Bonus: Rainbow Magic at the Belmont Rocks

Aug 3, 2020 · 1985 views

Owen Keenan and folks enjoying the Chicago sunshine at the Belmont Rocks. Source: Belmont Rocks Facebook group.

Although we like to think of our LGBT spots as permanent places that will always be there, the reality is that they come and go. Afterall, for much of human history, people were nomads, moving from place to place.

Today writer and historian Owen Keehnan joins us to talk about the rainbow magic at the Belmont Rocks, a very public space in the heart of Chicago’s lakefront park where gender and sexual non conformists hung out in the sun to find community and a little bit of love in the early days of the gay rights movement.

[Originally posted as FOF #2540 – Rainbow Magic at the Belmont Rocks – 10.12.17]

A young couple snuggles up in the sun while listening to music on their walkman, drinking Cherry Coke. Source: Belmont Rocks Facebook group.

Don’t even try it, miss thing. Graffiti art by Ralfka Gonzalez.

The Belmont Rocks are not what it used it be but so many people have fond remembrances of the place that Owen has started a community project “A Place for Us: LGBTQ Life at The Belmont Rocks” where people can submit their photos or stories of their time spent at the Rocks.

Listen as we talk about why the gay beach isn’t the same thing as the Rocks, the legacy of Chuck Renslow and IML, Jim Flint and the Baton Club and how Chicago became an international city of crossdressers and leathermen.

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