Chicago celebrates at the 52nd annual Pride Parade

By Izzie Rutledge, Staff Reporter

Thousands of people gathered on Sunday, June 25 to celebrate the 52nd annual Chicago Pride Parade across the Uptown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. The parade is just one of many events held in celebration of pride month in the city, including Pride Fest, Pride in the Park and the upcoming Pride South Side. 

People crowded the streets from Broadway to Diversey along the parade route, dressed in rainbows, glitter and colorful clothing while waving variously representative LGBTQ+ flags. They danced and cheered together to classic pride songs, one being Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” while floats and parade marchers made their way along the route. Participants ranged from dancers to drag queens to the city’s leaders, including Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. 

Chicago’s Pride Parade traces its roots back to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. The first parade was held a year later on the first anniversary of the protests.

Sophia Hassel and Makenna Swanei are originally from Ohio and attended their first Chicago Pride Parade this year. Swanei said she was pleased to be a part of an event with such a welcoming environment. 

“I love all of the energy and, like, even being on the train coming in the train ride you usually are sitting and nobody is chatting, but everybody was making friends on the way here,” Swanei said. 

Rory Peters said they were excited to return to pre-COVID Pride festivities. 

“I feel like the past couple of years have still kind of been like, with Covid, it hasn’t been as easy but like, things have opened up again,” Peters said. 

Chicagoan Elaine Cheirit said she wants to see even more people attending and supporting Pride events in future Pride celebrations. 

“I hope that more people come out and more people are tolerant and accepting of everyone,” she said. 

Caleb Miller, a Columbia graduate, said he felt “extremely” safe knowing that safety officials such as firefighters and police officers were at the parade and because of Chicago’s laws protecting LGBTQ+ people. 

“Chicago has all the political backing to it which just means it’s more open and safer, I feel,” Miller said. Officers are “walking in the parade too, which also means that they’re gonna be looking out for everyone, not just those who present a certain way or those who are paler or anything like that.”

Indianapolis native Gracie Baker attended her first Chicago Pride this year. She said pride is about being “your authentic self” and wants more people to get to a place where they can become that. 

“Hopefully every day we’re getting closer to people being able to be their authentic selves. This can be a good practice for who you’re supposed to be and that’s okay,” Baker said.