Since its beginning, June 28th, 1970, the Chicago Pride Parade is celebrated annually in the Windy City; promoting acceptance in support for the LGBTQ+ community. Elevating from a simple march from Washington Square Park to the Water Tower, the parade has expanded and grown to amass a large crowd of Chicagoans gathering for a weekend filled with love and positivity. The first Chicago Pride Parade had an approximate attendance of 200 citizens. However, upon increased support, within 15 years, the crowd would grow to an attendance of 35,000.
Despite attendance having a steady increase for many years, the Chicago Pride Parade experienced a five year period where attendance appeared stagnant. An outpouring of Chicagoans at the 2011 parade showed a hefty increase in attendance even after an unfortunate hate crime was committed towards the event. It was revealed that 51 parade floats were vandalized before the event, intending to prevent the parade from continuing. That said, on account of two floats that were not able to be repaired, floats were fixed and the parade continued as intended.
Furthermore, the Chicago Pride Parade experience at the time a record-breaking attendance with 750,000 attendees. Love overcame the hate the was intended to break an unbreakable community. Not to mention, the following 2012 parade included an expanded route due to overcrowding at the 2011 parade.
The 2013 44th Chicago Pride Parade impressively accounts for a million Chicagoans in attendance at the celebration. That year saw the Chicago LGBTQ+ community advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage. With the approaching Supreme Court decision to followthrough with eliminating a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the parade held its largest crowd to date in advocating for same-sex love. By the following year, at the 45th Chicago Pride Parade, the same-sex marriage legislation was in full effect June 1, 2014. The crowd once again surged in the millions.
Continuous activism, donations, and political participation amongst the LGBTQ+ community are paving a way for the Chicago Pride Parade to grow and continue to be a beacon for inclusion and outreach in the Chicagoland area.