Is Wal-Mart Paying the Gay Away?: Speculation on Why the Pride Parade Route Was Changed

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.

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8 responses to “Is Wal-Mart Paying the Gay Away?: Speculation on Why the Pride Parade Route Was Changed

  1. I am on this one with you, think you are on to something for sure.Lets just gay it up in front of there anyway.

  2. While I don’t doubt it as a possibility, I think it’s a bit disingenuous to not back up your hypothesis with at least some research. Pull up the financial filings for the Alderman and see the gamut of donations — who are the people’s employers? What companies contributed? Without such detail, or demonstrable requests for such detail, your otherwise outstanding writing and compelling hypothesis is reduced to the lowest common denominator with media-outlets-that-shall-not-be-named: other-making and fear-mongering.

    • Daniel, I agree with you. Facts were not included due to the time frame I had to write the piece. That is why it’s based on speculation. It is meant to get minds thinking, to ask questions, and to get discussions rolling.

  3. I hate Walmart, I really do. But I completely disagree with the author saying, “Just look at the people that shop at Wal-Mart. Is that who you really wish to associate yourself with?” I think it’s hypocritical and wrong to judge the people who shop there. I mean, isn’t judgement one of the many things we are fighting against? Most of family and many of my friends back home shop at Walmart simply because it’s affordable. While I don’t think that they should shop there and should consider alternatives, I still love them. So, yes, they are people I choose to associate myself with.

  4. I’m sorry but its super easy to see that the route was changed to keep the crowds from getting boxed in as they had in previous years. Just take half a second and compare the maps and tell me which one would be better for crowd control. I know this is an opinion piece but even opinions need to be based on more than a rumor and shade. The “gay”borhood is expanding so starting a bit north and ending further south wasn’t a bad thing. Walmart is the outsider that is out to destroy local businesses but that doesn’t make them anti gay pride. Please prove me wrong and find some facts to back this up. I mean the city fought the Catholic Church for the new route and at the end of the day I imagine that they caused way more guff then Walmart ever would have.

  5. You have no evidence for your theory and a couple of pieces of evidence against it (the company’s donated to LGBT orgs here, and stores on the parade route make more money because of it). You even admit it’s just speculation. So why even print it? That’s not ”investigation” or ”transparency” — it’s just talking out of your ass. If you want to investigate you should do that and then write your piece AFTER you discover some shred of evidence. Hopefully leaving out the classist aspersions you cast on Wal-Mart shoppers.

    Being on a tight deadline is no excuse for this sort of sloppy, shoddy work — you could have posted some personal reflections on your life instead. Neither is ”I just wanted to get people talking.” You’re getting them talking based on accusations with no basis in reality, so what is the point of that?

    I’m not saying this to help Wal-Mart — I just think it’s bad for the credibility of In Our Words. This piece is not about honesty because there are no facts involved to be honest about. It’s not about transparency, because there’s no attempt to shine sunlight into government offices. The editors should not have posted this piece.

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