Aurora's First Pride Parade In Pictures

AURORA, IL — Aurora reached a historic milestone when it hosted its first Pride Parade Sunday. Throngs of people came out to paint the city rainbow, despite dangerous temperatures and conflicting Father's Day events. Some local police cars even donned rainbow decals during the festivities. 

Some protesters turned out to oppose the event, leading to some brief tense moments throughout the celebration. 

Here's a look at some of the images residents shared on social media to share their love, enthusiasm, and support for the Aurora Pride Parade.

Aurora’s First Pride Celebration

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a day some in Aurora call generations in the making.

The community hosted its first Pride parade.

CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports most celebrated, but some protested.

The vibrant colors on flags didn’t dull in the sweltering heat.

Aurora’s first Pride parade route stretched less than a mile through downtown.

But to so many, the distance can’t quite be measured.

“It just shows that Aurora has come so far,” said Sue Bohr.

Born and raised in Aurora, Bohr and her wife said they wanted to come to witness history.

“It’s nice and shady here. It’s nice and cool,” said Bohr, who added that before Sunday they’d have to drive to Chicago to take part in a celebration of who they are.

“It gives you chills because it’s something that you can be a part of that you thought would never happen here,” she said.

Thousands lined the parade route cheering on participants, but a handful were not here to do that.

“You are celebrating what god hates,” said one protester.

“I don’t let them get to me,” said Bohr.

“Don’t dance your way into hell celebrating what god hates,” continued the protester.

About a half-dozen protested the march, handing out leaflets and posting flyers condemning those involved.

For about two hours, 60 floats and groups took to the street, including Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

A first for Aurora, and a milestone for many living there.

Organizers say they’re already considering next year’s activities. Adding they’re hoping to expand events to include not just a parade but a weekend dedicated to the LGBTQ community.

'Acceptance is edging out into the suburbs': Inaugural Pride Parade steps off in Aurora

The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community from throughout the suburbs attended Aurora's inaugural Pride Parade Sunday afternoon.

It was only four months ago that the Aurora City Council voted unanimously to award a permit for the LGBT Pride Parade.

"Today signifies One Aurora," Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said as he walked in the parade.

The parade stepped off at noon from Benton and River streets and traveled through downtown.

Many of the spectators celebrating their sexuality — accompanied by lots of friends and family — were decked out in colorful beads and leis, and waving Pride flags.

Some said they usually attend the Pride Parade in Chicago.

Clayton Muhammad, Aurora director of communications, said the "One Aurora" theme has been part of Irvin's administration since he first took office in April 2017.

"When we talk about the City of Lights, these rays of lights come in all colors, shapes and forms," Muhammad said.

Muhammad estimated there were some 5,000 parade attendees, along with some 3,000 that were actually in the parade.

A group of people arrive early to view the Aurora Pride Parade in Aurora, IL on Sunday, June 17, 2018 (Sean King/Beacon-News)

Original crowd estimates were reduced in large part due to temperatures in the mid-90s and a heat index in the triple digits, according to officials from Indivisible Aurora, organizers of the parade.

Those who were there said they came to show their gay pride in the suburbs regardless of the weather. Many said the first-ever Pride Parade in Aurora has them feeling hope.

A contingency of friends from Geneva, St. Charles and S. Elgin stood at the corner of Stolp Avenue and E. Benton Street.

"Clearly the city of Aurora embraces its diversity," St. Charles resident Kevin Skeesick said.

Skeesick had only praise for Irvin as a mayor he described as "inclusive" and "supportive" of the LGBT community.

"We have never seen this in the suburbs," said Skeesick, 44. “The parade is a sign that things are changing.

"It's been very slow in my lifetime, but acceptance is edging out into the suburbs," he said.

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Parade Grand Marshall Jim Corti holds up a sign during the Aurora Pride Parade in Aurora, IL on Sunday, June 17, 2018 (Sean King/Beacon-News)

The city of Aurora partnered with Indivisible Aurora, which approached the city about hosting a Pride Parade on Father's Day earlier this year.

Indivisible Aurora Executive Director Chuck Adams, who is an ally to the LGBT community, said it was organized as a family parade. The parade featured various groups, including 11 churches and synagogues.

