Thousands packed the streets in Chicago for an unofficial gay pride march despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first openly gay mayor, canceling the official annual event because of her worries over the coronavirus.
Organizers insisted that the rally held in the city’s West Side Lakeview neighborhood was an attempt to “reclaim” the “grassroots” efforts to push gay pride, according to ABC 7.
The gay pride parade has roots in the Windy City going back to 1972 and has taken place in the Boystown area of the city until this year, when it was canceled over the coronavirus. But the cancellation did not deter avid pride marchers, who began gathering at noon on Sunday near the CTA Belmont station in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Hundreds flocked to the march flogged by social media posts until thousands were massed in close proximity for a two-mile demonstration into Uptown.
“The reason the march is so important is to highlight those lives that we lost and highlight the people whose lives may not have been lost, but have been wrecked just because they exist openly,” Ashabi Owagboriaye told ABC 7.
Organizers tried to tell marchers that masks were required in compliance with the city’s coronavirus rules.
But many photos posted to social media by pride enthusiasts showed large numbers of people without masks, in contradiction to the coronavirus response orders issued by Lightfoot.