50 years after the Stonewall riots, Chicago’s Pride Parade canceled due to rain


Catherine Buchaniec/Daily Senior Staffer

Attendees along the parade route draped themselves in flags representing different genders and sexualities. Above, the pink, purple and blue flag symbolizes bisexuality.

Catherine Buchaniec, Reporter

Despite the gloomy weather forecast, many Northwestern students headed to the North Side of Chicago this weekend to attend this year’s pride parade. The parade, which concluded Pride Month, highlighted different parts of Chicago’s vibrant LGBTQ community before being canceled due to severe thunderstorms.

The parade theme was “Stonewall 50: ‘Millions of Moments of Pride.’” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark riots that took place outside of New York’s Stonewall Inn — an event that many consider to have started the Gay Rights Movement.

SESP senior Brennen Bariso said that he decided to go to Pride because “I have a lot of gay friends and I thought it would be a fun atmosphere to be around.”

Bariso joined McCormick and School of Communication senior Melina Paan. Paan, who identifies as bisexual, said this was her first Pride.

“It had a great energy,” Paan said. “Everyone was so supportive and was giving each other compliments.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city’s first openly gay mayor, marched with her wife, Amy Eshleman, and served as the parade’s grand marshal.

Before the parade commenced, Lightfoot stopped at Lake View High School to join Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who signed an executive order that aims to protect transgender students in Illinois. The order, which establishes an “Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force,” intends to evaluate school policies, such as dress code and the use of gender-specific pronouns, and how they affect transgender students.

Kathryn Riopel, a senior in the School of Communication and Bienen, said she wanted to go because she wanted to see and be with other LGBTQ people.

“It was wild. There were many, many people,” Riopel said. “I didn’t stay for that long but what I did see was a lot of rallying.”

Students from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing joined representatives from other local universities in marching in the parade.

Although the parade started with clear skies, about 30 minutes before the parade was scheduled to conclude, the officials announced that the parade had been canceled due to inclement weather.

Following this announcement, many, including Paan, Riopel and Bariso, rushed to Red Line train stations along the parade’s route to escape the severe thunderstorms. “We were stuck at the Belmont Station for a half hour and it took forever to get back,” said Paan. “Because of the rain, everyone left at the same time instead of people coming back at different times throughout the day.”

Hannah Sudworth, a Weinberg junior, said the weather prevented her from going to the parade. “I went for the purpose to go to the parade and enjoy myself with my sister and her roommates,” Sudowrth said. “Then, on the way there, we got stuck in the rain and couldn’t do anything.”

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