"For individuals, the parade is a form of affirmation," Adams said.

Skeesick came with about 15 people, but he said the group would have been larger had it not been so hot.

"The hot weather did keep some of our friends away," he said.

About 85 people from the New England Congregational Church led by a 1929 Model T were near the front of the parade.

The Aurora church is considered a "frontrunner" in the LGBT community. It was one of the first churches in the area to have civil unions, church members said.

"We have been open and affirming to everyone," Kris Hasty said.

Hasty, 60, said she has two children with her partner.

"It gives us a little bit of comfort knowing we are accepted in the suburbs. We are thrilled that Aurora has decided to show its pride for the gay community," she said.

Carla Peters was part of the New England Congregational Church. "Today is a day of celebration and acknowledgement of who we are. This is monumental. I never thought this would happen in Aurora," Peters said.

"Aurora is so large we never knew where the support was. My wife and I first found support in the church," said Peters, 55.

The parade grand marshal was Jim Corti, artistic director at the Paramount Arts Theatre. Corti said the parade is a way to recognize a segment of Aurora's population.

"It's also good for young people who are struggling with their identity for us to be a good example, and to let them know we are here for them," Corti said prior to the parade stepping off.

Corti waved a "Got Love" placard to parade watchers along the route.

Zac Strater, 17, said he appreciates that his hometown is the first community in the suburbs to have such a parade.

"It's groundbreaking for the suburbs," Strater said.

Andrea Goudy and Mary Johnson met one another in 1971. The partners now live in Batavia. They drove the parade grand marshal in their red 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier convertible reserved for special occasions.

"The parade represents acceptance and validation," said Goudy, 71.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was among the politicians that walked in the parade.

"It's wonderful to see the first Pride Parade in Aurora — it's awesome," Rauner shouted.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, led a contingency of Democrats who marched in the parade as well.

Amanda Zigterman marched representing Community United Methodist Church of Naperville.

"We tell our children love is love," the Naperville woman said. "As a mother I feel anxious because of the heat, but I am happy to be here. We need to show more kindness in the world.”

Yorkville residents Richard Knox and Michael Loberg said the parade leaves them feeling hopeful. The partners found a glimmer of shade beneath a floral basket on the Benton Street Bridge.

"We never thought that we would see a Pride Parade so close to our hometown," said Loberg, 31. "While it feels as though we are getting pushed back at times, we are moving forward.”

Knox, 28, added, "It shows there is still some happiness in the world."

Aurora hosts inaugural LGBTQ pride parade

Rainbow flags, colorful balloons and thousands of brightly dressed people lined the streets of downtown Aurora on Sunday for the city's inaugural pride parade.

Many residents said they had been waiting years for their community to host such an event, which celebrated people of all identities. For the organizers of the Aurora Pride Parade -- the first of its kind in the Western suburbs -- seeing that vision become a reality is both overwhelming and humbling, said Chuck Adams, founder of Indivisible Aurora.

"It's a very emotional day for a lot of us, many of us who are allies of the LGBT community, who have loved ones in that community, or who are part of that community themselves," he said. "I told our members, 'Take a deep breath, exhale, smile and know that you are making history.' That's what we want to focus on right now."

About 60 parade entries made up of nearly 3,000 people braved the 90-degree heat to march along the U-shaped parade route. Participants included members of gay-straight alliances from Aurora-area schools, an LGBTQ alliance from the Aurora Police Department, and groups from the Fox Valley Park District, the Aurora Public Library, various local businesses and faith-based organizations.

Several businesses also offered specials during the day, such as food and drink deals and discounted apparel. A Balloon Creation, an Aurora party supply store, decorated the parade reviewing stand and the mayor's float. It also created large, colorful balloon displays to carry along the route.

"I'm very excited because Aurora is such a large community, and we've needed this for a long time to show that we are with the current times and trends," store owner Lisa Talip said. "For the whole community, I think it's a way of showing their individuality and their love."

A handful of protesters gathered in front of the reviewing stand denouncing the parade. Signs opposing the parade's message also were posted throughout the area overnight, but organizers removed them Sunday morning, Adams said.

"They have every right to exercise their First Amendment rights," he said. "We're going to focus on the people who are here to support the community."

