May 6, 2024 - News

LGBTQ+ groups push back on scaled-down Pride Parade

Photo of people watching a parade holding a flag that says "You Matter"

People hold a rainbow flag during the 51st LGBTQ Pride Parade in Chicago in 2022. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ groups in Chicago are calling on Mayor Brandon Johnson to reverse plans to scale back this summer's Pride Parade.

Why it matters: Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the Chicago Pride Parade has become one of the nation's largest such events, drawing an estimated 1 million residents and visitors to Lakeview.

Catch up quick: Johnson announced last month the parade would kick off an hour earlier, at 11am June 30, and have fewer floats, 125, down from 199.

  • City officials cited safety concerns, saying they lack enough police officers to cover the event.
  • They also pointed to an ordinance saying parades can last no more than 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Yes, but: The city has not enforced that ordinance on other parades such as the St. Patrick's Day Parade or Bud Billiken Parade.

The latest: Members of Chicago's Advisory Council on LGBTQ+ Affairs last week released a public statement criticizing the new parade plan, and they say they were excluded from the decision process, Windy City Times first reported.

  • The council first learned of the scaled-back event through media reports, council co-chair Jin-Soo Huh tells Axios.

Between the lines: Huh says that because the mayor didn't consult his handpicked council about the largest LGBTQ+ event of the year, it makes him question how much they'll be able to advise the city on issues affecting their community.

What they're saying: "There is an urgency because we found out about this about two months before the Pride Parade was set to launch, and realistically if anybody wants to be in the parade … they do need to know probably by [this] week," Huh says.

The other side: "City agencies are working with the organizer and community representatives to identify a route and duration time of the parade that can assist with the overall allocation of resources for the parade and post-parade celebration to remain a safe and successful celebration," city spokesperson Erica Schroeder says.

What's next: Huh tells Axios members of the council had a productive meeting late Friday with the mayor's office and that updates could come this week.

  • "We're a resilient community, and we'll celebrate and we'll work harder. I think that hopefully things are restored, and then also in the long term, you know, something we call for in the letter was a long-term community engagement."

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