How to Celebrate Pride Month 2022 in Chicago and the North Shore

Now that June is upon us, so is Pride Month — a time to celebrate and honor our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. With numerous city- and suburb-wide celebrations, we’ve made it easier for you to celebrate your Pride — or support as an ally — by compiling a list of what to do, where to donate and ways to uplift the community this month.

Celebrate

June 10 – 12: Andersonville Midsommarfest

Midsommarfest 1. Photo by Timmy Samuel-Starbelly Studios
Photo by Timmy Samuel-Starbelly Studios

Though it took a two-year hiatus, the Andersonville Midsommarfest is back in full swing with a plethora of activities including 60+ music acts, diverse food vendors and even events for the kids. This Swedish tradition is in its 56th year here in the heart of Andersonville, and will do what it does best: highlighting all of the gems the neighborhood has to offer. While it’s not a Pride-focused celebration, the neighborhood is known for its LGBTQ+ community, and the event gives back to Equality Illinois, Human Rights Campaign and the Chicago Pride League.

Admission is a $10 donation, and hours of operation vary per day — visit the Andersonville Midsommarfest website for specifics.

​​5200-5520 N. Clark St.

June 18 – 19: Chicago Pride Fest

This annual festival is brining all the energy and color to Northalsted that you could ask for! If you want to dance, they’ve got a huge catalog of headliners, local musicians and DJs ready to play. If you want access to queer-owned arts and crafts vendors, there will be 150+ artists selling their wares. Not to mention the food and beverage vendors; a drag shows; pet parade; giveaways; and whole lot more. Don’t miss this one — sure to tick all your boxes this Pride. There is a $15 suggested donation, more information can be found on the Pride Fest website.

Halsted St. from Addison to Grace St.

June 23: Adults Night Out: Pride Party!

Want to get out of the house for the night and into that warm summer air? Well if Pride celebrations are your thing, this night out at the Lincoln Park Zoo is calling your name. Enjoy sipping and strolling through the grounds from 6:30 – 10pm, as well as Drag Queen Bingo, DJ sets from LGBTQIA+ artists, lawn games and even take a spin on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel. When you look back on 2022’s Pride Month, this night is sure to be one to remember.

Tickets start at $15 for early birds, so grab your tickets while they’re hot.

2001 N. Clark St.

June 25 – 26: Pride in the Park

Chicagoans know that with June comes Pride in the Park — the annual music, dance festival dedicated to LGBTQIA+ artists. Held in Grant Park, this two day, all-out experience is a great excuse to dance your heart out and revel in the city’s energy. More information and tickets are available on the Pride in the Park website

June 26: Chicago Pride Parade

Chicago Pride Parade
2019 Chicago Pride Parade, photo by Steven Koch | Courtesy of GoPride.com

For the LGBTQIA+ community of Chicago, the event of the year is back and as vibrant as ever. The 51st 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.

Northern Suburban YMCA’s DEI Committee’s “Unapologetically US”

Courtesy of NSYMCA

This month-long exhibit celebrates the lives of current LGBTQIA+ athletes, dancers, gymnasts and community members. With photos and quotes colorfully lining the walls, it’s a must-see, feel-good experience for anyone looking to find inspiration in the athletic icons of our day. Additionally, if you have a coming out story you feel safe and ready to tell, the committee would love to hear and share it with fellow, supportive YMCA community members. For hours and exhibit information, visit the NSYMCA website.

Donate and Volunteer

Consider giving back to these local nonprofits this month:

Center on Halsted

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

This Black- and trans-led organization is located on the city’s South Side, 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 queer, Black 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 and were 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. Donation can be made on The Night Ministry’s website.

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

Equality Illinois

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

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.

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.

Support

12 Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Restaurants and Bakeries 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 LGBTQ+ community? Here is a sampling of LGBTQ-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. Read more.

Pride Candle Co. 

Courtesy of Pride Candle Co.

The LGBT Pride flag has evolved over the years, but the original design has a specific meaning for each color stripe. Red is life. Orange is healing. Yellow is sunlight. Green is nature. Blue is serenity. Purple is spirit. And Chicago maker and artist Tim O’Keefe has created a scent that represents each of these colors at Pride Candle Co. The line of handcrafted candles is poured at O’Keefe’s studio in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood using environmentally friendly and ethically sourced ingredients, including natural, clean-burning soy wax, phthalate-free fragrances and USA-made glass. “Even though the LGBTQ+ community has enormous buying power—$3.2 trillion to be exact—they often aren’t represented in the stores, products and companies they are spending their money on,” says O’Keefe. “We set out to change that.” The candles come in a range of 10 unique scents, such as Bergamot Lemon Driftwood, and feature the Pride flag on the outside, with a rainbow color on the inside. Candles are available online and locally in Chicago at Foursided and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Pride Candle Co. donates 10 percent of its proceeds to organizations and projects that support the LGBTQ+ community in Chicago and across the country. Through sales and startup capital, it has given more than $80,000 to causes such as TRANS Chicago and Equality Illinois. Most recently, Pride Candle Co. helped fund the creation of ART and PEP, a documentary about two LGBTQ+ Chicago icons.


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