Maritza Felix of Aurora said she attended the parade to set a good example for her children. As a lesbian, she said she wants them to know that they can love and express themselves in any way.

"It's awesome because it shows that we're growing. It shows that people are starting to accept people for who they are," Felix said. "It's OK to show our youth that it's OK to be different. It's OK to be who you are and not have to fight it."

North Aurora resident Vince Zell said it's refreshing to see a pride parade held outside Chicago and hopes the trend will continue. The event brings awareness to the suburbs, he said, and serves as an opportunity to lift up individuals who don't always get the support they need.

"This is the place for all of us to just be one, together," Zell said. "Why stop here? Spread the love from here out."

Aurora holds first pride parade

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- 

Thousands lined the streets of west suburban Aurora on Sunday for the city's first-ever pride parade.

"It's exceeded our expectations. We're really, really thrilled. It's history . And all of us involved recognized that," said Chuck Adams, executive director and founder of Indivisible Aurora, a progressive community advocacy group that pushed for the parade permit.

Members of the city's LGBTQ community started planning the parade 18 months ago after wanting to commemorate those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla.

"We aren't one Aurora until we include everyone. This parade represents something we've never done -- absolute inclusion of every community," said Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.

While city officials signed off on the parade permit, there were some who protested the event on Sunday morning. Flyers with phrases such as "Love kills Pride" and "Homosexuality is a sin" were put up near the start of the parade route denouncing the event.

 

Aurora's first ever Pride Parade kicks off Sunday at noon.


"I was coming into town about quarter to six and saw all the signage and I thought, 'Oh cool, someone decorated' and then I got a little closer and I realized what it was, so I was a little taken aback," said Aurora Special Events Manager Gina Moga. "We knew there would be some protesters, but we're prepared for that."

Organizers said they anticipated backlash and there were a small group of protesters. However, their message was drowned out by parade-goers.

"We're called by Jesus to love one another. This morning in worship we talked about loving one another and there's no room for hate. We want to welcome and accept all people," said Rev. John Bell, of Wesley United Methodist Church in Aurora.

The parade is one of many pride festivities continuing in the Chicago area all week. Chicago's pride parade is scheduled for next Sunday.

And while the Aurora parade lacked the crowds and many of the risqué costumes usually associated with pride, people didn't seem to mind one bit. They were excited to have an alternative to Chicago's much-larger event.

"The crowds get so big down there it's really nice to have something here to come to here," said parade attendee Sadie Pristave.

The parade started at noon at River and Benton, with the route going east on Benton to Broadway before continuing left to Downer and ending at River and Downer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined in the kick-off festivities. The parade grand marshal was Jim Corti, the artistic director at the Paramount Theatre.

For more about the parade, visit Indivisible Aurora's Pride parade website.

Aurora's first Pride parade steps off Sunday

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- 

Aurora will make history Sunday when its first-ever Pride parade steps off downtown at noon. Parade organizers emphasized Aurora's parade will feel different than the one in Chicago.

"This isn't Chicago. Chicago's Pride parade fits Chicago's personality," said Chuck Adams, executive director and founder of Indivisible Aurora, a progressive community advocacy group that pushed for the parade permit. "What we were really careful to do is make sure we had a Pride parade that aligned with the values of this city, so it will be family friendly."

Adams said the idea started after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida, where a gunman killed 49 people in 2016. At the time, Adams said community members wanted to pay tribute to the shooting victims and realized there was not a Pride parade in Aurora. From there, Indivisible Aurora, which advocates for LGBTQ issues, gender equality, and immigration and refugee rights, worked to make the parade happen.

"In Aurora, this is an inclusive community where everybody is welcomed, everybody is loved, everybody is affirmed," said Adams. "And, more importantly, for people who are struggling with their sexual identity, is that things get better."

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has supported the parade.

"Mayor Irvin, being a top leader, really leads by example," said Mike Nelson, Aurora's special events coordinator. "He likes to throw the phrase out, 'One Aurora.' That means everybody."

On Sunday, organizers expect thousands of people to attend.

In all they are expecting 15,000 to 25,000 supporters, 60 parade units, 3,000 parade marchers, 11 faith communities and 80 volunteers.

