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Where To Celebrate LGBTQ Pride This Year, Because Love Still Wins

By Rachel Cromidas in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2016 7:37PM

Love still wins, every damn time—even if the revelry around this year's Pride Month is tempered by the LGBTQ community's collective grief over the horrific shooting of more than 100 gay nightclub patrons in Orlando last weekend.

We believe it's possible to grieve the Orlando tragedy, honor the victims, stand in solidarity with LGBTQ Chicago and celebrate pride all at once. No matter how you choose to do this, we've got a round-up of some of our favorite Pride Month events, all coming up over the next two weeks. Stay strong, Chicago.

Pride Fest: Ah, Pride Fest—the city's well-meaning attempt to curb Pride Parade crowds and their drunken revelry by giving them another weekend to party is back again the weekend before the official Pride Parade. This year's LGBTQ-themed street fair runs June 18 and 19 at 3200 North Halsted Street, with a $10 suggested donation, and Jordin Sparks is headlining. But count on finding more parties next weekend along the parade route.

The Backlot Bash
: Andersonville's biggest excuse to go wild is back this year for two weekends of parties and events: June 16 through 19 and June 24 through 26. The gigantic festival for queer women, located just off Clark Street, will feature guest performances by Lisa Loeb and Taryn Manning during Pride weekend this year. Other pre-pride events coming up this weekend include a comedy night with Gina Yashere at Laugh Factory and a party at Seven Lounge with Real L Word stars Sada Bettencourt and Whitney Mixter, who finally got rid of her dreadlocks.

30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes Our favorite annual show from the Neo-Futurists, devoted to gender and sexuality, is playing Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m., Friday June 24 and Saturday, June 25 at 11:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 with all proceeds going to the Broadway Youth Center. If you're not familiar with the Neo way, buy a ticket now and prepare for a fast-paced hour of thought-provoking and hilarious original plays, all under two minutes each, cribbed from the performers' lives.

Proud to Run 2016:
If you're really more of a morning person, head to Montrose Beach at 8 a.m. for a 10K, 5K or walk to celebrate LGBTQ pride and benefit Trans Tech Social Enterprises, About Face Theatre, and the Center on Halsted.

The Chicago Dyke March: The annual Chicago Dyke March is returning to Humboldt Park this Saturday, June 25, to celebrate grassroots queer activism and women who love women with a short march, followed by a party in the park. Think of it as a more chill, less-corporate version of Lakeview's parade. The march, now in its 20th year (!) begins at 2:00 p.m. at the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Division Street and ends in the park. Anyone can join in, but be respectful of the event's purpose!

Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade. Photo by Benjy Lipsman.

Chicago Pride Parade: The 47th Annual Chicago Pride Parade kicks off at noon Sunday, June 26 at Montrose Avenue and winds its way down Halsted Street and Broadway through Buena Park, Lakeview and Lincoln Park. The parade gets bigger and bigger every year, and this year the city is expecting over one million people to attend the Lakeview festivities.

Pride At Montrose is bringing the party to Montrose Harbor (601 W. Montrose Dr.) all day Sunday, with DJ sets and performances by "Derrick Carter, GUCCIROXX, Kaycee Ortiz, CHANCES DANCES!, DJ Gemini Jones, Slo 'Mo and more," according to the events page. The event is co-hosted by the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, the AIDS Foundation Chicago, and others.