Pride Parade Celebrates Marriage, #LoveWins, As Protesters Call For New LGBTQ Goals

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 29, 2015 3:20PM


An estimated over 1 million people turned out to cheer on Chicago's 46th Annual Pride Parade Sunday, which included at least three weddings and a guest appearance by the Stanley Cup.

But the rainbow-bedazzled partiers also had their share of random mayhem, including a person who allegedly drove a car into the parade, a woman who attempted to streak in front of Rahm Emanuel on a public dare from a Greek billionaire and the much more pointed die-in protest staged by a handful of #blacklivesmatter activists to raise awareness about the perceived white-washing of the LGBTQ movement.

With last Friday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have equal rights to be married under the constitution, we knew this year's Pride Parade would be one for the books. In part to honor that historic decision, the Thompson Chicago Hotel selected three couples to be married on a float during the parade. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois for just over a year now.

A group of activists brought the parade to a halt around 1:45 p.m. to stage a "die-in," during which they fell to the ground and held still at the intersections of Addison and Halsted streets, blocking the parade from continuing forward. They wore shirts that said "#BlackOutPride" and chanted a combination of "Black lives matter," the rallying cry of the national movement to end police brutality and the profiling of people of color, and "Stonewall was a fucking riot," to nod to the historic birth of LGBTQ Pride in the June 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.

The activists refused to disband at the order of a police officer, according to DNAinfo, and a few minutes later police led some of the activists away in handcuffs. Police officials did not respond to questions about how many people were detained and whether they were charged with any crimes.

In a statement published online, the protesters said they wanted to reminded people that the modern gay pride movement began as a fight against police brutality, and was sparked by a trans woman of color.

They argue that since then, the Pride movement has been supplanted by gay and lesbian activists seeking mainstream political visibility, and the push to legalize same-sex marriage has overshadowed efforts to address queer homelessness, incarceration and healthcare access.

"We recount this history to remind ourselves not only that the root of our movement as queer people is the militant resistance of state violence in all its forms, but also that the Pride Parade as a tradition is built on the intentional silencing of the members of our community most impacted by that same violence—trans people, women, people with disabilities and mental illness, Black and Brown folk, indigenous people, immigrants, sex workers and street youth," the statement reads.

Several other cities saw similar protests during their pride parades this year, including Boston and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.