CHICAGO (CBS) — The 2020 Chicago Pride Parade might have been postponed due to the pandemic, but the LGBTQ community is still celebrating in other ways this weekend.
Relative to what it normally looks the day before the parade, it’s been pretty quiet this weekend on Halsted Street in Boystown; lots of color, but not really any crowd.
Instead, Pride Fest organizers are holding a series of virtual events online, including performances dedicated to members of the LGBTQ community, and first responders on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
So, while it will look much different than we used to, the celebration of LGBTQ pride continues.
“Usually it would be hundreds and thousands of tourists in the city. Bars would be packed to the brim,” said Steven Reeve, who works in Boystown, and for seven years has watched the streets come alive the day before the Pride Parade. “Everyone’s so excited, because the parade’s a big thing for us.”
For 50 years, the end of June marked a jubilee of pride and color on the streets of Boystown; celebrating the June 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, a pivotal moment in the history of gay rights in America
“Pride is an important thing, because it makes a statement that we have survived being killed, being murdered, and being beaten. People have died for us to continue to be here, and be able to live our lives like how we want to be,” Reeve said.
For the first time in five decades, Chicago won’t see Pride Parade in June, at least not the way we’re used to.
“It’s happening this year, but just in a different sense,” Reeve said.
Pride is still written on the streets and on the walls; flying high on land and on the water.
Navy Pier’s smaller Pride Fest drew socially distanced crowds of young and old from across the Midwest.
Robb Grandt drove more than six hours from Minneapolis to join the festivities.
“We found out that this was actually happening, so we came down to enjoy this,” he said.
Everything about Pride in 2020 looks different; between face coverings, and crowd sizes, even the colors on the rainbow flags we’ve come to know.
“Colors have been added, like black and brown, and then the trans flag has been added, to just to be more inclusive,” Reeve said.
The flag is different, because the movement itself is evolving in the context of 2020, when racial equality is now at political forefront.
“It’s changing in the aspect of actual representation of not just being gay. There is more out there than just being gay,” Reeve said. “It’s pride, yes, but it’s also being pride in being Black, being trans, being queer in general.”
Marches for civil rights continue this weekend, including a Black Trans Lives Matter protest, a seven-mile march starting at 11 a.m. Sunday from Uptown to Grant Park.
Pride Parade organizers have said they hope to hold the parade later this year, but if they can’t, it will return in 2021.