Lori Lightfoot talks LGBTQ+ rights at Pride in The Park Chicago, headlined by The Chainsmokers and Alesso


Rayna Song/The Daily Northwestern

The weekend music festival Pride in the Park attracted thousands to downtown Chicago.

Rayna Song, Senior Staffer

Annual music festival Pride in The Park Chicago welcomed several artists this weekend, including the Chainsmokers and Alesso, in addition to speakers like Chicago’s first openly gay mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The two-day event in Grant Park celebrated the LGBTQ+ community, giving participants space to express themselves openly. Attendees demonstrated their pride through fashion, some showing up in glittery or netted tops, others sporting rainbow stripes painted on their faces and one person even dressing up in an inflatable, pink unicorn costume.

Nathan Turner attended Pride in The Park for the first time in 2021, and he returned this year because he said he wanted to experience the festival with his fiance and best friends, especially in light of the Supreme Court ruling Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“It all just comes together into this incredible experience, and especially this year because a lot of things are happening. I feel like a lot of our rights could be threatened later on,” Turner said.

Besides the music performances and drag shows, wristband holders enjoyed bar areas and merchandise shops selling T-shirts and sunglasses. The festival also had many giveaways, from alcohol-infused popsicles and CBD caramels to rainbow flags and flavored condoms.

Sarah Carr, who lives in the Chicago suburbs and took an hour long train with a friend to Grant Park, said this was her first time attending a Pride festival. She added she found out about the music event when her friend came from Southern Illinois for the Pride Parade on Sunday.

“It’s just awesome to see all of the different people here and all of the different merch that they’re wearing to celebrate pride,” Carr said.

Lightfoot took the stage and addressed thousands of concert attendees Saturday, asking them to vote and fight for democracy.

The Supreme Court decision took away basic rights, she said, and Chicago will not stand for the decision.

“Today we have pride. We celebrate. But tomorrow, we fight. And we make sure the world knows that in Chicago, we are a welcoming city, where we have justice for all,” Lightfoot said. “You need to make sure that you are registered and that you vote. Voting matters.”

Reproductive rights are closely connected to LGBTQ+ rights, said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, deputy director of LGBTQ+ civil rights organization Equality Illinois. She also encouraged the audience to vote and “show up in the streets.”

She added the overturn of Roe v. Wade not only denies abortion access to people who can get pregnant but also denies them bodily autonomy, and that the decision would impact freedom of sexual orientation.

“The court’s decision is a frontal attack against our LGBTQ+ communities, against people of color, against immigrants and against people living in poverty,” Ruiz-Velasco said. “But we cannot despair. Our community has a long history of resistance.”

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