Forty-two years ago about 200 people marched from Washington Square Park to the Water Tower as part of the Chicago Pride Parade. This year, an estimated three quarters of a million people will march in the parade.
The Chicago Pride Parade is held annually the last Sunday of June. The parade, scheduled to begin at noon, will include floats, marching bands, performance groups and marchers ranging from members of PFLAG to members of the First Congregational Church. Throughout the weekend there are other activities such as Pride Fest and Chicago Dyke March.
This weekend of LGBT Pride events was sparked by an event on June 28, 1969 in which Stonewall Inn, a predominantly gay bar,was raided by police. While this was not an uncommon occurrence, the riots that followed certainly were. Thanks in part to the protests, at the end of July an alliance formally known as the Gay Liberation Front was formed. The alliance demanded gay rights, and other similar alliances began to form soon after. Now, almost 50 years later, people around the nation come together at the end of June to celebrate the LGBT community.
This weekend, the festivities begin Friday with Pride Fest. This two day festival brings our community together with arts and crafts, food, and various other vendors, as well as live music performances by artists such as JoJo, Frenchie Davis, and Martha Wash.
In addition to Pride Fest, the Chicago Dyke March will be occurring at 3 pm at Margate Park on Saturday. Dyke March began in 1993 in Washington DC and has grown from there. It now occurs in many major cities, including Chicago, and serves to increase lesbian activism and awareness. This year’s march will be in the Uptown area and will remain on the sidewalks.
The weekend is sure to be fun for all people, and everyone is welcome and encouraged to take part in the festivities. This year in particular is one of great celebration for the LGBT community, as President Obama recently officially proclaimed June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.”
“This month, we reflect on their enduring legacy, celebrate the movement that has made progress possible, and recommit to securing the fullest blessings of freedom for all Americans,” Obama said in an official proclamation.