2020 Chicago Pride Parade officially canceled

Thu. June 11, 2020 12:08 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

2019 chicago pride parade

photo credit // clinton bigelow

No Pride Parade, but other solidarity events drawing interest

The City of Chicago on Tuesday canceled “all permitted special events,” including Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, and other annual summer traditions through Labor Day. The announcement seemingly included the 2020 Chicago Pride Parade, scheduled for June 28.

Organizers on Thursday confirmed the cancellation of the annual parade to GoPride.com. The parade, which draws more than one million people to the Uptown and Boystown neighborhoods, requires a permit from the City of Chicago.

“We do this with total understanding and agreement that no other decision was possible,” read a statement from PRIDEChicago, the group that organizes the parade. “The health and safety of our participants and those watching must be the first priority. We agree with the City that organized events with large crowds will not be safe through the summer and we think possibly beyond that time as well.”

The 2020 parade was first postponed in May due to the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time that the parade has been postponed or canceled in its 50-year history.

The cancellation is particularly bittersweet for parade coordinator Tim Frye, whose husband Richard Pfeiffer died of cancer in October. Pfeiffer coordinated the annual parade since 1974. Frye picked up the mantle and had been organizing this year's parade as a tribute to his late husband. The couple was together for 48 years.

“On a personal note, canceling the parade has special meaning for me,” said Frye. “I didn't expect 2019 to be Richard's last parade. That parade ended early because of inclement weather. We'll have to wait another year to finish it for him and, of course, keep the parade tradition going into the future.”

As people take to the streets to protest against racism, police brutality and the marginalization of minorities in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, the LGBTQ community has focused its Pride Month programming on elevating black voices.

Christopher Street West, the organization that produces L.A. Pride, announced plans for a “solidarity protest march” to be held Sunday, June 14, the original date of the city's annual LGBTQ Pride Parade. L.A. Pride festivities were canceled in May due to the coronavirus pandemic, a precaution taken by many Pride festivals around the country this year.

On Monday, the group announced it was dropping those plans after receiving criticism for seeking a police permit to hold the event. The group said permits had been withdrawn and there would be no involvement from police.

All Black Lives Matter, an advisory board of Black LGBTQ activists and community leaders in Los Angeles, took over planning for the “solidarity march” and announced a protest “in direct response to racial injustice, systemic racism, and all forms of oppression” for June 14 in West Hollywood.

New York's Reclaim Pride Coalition, which hosted its first alternative Pride parade last year, plans to hold the 2020 Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality on Sunday, June 28.

Drag March For Change, a peaceful protest march in support of Black Lives Matter, is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 14 in Boystown. The march will start at Belmont and Halsted and end at Halsted and Grace where drag community leaders will speak.

Additionally, several Chicago activists are meeting Saturday to discuss plans for “Reclaim Pride”, described as a “pro-POC, democratically organized, non-corporate march,” on Sunday, June 28.

Protesting police brutality and demands for equality were at the heart of the Stonewall riots, which propelled the LGBTQ rights movement in the U.S. in 1969. Chicago's first Pride parade followed a year later and drew about 100 people.

“There are many ways still to celebrate just as there are ways to show solidarity with those who are struggling for equality just as we LGBTQ people have in the past and are continuing to do today,” commented Frye. “We encourage everyone to find their path and their commitment.”

Related: Boystown's Virtual Pride to feature Steve Grand, Leann Rimes and more