It has been years since I’d visited Boystown. On my second day of being a tourist in my own city, I toured a friend of mine who is new to Chicago – to Boystown. I wanted to check out the rainbow crosswalks that have been in the news lately and also the Legacy Walk that is new on Halsted St.
There were the usual familiar bars, some old, some new and even newer to me were the several street murals that added much more local color to the street. And of course the extra wonderful rainbow crosswalks – although I have seen these before in San Francisco, and apparently a city in Cebu has also these, according to my newly-landed to Chicago friend from the Philippines.
Of course the iconic rainbow pylons which were erected in 1998 to commemorate the neighborhood as a gay neighborhood – the first officially designated gay neighborhood in the US by a city – are still there, ten pairs of them. But now, these pylons are festooned with bronze plaques each.
The plaques comnemorate LGBTQs – the life and work of notable lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals whose achievements have helped shape the world – but whose contributions, sexual orientation or gender identity have been overlooked, minimized or redacted entirely from most historic texts. Thus, the Legacy Walk (or Legacy Project). It is supposed to be the largest collection of bronze memorials in the world and the world’s only outdoor museum walk and youth education program dedicated to combating anti-gay bullying by celebrating LGBT contributions to history.
Good job, Chicago!