The Pride parade will take place in downtown Aurora, where business windows are already decorated, welcoming parade goers to stop by and shop. Andria Sosa, a cafe manager at Tredwell Coffee, already feels the support.

"If you call Aurora home and you're a part of this community, it lets you know you have a family no matter what," Sosa said. "I think that's something a lot of people struggle with, so it's nice to have that surrounding community."

One alderman abstained from voting on the parade permit but, overall, the mayor and others supported the move. Sosa added that it's a bold move for the city, especially outside of Chicago.

"I applaud Aurora for taking that stance and not really caring what others have to say about that - so it's really exciting," she said.

The parade grand marshal will be Jim Corti, the artistic director at the Paramount Theatre. If you would like to learn more about the parade, please visit Indivisible Aurora's Pride parade website.

After Years of Secrecy, Aurora's First-Ever Pride Parade Steps Off This Weekend

For nearly 20 years, Peter Thaddeus would go to a room tucked away on the third story of a Chicago-area church, where for a brief time, he could finally be himself.

Now, roughly two decades later, Thaddeus is prepared to walk in the first-ever pride parade for his suburban hometown – a public display he never imagined he’d be a part of.

For so long, Thaddeus was only able to be his true self inside those small walls at Aurora’s New England Congressional Church. The small room was a sanctuary for many like Thaddeus, who was afraid to tell his family, classmates or even many of his friends, that he was gay.

“Before that, I had two people that I knew who were gay,” he said. “But to be in a group of people, not just to hear their experiences, not just gay people but lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, people who I thought had amazing stories and they were able to come out .... If they could do it, I could do it.”

Rev. Gary McCann was one of few who knew about the room. Knowledge of it was kept secret, even from some members of the congregation.

It was intended to be a safe space for those not accepted outside of the room’s walls.

“We just told people this isn’t something to talk about because of the safety issue,” McCann said. Now, outside the four walls of that room, an entire group of people will parade down city streets with pride.

“I’ve already got some of my rainbow gear,” Thaddeus said.

Aurora’s first-ever pride parade will step off Sunday after the city approved an application for the event in February.

Some opposed the proposal but many supported the decision.

Today, the room that once housed so many secrets for many marching in the event this weekend acts as a classroom for students. And many walking Sunday hope there is lesson to be learned from their secrecy.

“Being visible is so important and to get out there and show our pride,” Thaddeus said. “Something about being in their own community is super important. It’s Aurora but it’s the surrounding suburbs too. It’s accessible and it’s a chance to be seen and be out and proud.”

Aurora's first gay pride parade 'to celebrate everyone'

Already a city of diversity, Aurora is about to host a new event designed to acknowledge, include and welcome people of all identities.

It's the city's first gay pride parade, set to step off at noon Sunday, June 17, from Benton Avenue and River Street.

If you go

What: Inaugural Aurora Pride Parade
When: Noon Sunday, June 17
Where: Route starts at Benton Avenue and River Street; heads east on River; turns north on Broadway; turns west on Downer Place; ends and Downer and River
Who: Hosted by Indivisible Aurora featuring 60 units such as local LGBTQ groups, Gay-Straight Alliances, businesses, politicians and faith groups
Cost: Free; all are welcome
Info: aurorapride.org

The purpose of the parade is "to celebrate everyone," said Chuck Adams, founder of Indivisible Aurora, which got city permission in March to host the new event.

"We want to validate and celebrate and affirm the LGBTQ community in Aurora and the Western suburbs," Adams said, "and to help people who are struggling with their identity to understand that it will get better."

Featuring 60 units in what's promised to be a G-rated environment, the event will allow gay-straight alliances, LGBTQ groups, bands, businesses, dancers, politicians, faith organizations and anyone with pride in their identity to put it on display. In that way, pride parades tend to reflect the communities in which they take place, so organizers say Aurora's will be family-friendly and inclusive.

"It's going to be the kind of thing where you can bring anybody -- from teens to your grandma to your 6-year-old," said Gwyn Ciesla, an Indivisible Aurora board member and one of the organizers of the parade. "We're reaching out to everybody and saying that every individual is a member of the community, no matter what our differences are."

Gaining approval for the parade required a debate in front of the city's government operations committee, in which opponents voiced concerns about logistics, safety, financing, nudity, the potential for unlawful behavior and the fact the event is scheduled for Father's Day.

