Restrictions on large gatherings have put a damper on Pride events across the country this year. Physical gatherings such as Pride marches and rallies have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. But Chicagoans have found ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march online. There are a number of virtual events for the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate their hard-won civil rights. Campaigns to support queer-owned restaurants and businesses have cropped up all over the city as well.
Virtual Pride Events in Chicago
Chicago Pride Fest Online
The Northalsted Business Alliance is taking the Boystown Chicago Pride Fest online. It will be a celebration of love and diversity within the Chicago LGBTQ+ community and beyond. On June 20th and 21st from 7-9 p.m., tune in to the live stream to chat with community members, enjoy entertainment, and support activism. The event is free on Twitch. This is also an excellent way for the Chicago queer community to gear up for next year’s Pride. In 2021, Boystown will become the first government-recognized gay village and designated historic landmark in the United States.
Kiki in the Commons
The Museum of Contemporary Art’s pride festivities includes Kiki in the Commons, a virtual conversation about drag. A plethora of Chicago drag personalities including Irregular Girl and Kelly Boner are coming together to chat about drag as an art form, how it pertains to art history, and how it can be curated for museum exhibits. The free event will take place on Zoom and Facebook Live although there is a pay-what-you-can donation section on the reservations page.
The 4theQulture free event will be a 3-day Pride extravaganza. The fest is throwing the, “blackest, intersectional and intergenerational PRIDE celebration,” in Chicago. Every evening from June 26-28, expect DJ sets, theatrical performances, music, drag, dancing, and interactive games. LGBTQ+ centric organizations Reunion Chicago, Slo ‘Mo, and OTV have joined forces to make this celebratory event possible.
Queer-owned Dining Options
In East Lakeview, Jennivee's Bakery has a cure for every sweet tooth. A transgender woman and immigrant from the Philippines, Jenni grew up watching her mother bake. Now, her bakery and patisserie is serving up cakes (whole or by the slice), cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pastries, and coffee. The cake menu is in constant rotation but fan favorites include tres leches, Brooklyn blackout, and Buko Pandan. The shop is currently open for takeout or delivery and accepts custom orders.
D.S. Tequila Company
D.S. Tequila Company has been a Boystown staple since 2010. This burger and Tex-Mex joint serves hefty portions alongside an extensive margarita menu. The patio area is open for outdoor dining daily. Chicagoans can also take their pub grub to go or have it delivered. Even beer, wine, frozen treats, and cocktails are being offered on their takeout menu.
Rogers Park Social
Rogers Park Social is a retro lounge in the Far North district of Chicago. Husbands Erik Archambeault and William Meek have created a neighborhood retreat specializing in craft beer and cocktails. They’ve moved their business online since COVID-19 and are offering cocktails, beer, snacks, and home cocktail kits to go every day of the week except Monday. Cocktails come in single or large format sizes and are made with fresh ingredients and carefully chosen spirits.
Dubbed as a new-age NPR, E3 Radio combines talk and music curated to amplify queer voices. Anna DeShawn founded the radio station back in 2009 and features her podcast, Chicago’s Finest. On the podcast, she interviews members of the Chicago LGBTQ+ community about their lives, work, and causes that are important to them. For the last few years, E3 and held the Purple Tie Affair: Concert and Silent Auction. This charity event raises money for local queer causes, specifically those focused on queer people of color.
Rebirth Garments’ mission is to create gender non-conforming apparel and accessories for the widest range of bodies and abilities possible. Founder Sky Cubacub designs and hand makes every item. A nonbinary queer and disabled Filipinx person, Sky is working to create a free or reduced-price program to help queer youth and people in need. The online shop is full of bright colors and attention-grabbing patterns. Virtual customers can select fabrics or request custom designs more appropriate for their shapes and abilities.