Pride Month 2023: How to Support and Celebrate the LGBTQIA+ Community in Chicago and Beyond

Every June, we celebrate Pride Month — a time to honor the history, resilience and beautiful complexities of the LGBTQIA+ community. Over several decades, Pride Month has transformed into the event-filled, intersectional, joyful celebration we have come to know and love — including Chicago-favorite events like Pride in the Park or the annual Pride Parade. But the origins of Pride have not always been this way.

The LGBTQIA+ community has been a target of prejudice throughout modern history. While generations of queer folks were no stranger to having their safe spaces raided by police and purists — and although the community experienced near-constant harassment at the hands of authorities — these tense relations came to a head on June 28, 1969, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan enacted an uprising against police and state brutality when the bar was raided that evening, and not for the first time. The Stonewall Uprising would continue on for another six days, but its ripple effect will last forever. What made Stonewall a catalyst for the future of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement was its ability, among many factors, to bring multitudes of queer individuals to come to terms with the reality that securing basic human rights was something that needed to be fought for in a society that deemed otherwise. The following year, the first-ever Pride March would take place in New York City.

This sudden ignition of consciousness and “shift in activism, if Stonewall truly represented one at all, was a shift primarily for white cisgender people, as people of color and gender non-conforming people never truly had the benefit of concealing their marginalized identities,” according to the Library of Congress.

Specifically, this reality was not new to Black queer people who experience the onslaught of racism, homophobia, transphobia and more in daily life. Black queer activists, like Marsha P. Johnson, are to thank for the earned freedoms and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in America. Without their undying efforts, milestones such as the legality of gay marriage, would have been unattainable.

Marsha P. Johnson


As we look on to the present and future of the LGBTQIA+ community — as federal and state governments work in haste to pass legislation that removes rights and autonomy from all queer people across the spectrum — we must remember that what has been earned was not done through passive action. If we believe that the queer community has just as much a right to not only live, but flourish in this world, then it is our duty to combat hate at any level.

Read on for Better’s list of Chicagoland organizations that are working to support, create safe space for and celebrate queer people from all backgrounds.


Donate and Volunteer

Consider giving back to these local nonprofits this month:

Center on Halsted


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Known to be one of Chicago’s leading organizations for LGBTQIA+ folks, the Center on Halsted offers public events, safety and health trainings and a space for anyone in the community — from youths to seniors — to connect and learn. Donations to the Center go to relief funds for LGBTQIA+ people affected or displaced by COVID; who need access STD/STI services; are in search of affordable and accessible housing; and so much more. If you are unable to give monetarily, volunteering your time is also appreciated. More information can be found on the Center for Halstead homepage.

Brave Space Alliance


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This Black- and trans-led organization is located on the city’s Southside, where it’s a critical resource for queer and trans people of color who reside there. Since its inception, the organization has been offering a crucial safe space for community members to connect; get assistance in meeting their needs — such as food and housing instability; and attend workshops and trainings. Donations go directly to supporting their mission, which is primarily to uplift Black, queer people. To offer your support, donations can be made on their website.

The Crib by The Night Ministry

The services at The Night Ministry help anyone regardless of class, background or sexual-orientation — the organization was also an early-2000s pioneers of accessible HIV testing. With services that support those affected by houselessness or mental health struggles, and so much more, it is a place of refuge all year long — not just June. Donations can be made on The Night Ministry website.

The Night Ministry is a 2021 Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award Winner.

Equality Illinois


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Their state-wide work centers on these three Priority Ps: Policy, People and Power. This trifecta aims to take opposition head on and offer support in the critical areas of queer existence. To assist them in their fight to advance “equal treatment and full acceptance” of LGBTQIA+ people in Illinois and beyond — donations and volunteer information can be found on the Equality Illinois website.

Broadway Youth Center


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As a space specifically carved out for Chicago LGBTQIA+ youth in search of community and support, the Broadway Youth Center is a staple in the city. Offering a wide range of supportive services: from assistance with houselessness to mental health services, from sexual education courses to help meeting their health and social needs. Broadway Youth Center is supported through Howard Brown Health — a healthcare organization offering affirming, vital care to LGBTQIA+ individuals, women and other marginalized groups in Chicago.