Supporters convinced two of the three government operations committee members to vote in favor of the event, and when the third abstained, the event got the go-ahead.

Since then, Adams said Indivisible Aurora has been fundraising through a GoFundMe page. The page so far has raised $8,455.

"What's really nice is that we have received Facebook messages and emails and donations from Aurorans all around the country … who have said to us, 'I left Aurora years ago because I never felt accepted. I'm coming back home for this parade,'" Adams said. "There's nothing prouder."

Participating parade units are set to include the Lakeside Pride LGBT marching band from Chicago, an LGBTQ alliance from the Aurora Police Department, gay-straight alliances from Aurora-area high schools and colleges, and groups from SciTech Hands On Museum, the Aurora Public Library, the Fox Valley Park District, a synagogue and 10 churches.

"We're really excited to have all of them add to the festive atmosphere that we're trying to convey here," Adams said.

One of the participating churches is New England Congregational Church United Church of Christ, which Senior Minister Gary McCann says already welcomes many lesbian and gay members with professionally led support groups for high school students who are questioning their sexual or gender identity as well as families and friends of people in the LGBT community.

Wearing matching shirts and marching behind a rainbow banner with the words "Jesus didn't exclude anyone; neither do we," will be about 85 church members who all "want to support this community," McCann said.

As her home city celebrates its first pride parade, Ciesla will, too. Although she's researched several pride fests as she's helped plan Aurora's first, she has never attended.

"As an LGBT person, you'd think so," she said. "But I haven't."

She said that further underscores the need for a suburban celebration of pride.

"It's a long time coming," Ciesla said about the parade. "I was surprised to find out that there hadn't been anything in a city this size before."

The parade route makes a "U" shape in downtown, heading east on Benton from River Street, then turning north on Broadway and west on Downer Place to end where Downer meets River Street. At least 11 businesses, listed on the parade website as "Pride Stops" are offering specials on parade day, including cheap pizza, drink deals, buy-one-get-one pastries, discounted apparel and $1-per-minute chair massages.

The route of about a half-mile isn't far, but it's enough to make Aurora's gay pride evident, organizers say. If the event goes well, Indivisible Aurora may try to expand next year to include more of a festival environment.

Column: Aurora's inaugural Pride Parade is ground-breaking and also a homecoming

It was more than 20 years ago — in 1997 — that I wrote a column about a local couple who had divorced after the husband came out as gay.

There were no real names used back then, although the woman regretted the story having to be “this complicated, this secretive” — and expressed hope some day the stigma associated with homosexuality would be reduced so both could come out of the closet.

In the meantime, I wrote, just call them Mary and Tom. And don’t try to figure out who they are.

I shake my head in amazement as I read that old story. It’s a similar reaction I get when I think back to the wall of anonymity we ran into a few years later when Beacon-News reporters tried to do a comprehensive series on gays and lesbians living and working in the Fox Valley. Few wanted to use their names, no one wanted to be photographed. And the project, not for lack of trying, was eventually scrapped.

How drastically things have changed … in our culture and particularly in our community.

When Aurora’s inaugural Pride Parade steps off at noon on Sunday, sponsors will include ComEd, as well as other large and small businesses, health and professional groups, even local churches.

And there will be around 60 marching units — including floats, a band, dancers and other musical entertainment, fire trucks and antique cars — which is the maximum suggested by the city to keep the event within a manageable two-hour time range.

What surprised parade organizer Gwyn Ciesla the most, she told me, was not so much the 150 to 200 employees from area Target stores who will be marching, but the fact there will be more than a dozen churches or Christian organizations taking part, as well as a synagogue.

That number, said Ciesla, “far outstripped my wildest dreams.”

Not that this parade has been without controversy. Supporters have maintained it will be a G-rated family affair, but some members of Aurora’s faith community expressed concerns about what a gay pride parade would entail. And there were also critics upset it would be held on Father’s Day, which is also the last day of the Blues on the Fox festival.

But Chuck Adams, who has lived here 15 years and co-founded Indivisible Aurora with wife Kimberly as part of a national progressive movement after the 2016 presidential election, insists “I would not change a thing” in how it all came together.

