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2024 Chicago Pride Parade to start earlier, have fewer entries due to safety concerns

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The 2024 Chicago Pride Parade will be downsized this year due to safety concerns.

In a statement Wednesday, PRIDEChicago said the concerns about safety and logistics were raised as parade organizers met with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Police Department. The statement did not go into specifics about the concerns.

Thus, the parade – which is planned for Sunday, June 30 – will be capped at 125 entries. Last year, there were 199.

The parade will also start an hour earlier – stepping off at 11 a.m. instead of noon.

"We understand there will be some disappointed groups that will not march with us this year," organizers wrote. "We extend a heartfelt thank you for your support and understanding."

Chicago Pride noted that when it came to approving participants this year, priority went to "LGBTQ+ organizations, LGBTQ+-owned businesses, and businesses with LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups."

"The Pride Parade has always been about celebrating LGBTQ+ pride, unity, and solidarity, and this year will be no different," organizers said.

Parade organizers directed additional questions about the changes to the City of Chicago.

The theme for this year's parade, announced last month, is "Pride is Power." The parade this year will highlight the role the parade has played over the years in creating visibility and advocating for change in Chicago and the surrounding area's LGBTQ+ community, organizers said.

Parade organizers noted that in 2023, for the first time ever, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans – in response to more than 550 bills introduced in state houses across the country that would in some way restrict LGBTQ+ rights.

More than 80 such bills were passed into law, parade organizers noted. Most specifically targeted the rights of transgender people, organizers noted.

The Pride Parade steps off at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 30 at Broadway and Montrose, and proceeds south and southeast on Broadway, south on Halsted Street, east on Belmont Avenue, south on Broadway again, and east on Diversey Parkway before ending in the park of Lincoln Park.

The Chicago Pride Parade started on June 27, 1970, as a march from Bughouse Square at Dearborn and Walton streets to what is now the Daley Center downtown. It was intended to commemorate the uprising at the Stonewall Inn tavern in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood a year earlier.

The route has changed many times over the years, but has at least started in the East Lakeview area since the second parade in 1971. The parade was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been back strong as ever since 2022.

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