Gender JUST

As their mission states, Gender JUST is committed to both direct action and radical analysis of the harmful systems in America. This “multi-racial, multi-generational collective” is headed by a diverse team in regards to gender and sexual identities, cultures, abilities, citizenship status and much more. They seek to uplift queer people who resonate with that and are as equally committed to a radicalized, alternative future. Information on how to support their cause can be found on the Gender JUST website.

Affinity 95


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Affinity is a Black led, queer led organization on Chicago’s Southside dedicated to social justice in Black LGBTQIA+ communities. For 25 years, they have done their important work through community organizing, intergenerational programming, education and healing justice — with Black queer women at the center of this work. Black LGBTQIA+ people are marginalized on a global scale, and “by building brave activist communities where all intersections of LGBTQIA+ identity are fully embraced … [and] through activism, education and transformative justice practices, we build avenues for collective action, LGBTQIA+ justice, healing and Black liberation.” To support their work as they approach three decades of service, visit Affinity 95 for more.

AIDS Foundation of Chicago


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For 35 years, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has “led the fight to create health equity and justice for people living with and disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS.” Case management, prevention, housing, advocacy — these are just some of the areas AFC oversees to help clients fulfill goals and get back on solid ground. AFC has been entrusted with millions of dollars of state, local and federal funds to help an array of AIDS-related services. Help keep their work going by visiting AIDS Foundation Chicago for tips on advocacy and ways to support.

Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland


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Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland is a Black, LGBTQIA+-led, multiracial social justice organization that advances justice for Black LGBTQIA+ people across Chicagoland through empowerment, education and entertainment. With programs that focus on workforce development, the arts, spirituality, racial justice organizing and more, it’s easy to see how Lighthouse has become a trusted source of support for Chicago queer people since 2019. In that time they have raised over $300,000 for Black LGBTQIA+ workers — a staggering number. If you want to be a part of their mission, visit the Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland website for details.



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PrideArts celebrates the queer experience through theater performances, as well as through film festivals and events that showcase films and documentaries about LGBTQIA+ life. Not only that, but it supplies “queer artists with a safe space to explore their work.” This non-profit relies heavily on the generosity of donors to keep productions running and, therefore, keep queer stories being told. Not only do marginalized voices need to be heard, but they need to be understood as well — a task only possible in a space where truth meets storytelling. Want to support their work? Want to catch a show in an upcoming season? Check out your options at PrideArts.

Trikone Chicago


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This not-for-profit organization was carved out for queer South Asians and their family, friends, allies and community. Trikone Chicago’s mission is to continue making a supportive and non-judgmental environment where LGBTQIA+ South Asians can meet and make connections. “We work towards the following goals: bring people of South Asian heritage together; promote awareness, visibility and cultural and legal acceptance of people with alternative sexual orientations and gender identities; help people proudly affirm both their South Asian identity and their sexual orientation.” For more on what they do and what you can do to help their mission, visit them at Trikone Chicago.


June 25: Chicago Pride Parade

Chicago Pride Parade
2019 Chicago Pride Parade | Photo by Steven Koch


For the LGBTQIA+ community of Chicago, the event of the year is back in all its colorful glory. The 52nd annual Pride Parade will make its way from Uptown, through Northalsted — formerly Boystown — and end in Lincoln Park, from noon – 3pm. So grab your friends and your flags, and hit the streets to show a little Pride this summer! Visit the Pride Parade website for the parade route, additional details and other ways to celebrate this month.


LGBTQIA+ Restaurants and Bakeries To Support During Pride Month and All Year Long

sugarcoat pride cupcakes
Pride cupcakes at Sugargoat


Looking for ways to celebrate and stand in solidarity with Chicago’s vibrant LGBTQIA+ community? Here is a sampling of LGBTQIA+-owned restaurants and bakeries in the Chicago area that you should absolutely check out. These are great places to patronize year-round — but getting you in the door this month is a step in the right direction.

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