The controversy, said Adams, “lifted the profile” of the event, not only attracting media but local, state and national allies. And once the story broke, “the fundraising began.”

Getting so many churches involved, Adams added, “has been a singular pleasure to me,” in light of the early opposition from the faith community.

Several church leaders told me on Tuesday that, while they support the rights of any group to hold a parade as long as rules are followed, they remain disappointed and concerned about the way the city so enthusiastically endorsed this event.

Mayor Richard Irvin, the city’s first African-American mayor, certainly did just that, even referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in February when urging officials to approve the parade permit. And on Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, Irvin presented a proclamation to parade organizers, declaring June as Pride Month in Aurora and specifically singling out the Sunday parade.

When Indivisible Aurora came up with the idea of a pride parade outside Chicago it wasn’t so much why Aurora but why not Aurora, the second largest city in the state and certainly one that has not only morphed from its blue-collar industrial roots to a more diverse and artistic community, it has passionately embraced that new identity.

Ciesla gives plenty of credit to the city for its cooperation, particularly the police department, which “has worked closely with us on safety and security issues.”

Officials indicated there will be more security at this event, not just because of possible protesters but in response to last summer’s violence in Charlottesville that put more cities on higher alert.

While there may be some Chicago folks who show up on Sunday, this first-ever suburban pride parade — there have been others downstate — is definitely “a Fox Valley and western suburbs event,” Ciesla said.

At one time, organizers considered adding a festival to the day but decided on just one event for this inaugural year so we could “knock it out of the park,” she noted.

There will also be plenty of shops and food vendors open for business, and Adams encourages people to come not just for the parade but to “hang out all day, eat breakfast or lunch and see what else is going on downtown.”

Ciesla, who has lived here for 12 years, says she’s hearing from plenty of older Fox Valley LGBT residents who have had a “foot out of the closet for a decade or more recently,” and who insist this event is “long overdue and can’t believe they lived long enough to see it.”

Ciesla said she was also encouraged by those who showed up in support at the council meeting. It was not so much the LGBT audience that touched her but the “parents of children who are exploring their sexuality or who say they don’t know what their kid is yet.”

“It is different,” she said, “than it used to be.”

An understatement, to be sure. Which is why I have no doubt there will be those who, not that long ago refused to give us their names or faces, will proudly show up at this parade … no longer concerned about being quoted or photographed.

Adams says he’s heard from more than a dozen transplanted Aurorans from all over the country — Florida, California, Kansas, Arizona — who left this city because they never felt as if they fit in.

All of them, he told me, indicate they plan to return to Aurora for this parade.

“They feel like they can finally come home.”

Aurora Pride Parade 2018: Parking, Route, More

AURORA, IL — Aurora is going to see its very first gay pride parade this June. The Inaugural Pride Parade, hosted by Indivisible Aurora, is the first of its kind in the town and is sure to be a great time.

"This is unique in that it's the first of its kind in the western suburbs, and it's long overdue in a city of Aurora's size and diversity," organizer Gwyn Ciesla said, according to the Aurora Beacon-News. "Other communities have begun planning their own celebrations, such as Bolingbrook, and we couldn't be more pleased."

The June 17 parade starts at noon. They'll march off at South River Street and West Benton Street, crossing the Fox. They'll circle back on West Downer Place, ending at South River Street.

Ciesla said one major reason for the parade is so Aurora's LGBTQ community doesn't have to travel far to show their pride. "The broad motivation for this event is to show support for the LGBTQ membersof our community, but our particular focus is LGBTQ youth," Ciesla said, the Beacon-News reports. "While many have supportive families and schools, not all are so lucky."

Scott Mackay and Danielle Tufano of 95.9 the River are emceeing the event, and tons of local business are offering specials all day.

 

Parade Route:

  • Start at South River Street and West Benton Street
  • Go southeast on West Benton Street
  • Go northeast on South Broadway
  • Go northwest on West Downer Place
  • End at South River Street and West Downer Place

See the map below to for parade route, parking, restrooms and local stores, via Indivisible Aurora.

There will also be free HIV status checks provided by Open Door Health Center of Illinois, according to the parade website.

This free event is open to everybody, so whether you're gay, straight, trans, bisexual—it doesn't matter—you will be accepted and welcome.