Bars have always been de facto community spaces for the queer community. Bartender Felicia Van Kampen mixes a cocktail on June 23, 2022, at Nobody's Darling. Nobody's Darling — a small, Black-lesbian-owned queer bar in Andersonville — was recently named one of 20 national semifinalists for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. The bar's name is a nod to Alice Walker's "Be Nobody's Darling." Co-founder Angela Barnes told the Tribune when it opened, "We wanted this to be a women-centered, women-forward space and a bar where women feel comfortable — but also where everybody is welcome and everyone feels comfortable." Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — A Pride Month campaign is urging neighbors and allies to support LGBTQ+-owned businesses throughout June and beyond.

Paint the Town Pride is organized by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. Some highlights from the campaign include Shop Pride Pop-Up Market this week. The market is 4:30-7:30 p.m. June 13 at Wrigley Field, and will be followed by a Chicago Cubs night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The pop-up market will feature more than a dozen LGBTQ+ small business owners, said Dillin Ravenscraft, executive director for the chamber.

“We have a florist, we have coffee shops,” Ravenscraft said. “ … It’ll be kind of a marketplace that people could go into, whether they’re going to the game or not.”

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide To LGBTQ+-Owned Businesses In Chicago

The pop-up coincides with the Cubs’ Pride night.

TikTok stars Adam Motz and Tee Lam of “2 Dads 2 Twins” will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus will entertain fans before the game, as well as sing the national anthem, and two-time James Beard Award winner Chef Art Smith will sing the seventh-inning stretch. Chicago-based DJ Ca$h Era also will feature a curated playlist during the game.

Fans buying tickets to that game through this offer will get a special-edition Pride-themed Cubs hat. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket will be donated to Cubs Charities to support LGBTQ+ community partners, team officials said.

This year’s Pride celebration is the first in which the chamber has collaborated with the Cubs, Ravenscraft said. He said “it’s really impactful,” with the Cubs being one of the first teams to recognize the LGBTQ+ community and Laura Ricketts being an openly gay sports team owner.

“Being in Lakeview, they should do that and be good neighbors,” Ravenscraft said. “But not all teams are like that. … So we’re excited to partner with them and put on a really good event.”

Also as part of the chamber’s campaign, Epic Popcorn also will sell their rainbow pride popcorn mix and donate 10 percent of proceeds to the chamber’s foundation. The chamber is working to develop an online landing page that will direct consumers to transgender business owners’ shops, Ravenscraft said.

RELATED: Your Calendar For 2023 Pride Month Events Across Chicago

The chamber also is hosting include Paint the Town Pride Kiki on June 15, featuring a guided spray painting activity. Other events the group is promoting include the Northalsted Pride Fest on June 17-18 and the Pride Parade in Uptown and Lakeview on June 25.

Though it’s important to support LGBTQ-owned businesses during Pride Month, Ravenscraft said, he also stressed the importance of supporting those businesses all year long.

LGBTQ+ rights are at risk across the country, pointing to Florida recently advancing a bill restricting conversations about sexuality and gender in schools.

“Helping support our LGBT businesses … is really important right now because of the pushback,” he said.

Ravenscraft said safety is of the utmost importance for the chamber-affiliated events. In the meantime, he said the chamber will continue with more business advocacy efforts and speaking up for its members.

“We will keep at it,” he said. “That’s what we do.”

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: