Pride Month 2023: Chicago stands 'united' for LGBTQ rights

Thu. June 1, 2023 9:09 AM by Kevin Wayne

chicago pride parade, 2019

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Pride Month kicks off with protests, parades, parties

The rainbow path through Chicago leads to Sunday, June 25, when the 52nd annual Chicago Pride Parade steps off at 12 noon.

The city is ready for a super Sunday celebration after a year in which several states have passed legislation affecting the rights of LGBTQ people.

“With all the divisiveness, hopefully, this month of recognition helps bring our community a bit closer,” said Paul Canella, owner of Scarlet Chicago. “United we stand, divided we fall has probably never been more appropriate than in the current state of affairs.”

This year’s Pride takes place in a contentious political climate in which some conservative state lawmakers have sought to prohibit gender-affirming care, ban drag shows and limit how educators can talk about sexuality and gender in the classroom.

“We are really at a crossroads here, with renewed attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender people, and nationwide attempts to roll back our rights,” said Mike Sullivan, 2Bears Tavern Group owner.

Matthew Harvat, president of CircuitMOM Productions, said this year “it is really important that people also stand up for our rights as a community and fight back to not allow our people to be erased from society.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has tracked almost 500 anti-LGBTQ bills in states across the country so far this year, and notes that “while not all of these bills will become law, they all cause harm for LGBTQ+ people.”

In addition to anti-LGBTQ legislation, last month saw a wave of hate campaigns by right-wing conservatives against brands that have aligned with the LGBTQ community.

The backlash over Bud Light sending a few personalized cans of beer to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney kicked things off.

“In recent months, we have seen numerous companies attacked for their support of our community, and some have stood tall and redoubled their support of the LGBTQIA+ community. Others have not,” said Sullivan.

In May, 2Bears Tavern Group and Sidetrack discontinued Anheuser-Busch InBev products, including Bud Light and Goose Island 312, after the brewing company back-peddled on LGBTQ support.

Pride is a party and a protest

Pride Month pays homage to the Stonewall riots that occurred on June 28, 1969 in New York City and helped spark the modern gay rights movement.

“Pride is a party and a protest,” said Sidetrack general manager Brad Balof. “Pride is a time to gather together, to see the community at large, and together create a groundswell of love, resistance, and stamina to take back into our lives for the rest of the year-- to give us the strength and courage to continue to be our authentic selves, even in the faces of hate and indifference that seek to erase our existence.”

Chicago celebrates with pride

Chicago Pride Fest (June 17 & 18)

Chicago Pride Fest is returning to the Northalsted neighborhood for its 22nd year. Headliners for the 2-day street festival include Heather Small (M People), Slayyyter, Meet Me @ The Altar, JORDY, and Eureka O’Hara. The street fest's attendance is upwards of 60,000 visitors and is organized by Northalsted Business Alliance

Pride in the Park Chicago (June 23-24)

Pride in the Park Chicago, a one-of-a-kind inclusive queer celebration in Chicago's Grant Park, is back Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24. Superstar acts Zedd, Saweetie, Years & Years, and Zara Larsson are this year's headliners. Tickets are available at

Pride North Festival (June 24-25)

Pride North returns to the Rogers Park neighborhood, featuring DJs and live entertainment across two stages on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25. The free fest is located on Glenwood Avenue between Morse and Lunt, just off the Morse Red Line stop. The festival draws almost 10,000 attendees to The Glenwood Avenue Arts Corridor. 

Chicago Pride Parade (June 25) 

The 51nd annual Chicago Pride Parade will step off at noon on Sunday, June 25 from Montrose and Broadway in Uptown and will then travel the traditional 21-block parade route before it ends near Diversey and Sheridan in Lincoln Park. 

Pride South Side (July 1)

The 5th annual Pride South Side celebrates the life, legacy and history of LGBTQ people of color. The celebration includes a lineup of all Chicago-based LGBTQ performers Show your Pride on Saturday, July 1 at The DuSable Museum. For more information visit

There are even more events all month long to celebrate Pride Month. Check out the complete Chicago Pride Month calendar