Metro Weekly

Chicago Pride Parade canceled for second year, organizers blame vaccine skeptics

Organizers said they were "naïve" to think enough people would get vaccinated

Chicago Pride Parade
The 2017 Chicago Pride Parade — Photo: alison / Flickr

The Chicago Pride Parade has been officially canceled for the second year in a row, with organizers saying they were “naïve” to think they could trust enough people to get vaccinated.

Originally set to go ahead on Oct. 3, the Pride Parade will now take place on June 26, 2022, organizers told GoPride.com.

“We’re going to believe that in June, 2022 we are living in a far safer world than now,” Tim Frye, coordinator of Chicago Pride, said. “We intend to have the best, most joyous, fabulous, memorable Pride Parade ever.”

In an official statement, Frye blamed vaccine skepticism — which has been spurred by right-wing media, politicians, and religious figures — was to blame for the cancelation.

“With the advent of three effective vaccines, we felt that the [October 3] date would allow for most people to be vaccinated and, thus, make it much safer to have a parade,” Frye said. “Sadly, we were very naïve in that belief or, a more accurate word — ‘hope’. Everyone knows the reasons we were wrong in our estimate as to how safe things would be in the fall. Leave it at that.”

Frye added: “To use the words of a song from the ’60s: ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’; we really wanted and hoped that there could be a parade in 2021. We don’t feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching. We must cancel the parade for the second year.”

Frye noted that Pride was personal for him, saying he “came out after watching a Pride Parade. So did my husband Richard Pfeiffer. So did many of you.”

“I always imagine that one person (or more) that comes to the parade sees what can be in their life,” he continued. “They can have a happy, productive life and be LGBTQI+. We missed that person(s) in 2020 and now 2021. We won’t miss them again in 2022 or after.”

Last year’s parade cancelation was the first in Chicago Pride’s 50-year history, and came after the 2019 parade was cut short due to bad weather.

While the parade is officially canceled, Chicago Pride Fest organizers said that the 20th annual festival would be going ahead on Oct. 1 and 2.

Closer to home, the Capital Pride Alliance’s Colorful Fest — a block party, street fest, and more — is still scheduled to take place on October 16-17, after the June parade and festival were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, D.C.’s LGBTQ honored Pride weekend with a walk from Dupont Circle to Freedom Plaza, with thousands attending — including Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. 

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