Street, circling once around Capitol Square, and ending with a rally. And baring anything unforeseen on my end, I will be there as Allison and marching with fellow members of our crossdressing/transgender support group.
You may be reading that and are thinking that there was a possibility that the parade and rally wouldn’t be taking place at all. On the contrary, the event is not in any danger of not taking place. However, it will be taking place without one prominent group of participants — law enforcement. Had they been part of the parade, there would have been another prominent group that would have boycotted the event — those who have real disdain for law enforcement.
Yay! It’s the day of the summer solstice here in Wisconsin, a day to appreciate the abundant amounts of sunshine that make summer, well, summer. If you see any sunshine where you are, would you mind sending some our way? That’s because the weather forecast here in Wisconsin calls for rain all day. And we’ve had more than enough rain the past week or so.
At least the home of my beloved Milwaukee Brewers has a convertible roof to keep out the rain when necessary. And tonight they’ll need it closed, for tonight the Brewers will host their very first “Pride Night” at Miller Park. Themed nights and sports teams go together like hand in well-worn baseball glove, and we’re not just talking “2 brats for $1 nights” either. There have been everything from ethnic heritage nights to weird jersey nights to “retro nights” to movie nights. Of the latter, Star Wars nights have been a big draw the past few years, especially in the minor leagues with their jerseys patterned after, say, Stormtroopers or Jedi masters.
Nights with more grounded themes have also been featured, including “Pride Nights” to celebrate the LGBT community. Major League Baseball has seen an increase in Pride Nights in recent years, though some of its clubs have been laggards in paying official acknowledgement to our community. Heck, whole leagues such as the NBA and WNBA have lapped MLB in paying respect to the LGBT community.
Thankfully, however, MLB has been on the ball (so to speak) in acknowledging and embracing the LGBT community in recent years. And tonight (June 21), the Brewers will become the 23rd MLB team (out of 30) to officially stage a LGBT-oriented event during the 2018 regular season. To borrow a quote from the Brewers’ website, this is a night aimed at “celebrating diversity and inclusion within the Brewers fan base, the Milwaukee community, and all of Major League Baseball.” The events are slated to include a tailgate outside Miller Park held by the Milwaukee Gay Sports Network; the rainbow-themed shirt you see to your right; and, for those who purchased a special ticket package, the opportunity to participate in a pregame parade on the Miller Park warning track. (Yes, the chance to actually go on the field!)
How this Brewers’ Pride Night came about is a sweet story in itself. A year ago, a Milwaukee resident and Brewers fan by the name of Hilary McCabe sent a note to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl lamenting the fact that the Brewers have never held some sort of in-game promotion to connect with the LGBT community. Stingl forwarded that note to the Brewers’ vice-president of communications. A few days after that, the Brewers formally joined the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. And earlier this year, when the Brewers released their roster of theme nights for the 2018 season, a Pride Night was included for the very first time… and appropriately enough during the traditional LGBT pride month of June.
As a Brewers fan and a part of the broad LGBT community, I’m so happy to see that the Brewers are embracing and officially acknowledging the LGBT portion of their fan base and our community as a whole. It’s a great move, and part of a continuing move that began back in 2001 when the Chicago Cubs held their first “Out at Wrigley” event. (Kudos to the Cubs for actually staging two LGBT pride events here in 2018, one earlier this month and the annual Out at Wrigley event coming up in August.) There are now only two Major League Baseball teams who have never held an official pride night during their histories, the Yankees and the Angels. Here’s hoping those two teams will finally get get on the ball (so to speak) and stage their own pride nights in 2019.
Oh, one must-read link to share with you: If you think a pro sports team holding a night to embrace the LGBT community seems like small potatoes to you, think again. Luke Schaetzel of the website SconnieSportsTalk.com (“An official student organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison”) wrote a great opinion piece about the Brewers staging this event. Luke ponders that somewhere out there, some young Brewers fan who’s struggling with their sexual and/or gender identity and feels alone and shut out will tune in to the game tonight and see the rainbow shirts and related paraphanelia. And then, he writes, “That fan, that kid, is going to feel a hell of a lot better knowing their favorite baseball team supports who they are.” Indeed, this relatively small move on the Brewers’ part will make a whole lot of difference in the long run. Please read Luke Schaetzel’s opinion piece at this link.
