Chicago shows its colors and its Pride
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The music was booty shaking, the lustrous Speedos were gleaming and the pride could be seen for miles as the 43rd annual Gay Pride Parade echoed down the streets of Chicago. Everyone was decked out in their best rainbow attire to show their support for the LGBTQ Community.
“It was my first time going, so when I first got there I didn’t know what to expect. I have been to a parade before but this was Pride,” said Qahhar Davis with pure excitement.
The Gay Pride Parade has been taking place every year since 1972 and seems to be getting bigger and greater with each passing year. It was reported that 850 thousand people came out to show their support and join in the fun on Sunday.
To help with crowd control the parade was re-routed this year. Instead of its normal “V” shape, the parade took a more “straighter” route. It started at Montrose Ave and Broadway in Uptown, went through Lake View and ended in Lincoln Park at Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road.
“Everyone was happy and nice. I saw nothing crime wise. I felt like everyone was just having a good time, it was a good atmosphere to be in,” said Gabbi Ziecina after attending her fifth Pride Parade. “No one was being too crazy or anything.”
The new route added an additional 5 blocks, which gave people more room to squeeze in. This all seemed to be a big success since no police reports were recorded during the parade.
“It was pretty cool to see the police department, sports organizations and businesses showing their gay pride because there are a lot of stereotypes,” said Davis. “It’s just exciting to see them be able to have their own float and have them represent who they are, within their field of work.”
Both Davis and Ziecina agreed that the lineup of about 200 floats was the most interesting part of the parade. From Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn to TV Crews, Walgreens and Google everyone seemed to have a place in all the excitement.
“Lots of character! I took a picture with a guy dressed like Dorothy and a guy dressed like the good witch,” said Ziecina. “A lot of people were dressed up in drag and people wearing balloons like wings. It was great!”
Even though the glitz and the glam played a huge role in the day’s festivities, the topic of legalization of gay marriage was also present.
CBS Chicago reported that many people were out supporting gay marriage rights at the parade because of all the recent publicity around the issue. With President Obama voicing his support, Mayor Rahm Emanuel helping to push the Illinois General Assembly to vote and Gov. Pat Quinn signing the legislation, gay marriage rights were very fresh in people’s minds.
In the past year, not only has the laws against same-sex marriages been challenged but also the legalization of civil unions and the cancelation of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has given the LGBTQ community more rights. The community is slowly but surely becoming more recognized and the parade helped to celebrate this.
“You could obliviously see how many people support the entire thing,” said Ziecina.