Scroll To Top
World

The Good and the Bad of Chicago Pride

The Good and the Bad of Chicago Pride

Chicagopridex390_0
trudestress

Sunday's Chicago Gay Pride Parade, one of the nation's largest, was marked by bad news and good news.

Some of the bad news came early in the day, when it was discovered that tires had been slashed on each of the 51 floats being stored at a float-building company several miles south of the parade route. The company's owner discovered the damage about 5 a.m. Sunday; the floats were fine when he left the building at 8 the previous evening, so the damage occurred late Saturday night or very early Sunday.

"This is catastrophic," Chuck Huser, owner of float provider Associated Attractions Enterprises, told Windy City Times Sunday morning. "This has never happened before, and we have been doing this since 1989." He and his staff were able to repair all but three floats in time for the afternoon's parade. There were 73 floats registered for the parade, with the remainder at other companies.

As no other damage was done and nothing was taken from Huser's company, the vandalism appears to be an antigay hate crime. He has filed a police report, and a Chicago attorney has offered a $500 reward to the first person who provides information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. One of the damaged floats was that of recently appointed lesbian state representative Kelly Cassidy, who appeared undaunted. "We're going to pick up our banner and we're going to show our pride," she told the Chicago Tribune.

The parade stepped off on time at noon in the heavily gay north side Lakeview neighborhood. Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was at the head, receiving loud cheers from spectators. This was the first appearance in the parade by a Chicago mayor since previous mayor Richard M. Daley's first year in office, 1989. Daley, who was the first mayor to participate in the parade, did not make a repeat appearance because he declined to work on Sundays, and he instead hosted a Pride-related reception on another day.

"Behind Emanuel was a kaleidoscopic collection of politicians, teachers, motorcyclists, drag queens and librarians, among many others," the Tribune reported. There were about 250 total parade entries, including floats, decorated vehicles, and marching contingents.

City officials estimated attendance at 750,000, likely a record; parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer told the Tribune last year's attendance was an estimated 500,000. The huge numbers led to some crowd control problems, a few arrests, and the diversion of some parade entries, according to Windy City Times.

Most attendees at the 42nd annual parade, however, were unaware of any problems and were in a celebratory mood thanks to New York State's passage of a marriage equality bill Friday and the beginning of civil unions earlier this month in Illinois. There were hopes that Illinois would join New York soon. Chicago gay couple Sherell Edgerson and Shawn Phillips told the Tribune they were pleased with civil unions but added in unison, "It's not marriage."

trudestress
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.