It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, and I’m pretty much relaxing today. I’m writing this post, of course. I’m also doing a little bit of laundry. And my only form of exercise today has been a leisurely walk around the neighborhood and nearby nature preserve. I’m eschewing my usual Sunday trip to the gym at work to get in some heavy-duty exercise. That’s because I put in a big amount of heavy-duty exercising yesterday.
As I did in 2016 and 2017, I signed up for and ran in the Crazylegs Classic. For those new to this blog and haven’t previously read those posts (or this one), the Crazylegs Classic is an 8-kilometer (4.97-mile) run conducted the last Saturday of every April by the University of Wisconsin—Madison. It’s a fundraiser for the school’s athletic program, with proceeds helping to support operations and low-revenue teams on the Badgers program.
I hope you can forgive my bringing up Christmas in the springtime, but there was a news item this week centered around a kid in 1st grade (a subject for another post, I promise) that allowed a memory from my own days as a 1st grader to resurface in my mind. It was December of that year, and our teacher, Miss H., had our class take part in a Christmas play. The premise of the play was this: Our classroom was a toy store store where the dolls and toys all came to life after the shopkeeper leaves for the night. Yeah, it’s the whole “magic of Christmas” thing.
I won’t try to get too political here, but I want to share some thoughts inspired by a significant recent event, one I’m sure you may have heard about: Last Saturday, millions of students and their adult supporters marched across the country, an effort to highlight the need for stronger, stricter regulations concerning firearms — the “March for Our Lives.” The most publicized march occurred in Washington, D.C., but other “sibling marches” occurred, including here in Madison, where 2,500 participants marched up State Street and convened on the State Capitol grounds. (I wish I hadn’t been preoccupied last Saturday so that I would have joined in.)
My previous post recounted the first part of my busy weekend performing poetry at Mother Fool’s. Here, I want to talk about something from the second half of same weekend, after the trans/CD support group I regularly attend held their meeting. Several of us gathered at a pizza place located, ironically enough, kitty corner from Mother Fool’s. Among our group was a cis-gender ally who was there with her partner. The conversation between the two of us ventured into where we had previously lived and worked, and it raised familiar territory for me: She noted that she used to work in the Green Bay area at… let’s just say it’s a certain company that’s part of a certain industry we’ll need to rely on at least once in our lives. I mentioned to her matter-of-factly that I used to live in Green Bay as well… and I used to work at that very same company, around the same time she had been there. (We worked in separate offices and different departments, natch.)
Okay, okay, you’ve had your fill of me talking about the business world, and I hear you. You want to see an actual new photo of me? Well, let me take care of that right here and now. If you’ve noticed the calendar, it’s still February. And here in Wisconsin, February still means we’re in the grips of winter, no matter what some groundhog may say. And when it’s winter in Wisconsin, one really needs to bundle themselves up before opening the front door and facing winter’s chill and snow. And that includes…
Yep, a winter coat. The past year-plus, I’ve been venturing out of the house as Allison much more often, primarily to support group meetings. Before this winter, I never had a women’s winter coat. No, I don’t mean the leather or denim jackets that occupy my closet; as lovely as they are in their own right, they’re more suited for a season like spring or autumn, when the weather in Wisconsin isn’t as harsh as what winter regularly brings. So, back in December, I moseyed over to the Burlington that’s located here on the West side. When you think of Burlington, you tend to think of coats (it’s website is still BurlingtonCoatFactory.com), although it also features other clothing as well as home decor and gifts. But it’s that “Coat Factory” part of its old name that still makes me think of Burlington as a store for affordable outerwear. And sure enough, this purple Madden Girl coat was on the sales rack.