Officials from PRIDEChicago, which coordinates the annual Pride Parade, announced June 1 that country music performer Ty Herndon would be the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Chicago Pride Parade, as well as details about the parade's heightened security.
Herndon came out in a November, 2014, Entertainment Tonight interview, where he proclaimed himself "an out, proud and happy gay man." His career includes 17 Billboard hits and three number-one hits, among them "What Mattered Most," "Living in a Moment" and "It Must Be Love." He received a Grammy nomination in 2010 for his album "Journey On."
Herndon has been a supporter of the LGBT youth supportive Trevor Project since 2002. He has appeared at benefits and fundraisers for LGBT youth, including co-hosting a major fundraising event in Nashville this June, entitled The Concert for Love and Acceptance, which being presented by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) with major corporate sponsors.
In December, Herndon spoke with Windy City Times about his decision to come out.
"I can only speak from my heart and what it's been like for me," Herndon said. "When I walked out on the stage [before coming out], the only thing that made me authentic was the music. The minute I opened my mouth to speak, the camaraderie with the audience was all made up. There was nothing truthful about it, and it held me down for so longit was such a true oppression for me.
"…It matters if you come out, no matter what you're doing in this world. It's important for people to see the truth in a person. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to do that. I feel sad about that, but I'm going to put that aside and celebrate now. I'm going to work with young kids and older people who need help being authentic so they can live perfectly happy lives."
Parade officials also said that the Pride Parade would remain in Lake View and Uptown this year, but with heightened security to curtail excessive and/or illegal alcohol consumption as well as unruly behavior.
"In addition to the large number of police officers who staff the event, [parade coordinators] are providing a security team of 90 off-duty police officers to supplement the police presence," said officials in a June 1 statement. "Penalties for open containers of alcohol include, but are not limited to $1000 [or more] tickets being issued and/or the immediate disposal of open containers of alcohol beverages into trash receptacles."
The 2014 Pride Parade was marred by reports of disturbances from spectators both during and after the parade, though city and police officials said actual arrests were minimal, as well as concerns that local resources were being overwhelmed. Residents started dueling online petitionsone asking that the parade be moved, another asking that it stay on the North Side. In April, Alds. Tom Tunney and James Cappleman said that the outcome of the 2015 Parade would be closely watched by city officials and, if no improvement came to safety concerns, the parade might be moved the following year.
Information on Pride events can be found at www.ChicagoPrideCalendar.org .
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The official web site for the Pride Parade is www.ChicagoPrideCalendar.org The site will be updated continually through June Pride Month with updated parade information including parking restrictions, street closures, parade route cross-over streets, etc. and also information about other June Pride Month events.
See the 2015 Mayoral Proclamation at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/2015MayoralProclamation.pdf .