New gay boy in town …By Sebastian Saenz

new gay boy in town sebastian saenz

A few days after I arrived to the windy city, a friend of mine told me that Chicago has the advantages of big cities, without it actually being to big and chaotic. Also that it is beautiful and the gay scene not too complicated; and so far he has been right. I got here a month ago from Mexico City, and so far my expectations have not been let down. I actually visited this city a couple years ago for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and I have great memories from those crazy days, but this time it’s different since I intend to stay for a few months, looking for a change in my life.

I’ve actually been privileged and visited and even lived in some of the most exciting and multicultural cities in the world: London, Paris, Berlin, Florence, Lima, Cancun, Oslo, New York, and of course, Mexico City, just to name a few. And even though I love the beach for quiet vacations every now and then, and I am capable of camping for a few weeks, I have to admit I’m a city boy. I love the people, the night life, the culture, the history, the food, the streets, the fashion… So, of course, I am having a lot of fun adapting to this city.

Of course Chicago has a lot to offer to everybody, tourists and locals. Seems a bit unnecessary to mention Millennium and Lincoln parks, the zoos, the museums, the shops, the baseball and hockey games, the theaters, the river, the breathtakingly tall buildings, and of course, the deep dish pizza and the hot dogs. However, I must confess, I come from a blessed place in terms of weather, and this June has been a roller coaster, and I’ve been told to get ready for a very cold winter if I am still here by then.

But let’s get to the point, the scene: Soho, Les Marais, The Pink Zone, Castro, WeHo… and now we have Boystown and Andersonville. Gay districts all over the world have become famous for welcoming our community, offering friendly entertainment and nightlife options that satisfy our taste of music and people. And I could not have arrived to Illinois in a better time of the year for my community, since June is Pride month, and expectations have been exceeded. The gay scene in Chicago has given me some interesting perspectives.

Obviously the locals are gorgeous, and the variety is immense: twinks, bears, daddies, redheads, Middle Eastern, Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, athletic, jocks, preppy, trashy, trendy, and the list goes on. But this has gone beyond: an unintentional social experiment. In some ways Chicago hardly differs from other cities in the Western hemisphere. We all wear Calvin Klein and Banana Republic, we all smell of Abercrombie and Paco Rabanne, we all dance to RiRi and Madge, we all drink beer and Cosmos, and we all use Grindr. However, some differences have appeared too. Chicagoans do not dress up as much to go out dancing, they are more into Hip Hop (not my favorite style), and are a bit more aggressive when it comes to… let’s say getting numbers (not that I’m complaining, but maybe I’m more used to Mexico’s more timid approach).

Even though in Mexico we celebrate Pride every last Saturday of June, I had no idea Chicago made a month out of it. Parties, festivals and special events throughout the whole month have been vast and fun. Pride Month was everything I could have asked for, with maybe some extra harnesses. I loved that the parade was not only for fun, but that actual activist groups (such as police men, politicians, NGOs, judges and families) were present, raising civic participation. All the festivities were organized, clean and amusing. And of course, we all had to celebrate the now national possibility to walk down the aisle.

Chicago has been welcoming, and a great experience so far. I really hope to find ways to stay longer. It is, without a doubt, a city that offers everything, no matter your background. I definitely made the correct decision coming here, and most people that have visited this city might agree with me. So, for those who have not come, put it at the top of the To Do pile.