Smile Politely

Here are a few ways to celebrate Pride in C-U

It’s June 1st, the beginning of Pride month, and there are a few different events happening in C-U. Pride Fest 2021 will still happen in September, when students are back, but why not take two months to celebrate? First, a great reminder of the origins of Pride from the folks at Uniting Pride:

“On a hot summer’s night in New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. Among the many leaders of the riots was black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson — leading the movement to continue over six days with protests and clashes. The message was clear; protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist, Brenda Howard. Known as, “The Mother of Pride,” a year after the Stonewall Riots, Brenda organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade. This eventually morphed into what we now know as the New York City Pride March, and from where parades and marches across the world evolved. Although we don’t hold our Pride Fest in June, we have some amazing events for you to participate in and SHOW YOUR PRIDE!!”

Drag Picnic

June 5th, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

West Side Park

Karma Carrington and Friends will be bringing music, entertainment, and crafts. Please register here so they can plan for crowd size. It will be followed by a Pride Happy Hour at NOLA’s Rock Bar from 4 to 6 p.m.

Pride Dance Party

June 12th, 10 p.m.

Rose Bowl Tavern

Following the Dolly Parton Tribute show (which also seems like something you should attend), there will be an 18+ dance party inside the Rose Bowl. Suggested $5 donation will benefit Uniting Pride. 

NOLA’s Pride Celebration

June 19th, 1 to 11 p.m.

NOLA’s Rock Bar

Family-friendly drag show from 3 to 5 p.m., and adult-approved drag show at 7 p.m. There will also be speciality cocktails, and local organizations will be there.

Pride Story Time

June 26th, 2 to 3 p.m.

Uniting Pride and Urbana Park District will be hosting an in person story time with stories, activities, and songs. Email for more details.


If you are inspired to support local LGBTQ+ youth and adults this month, here are a couple of great options:

Kindness Queers

Send art supplies or a “queerantine kit” from Art Coop to an LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13 and 18. 

Volunteer with or donate to Uniting Pride

Recently, Uniting Pride put out a call for donation of supplies as well as volunteers to help them bring back more in person events. Contact for more info. 

Support inclusive businesses

Check out this LGBTQ+ Affirming Business Network, and support C-U businesses that are inclusive and affirming to all. Specifically, seek out those that are LGBTQ+ owned. 

Top photo by Sam Logan.

Staff writer

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