Halloween: The Festival of Queers

by: Adam Guerino

Chicago has gone glaad! With frolicking boys in short short shorts and when half of the women you see on the streets aren’t women at all, you might wonder: Did I wander into a drag show? Is it the gay pride parade? It’s neither; it’s both; it’s Halloween. Bigger than the season premiere of Glee, Madonna’s birthday or body shot night at the Manhandler, Halloween is the Super Bowl Sunday of Holigays.

Gasp. What? But you already have the gay pride parade! you shout with your mind words. Well, yes and no. Mostly, the gays avoid the parade the same way New Yorkers avoid Times Square: it’s become a parody of itself full of soccer moms. But it’s true, we stole Halloween. And we’re not giving it back until our demands are met.

But why Halloween? you wonder with your mind words. Couldn’t you just take Sweetest Day instead? No, Halloween belongs to the queers. Here’s why:

First, the pure theatrics of it all scream “Mary.” Let’s face facts, people: from the make-up to the costumes, we run this show. Second, gender-bending and ambiguity. For the only time of the year, it’s acceptable to do what we do all year long: blur gender lines, wear what we want or nothing at all. Third, this may shock you, but not a lot of queers feel at home with religion. It’s hard to find one that consistently has believed we do or should exist. So Christmas doesn’t interest us. (I mean… as a rule, if you hate me, I don’t care if it’s your son’s birthday. In fact, we may even root for the other team.)

Also, allow me to elaborate on a staple of literature that may explain why the gays love Halloween so much: the day everyone is a freak is the day the freak belongs. Example: from a classic story as old as time, boy meets girl, but boy has a hunchback. In the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame — or at least in the Disney movie because I never got around to reading the book — there’s a costume party called The Festival of Fools. While there, Quasimodo, the boy so lonely he anthropomorphisizes statues to the point of schizophrenia, feels as though he belongs. I’m carrying on but what I’m trying to say is: homosexuality is like having a hunchback. And on Halloween, the one day nobody seems to notice, you’re going to live it up by turning that day into double 4-day weekends.

So you’re probably wondering with your thought words, What are your demands? Well, if you ever want to see your holiday again, you’ll follow these instructions: The next time you’re walking down the street and see a lovely lady in heels with an Adam’s apple, neither snicker, point, nor laugh. And the next time you notice a large percentage of the population only feels comfortable being themselves in public one day a year, ask yourself: Is this really their problem? Because, if everyone felt free, nobody would feel the need to celebrate liberation.

Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a stand-up comedian event producer. Guerino is the creator of OutLoud Chicago a production effort bringing queer entertainment to the mainstream with rotating venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies and Barefoot Ballad at The Hideout. His benefit series We Are Halsted seeks to get the queer community to support the queer community by raising funds and awareness for queer homeless youth. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events,www.adamguerino.com.


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