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A Pride flag is raised in Daley Plaza in the Loop after a news conference to kick off Pride Month, Monday, June 3, 2024. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A Pride flag was raised in Daley Plaza Monday to kick off Pride Month.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Rainbow flag raised over Daley Plaza to celebrate Pride Month and ‘unity and solidarity’

Mayor Brandon Johnson and other local officials spoke of Chicago’s historically prominent role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, while acknowledging recent threats to that progress.

An enormous rainbow flag was raised in Daley Plaza on Monday to kick off Pride Month, the annual celebration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle gathered with several LGBTQ+ officials to celebrate the flag-raising. They spoke of Chicago’s prominent role in the history of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights while acknowledging recent threats to that progress.

“Celebrating Pride Month is more than just a festive occasion,” said Cook County Commissioner Anthony Quezada, the first openly gay Latino to serve on the County Board.

“It’s a powerful testament of unity and solidarity. It’s a time to reflect on the history of the LGBTQ movement, to acknowledge the struggles and sacrifices made, and to celebrate the diversity that strengthens our communities. “

The Pride flag raised in Daley Plaza includes black and brown stripes to portray marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color, as well as blue and pink stripes for transgender and nonbinary members.

Preckwinkle highlighted some of Chicago’s prominent institutions in the gay community, including the Gerber Hart Library Archives, Windy City Times, Howard Brown Health Center and the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, founded in 1991.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Preckwinkle said. “Yet while we take pride in this progress, we also recognize there’s much work still to be done.”

The LGBTQ+ community faces many threats in less-welcoming states that have passed legislation to limit access to gender-affirming care. Nearly a year ago, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans — the first time in its history — in response to the more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ state bills introduced across the country.

The threats are international, too. The State Department issued a warning to LGBTQ+ travelers about the heightened risk of terrorist attacks targeting the community during Pride Month celebrations.

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