by: Erica Feliciano
A robbery has taken place in the Boystown community of Lakeview. The culprit? Wal-Mart. The big box, neighborhood-ruining store has made its way into Lakeview’s Boystown and has robbed the LGBT community of its parade route. And just when you think we don’t even need the one, there are plans in the works for another Lakeview location. You know that World Market off of Broadway and Diversey? Yep, they’re closing up shop and Wal-Mart is pushing its way into our neighborhood, again, just like the bully it is known to be.
As of late 2011 Wal-Mart officially announced its location, north of Addison on Broadway. This announcement happened shortly before the announcement that Chicago’s 2012 Pride parade would see a change in the parade route. The new parade route will begin at Montrose and make its way south on Broadway onto Halsted, then heading east on Belmont only to go south, again, on Broadway. The Alderman claims that this new route is to make the parade run smoother, to accommodate the ever growing crowd. Isn’t it convenient that the new route will not pass by this ill placed Wal-Mart? Is this just coincidence, or did a certain big box store pay a certain alderman to make sure the gays don’t parade in front of their establishment? I think I smell foul play.
I will admit that Wal-Mart has made donations to both the Center on Halsted ($12,000) and Howard Brown Health Center ($25,000). I think it’s a load of BS. They’re handing out cash to LGBT organizations to make good face. In doing so, this helps no one to suspect that they could have possibly paid the alderman and/or the city, to change the route of the Pride parade. They don’t mind taking money of LGBT individuals; they just don’t want us parading our pride in front of their store. It would be too much of a gay invasion for the racist/homophobic/Southern based store.
The Alderman says the new parade route is a way of easing the large crowds. Why couldn’t they have started the parade more south of Broadway, on Halsted, hence keeping the same route of going down Halsted and Broadway, two of Boystown’s main streets? Mr. Alderman, why are you keeping the Pride parade from marching down the strip where the big box store has set up shop? All of the stores on that strip made money from the parade goers. This is just the beginning stages of how Wal-Mart is going to put smaller stores in our community out of business. Areas that have succumbed Wal-Mart store have gone downhill. Nothing good comes of having such a store in their community, especially in the city of Chicago.
I’m not quite sure who, exactly, shops at the Wal-Mart Express in Lakeview. If you’re reading this, and you do shop there, I suggest you stop. It’s not good for the economy and it’s not good for your health. Just look at the people that shop at Wal-Mart. Is that who you really wish to associate yourself with? At least shop at Target, if you’re choosing to shop at a big box store. (Although, I do have a bone to pick with Target, that’s a whole other story in itself.)
So, is it true that Wal-Mart paid to change the route of the Pride parade? I’m not certain. This is just based on my own speculations. I just hope it’s not true, for the sake of the Boystown and LGBT community.
Note: This piece represents our author’s theory and the editors support her right to investigation into alleged reasons that the parade may have been moved. We believe that transparency and honesty makes our community healthy, as does honest inquiry.
Erica Feliciano grew up in Indiana knowing she’d be one of two things: 1. A lesbian 2. A writer. Lucky for her, she turned out to be both! After graduating from the University of Central Florida, with a degree in Creative Writing, she moved back to the Midwest. In Chicago she found a community, a home, and her amazing wife. Besides writing, Erica enjoys drinking too much at brunch on Sundays and shopping for watches. She hopes to, one day, write and produce good quality films and TV shows.