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'It is magical': Pride South Side celebrates the LGBTQ+ community this weekend

Pride South Side celebrates the LGBTQ+ community this weekend
Pride South Side celebrates the LGBTQ+ community this weekend 02:08

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Pride is not just confined to Chicago's North Side.

Right now, there is a movement to highlight what the South Side has to offer as well, as efforts just keep growing. CBS 2's Steven Graves has more on what it means to those who put it all together. 

Five years ago, it just started out as a picnic. Now, Jae Rice Co-Organizer of Pride South Side, has created a force. How would he describe it?

"It's more intentional. It's a lot deeper. It is magical."

Growing up in Evanston, Rice saw a need to make a space for he and his partner that set itself apart from what we normally see as Pride on Chicago's North Side.

"I think people seem to forget that the South Side has a huge concentration of Black Queer, Black Trans, Black gender non-conforming folks," Rice said.

That history dates back to the 1930s, seen in pictures of queer cabarets and Drag Shows. Rice said the South Side's biggest struggle continues to be access to resources in the Black queer community.

"First thing that comes to mind usually is HIV, STI treatment and prevention."

Channyn Parker is with Howard Brown Health, which has a clinic in Englewood. For the first time, the health system is a main sponsor for this year's Black Pride, a weekend of events with resources, activities and talks centered at Washington Park's DuSable Museum.

Parker said upwards of 35,000 mainly LGBTQ people visit centers like this one in a year. But not everyone seeks help, which makes events like Black Pride essential.

"We want to provide equitable healthcare regardless of your ability to pay," Parker said.

It is an uphill battle, said Parker, to fight the stigma of living queer and coming out in the Black community. The hope is for Black Pride to continue to encourage people with its growth. Maybe even a parade someday.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed for that!"

People from across the country are expected for this weekend's events. It starts Friday and goes through Sunday. Click here for details on events.

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