Chicago celebrates love at Pride Parade


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Members and supporters of the LGBTQA community came out by the masses June 28 to celebrate all kinds of love at Chicago’s 46th annual Pride Parade. Rainbow flags, signs and tutus filled the crowds along the parade route, starting in Uptown and working its way southeast to Lincoln Park. The parade is estimated to have brought in a crowd of one million and included appearances from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senator Mark Kirk and even the Stanley Cup.

The spectacle came just days after the Supreme Court announced its historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Emily Roskowski, a 22-year old from Kankakee, Illinois, attended the Pride Parade for the fourth year in a row and said the decision made this year’s event superior to those in the past.

“(The Supreme Court ruling) is the most wonderful thing in the world,” Roskowski said. “I’m glad the government finally stood up and supported equality.”

Although the future of same-sex marriage finally was set in stone on the day of the event, the fate of the Pride Parade itself was up in the air. Alderman Tom Tunney warned earlier in the month that if “a serious improvement in behavior and the parade’s impact on our surrounding residents’ quality of life” did not occur, the event would be moved out of Lakeview. Parade organizers hired 90 off-duty cops to maintain crowd control and Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce’s executive director Maureen Martino believed the police presence directly improved behavior along the parade route and surrounding areas.

“I think if that (change) wasn’t made prior to the parade, we might be talking a whole different story today,” Martino told the Chicago Tribune.

That is not to say this year’s parade went without any altercations. According to WGN, Chicago Police made 15 misdemeanor arrests, one felony DUI arrest and three ordinance violations. The biggest challenge police faced occurred when a man forced his way into the parade route and refused police orders to stop his car. The man was eventually pulled from his vehicle by police and arrested.

Sean Sartin, a 25-year-old Albany Park resident, witnessed the man enter the parade route.

“I was talking to my pal and we see these cops banging on the window of a car,” Sartin said. “We moved out of the way because the car was pulling up and he wouldn’t slow down. He had this crazy look on his face and sped up when he got to the corner. He almost hit like 20 people.”

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Even with its rowdiness and massive crowd, 16-year-old Alexis Sanchez still felt that the parade resembled how far the LGBTQA population has come in its fight for equality.

“I think (the Pride Parade) stands for a lot of work that the (LGBTQA) community has been working on for a really long time,” Sanchez said. “That’s why we celebrate every year: that change that’s happening.”

Roskowski had nothing but kind words to say when regarding those who condemn the parade and what that it stands for.

“I understand that some people think it’s wrong,” she said. “I’m not going to bash anyone for thinking that it’s wrong, but you can’t control it. Love is love.”