About 200 marchers gathered in Lake View on June 27 for the 2021 Pride Without Prejudicean event highlighting systemic issues concerning many LGBTQ community members. Among the issues the gathering addressed were racism, transgender rights, policing and Palestinian rights.
The march pushed off from the Belmont "L" stop, then proceeded via Halsted Street to 19th District Town Hall Police Headquarters before concluding at the intersection of Broadway and Grace and Halsted streets.
According to the march's organizers, the event centered on "community members, especially Black and trans people, who are typically marginalized or tokenized at white-led Pride events." The march was inaugurated in 2020, when the Chicago Pride Parade was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Pride Parade will take place Oct. 3.
In introductory remarks, activist Fredy Roberts-Ramirez said, "We are here to take back our Pride. Pride Without Prejudice is here to make sure that we include every single community, not just the white community that's up here in Boystown or Northalsted."
Roberts-Ramirez further emphasized the march's focus on uplifting transgender people of color.
"They are so many Black and Brown trans people who are murdered every single year," they said. "Last year was the deadliest for trans murders. There were 40 trans murders last year, and that shit is not right. This year we're already six months in and 30 trans people are already dead this year. … The violence has to stop."
Organizers emphasized the intersectional nature of participants' concerns and goals for their community in their planning. Among their published demands were reclaiming the Pride celebration from majority white financial- and power-interests; expanding marginalized communities' participation in LGBTQ bar- and social-events; defunding of police, with resulting monies transferred to community services; community control and accountability for police forces; the elimination of state-sponsored violence, whether taking place domestically or abroad; and the decriminalization of sex-work.
Co-organizer Ashabi Owagboriyaye told Windy City Times that organizers were centering on Black trans and queer people "because we're on the North Side of Chicago, where, a lot of the time, people who look like me or my friends are targeted for harm and violence. That's unfortunate, because if it was not for a woman such as Marsha P. Johnson, Storme [Delarverie] and Sylvia Rivera, we wouldn't be able to have this ability to march and live in our truest sense as queer people."
Owagboriyaye added, "The point of the march is that, at its roots, Pride was a riot; it wasn't a party to get drunk and do crazy shit. It was to go against police infestation in communities and the harm that was being caused to the most marginalized in those communities."
She further noted that Black and Brown trans and queer Chicagoans on the West and South sides face great challenges to personal safety that demand a community response.
"There's still community work needing to be done here and we can't forget it just because summer's here, and we can go out and do things we might not do the rest of the year," Owagboriyaye said.
Besides several individual speakers and performances, the march also featured a ballroom performance and a fashion installation highlighting spanning much of the Grace, Halsted and Broadway intersection. A second 2021 Pride Without Prejudice march is scheduled for Wed., June 30.