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Queer Fam Pride Jam Draws Hundreds Of Families To Celebrate Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Community

PHOTOS: The all-ages Pride festival featured drag makeovers, house music dance lessons, LGBTQ+-owned vendors and other activities.

Choreographer Boogie McClarin leads families in a house music dance lesson at the Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Hundreds of families gathered at the Salt Shed on Sunday for an all-ages celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Queer Fam Pride Jam, organized by the party producers of Slo ‘Mo and children’s boutique Kido, featured dancing, drag makeovers and a market with local, LGBTQ+-owned businesses and artisans.

The event, originally scheduled in June during Pride Month, was postponed after a body was found in the river near the Salt Shed, 1357 N. Elston Ave., just before the festival was to begin.

Kristen Kaza, executive producer of Slo ‘Mo, said the Pride Jam took on a new meaning as a reminder that LGBTQ+ Pride should be celebrated year-round.

“Our pride is all year,” Kaza said. “We talk about how important it is for people to show up for LGBTQ+ people and businesses all year long, so it’s really wonderful that we have this opportunity and platform to do that.”

Keewa Nurullah, owner of Kido, said the celebration of Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community was important during a time when queer people and their rights are being targeted elsewhere across the country.

“Illinois has become kind of a safe haven, and the city of Chicago in particular, for making the country know that we’re not standing for the legislation that is excluding people and encouraging violence,” Nurullah said. “We feel so fortunate to be in this city where we feel at least a little bit safe.”

Other activities included a sing-a-long with Miss Katie Sings, who shared a song about Pride that educated kids about LGBTQ+ trailblazers like Marsha P. Johnson; a skateboarding area where kids could learn to ride with Natty Bwoy Bikes & Boards; and one of Slo ‘Mo’s iconic dance parties, with an R&B, house and disco playlist.

Mayor Brandon Johnson stopped by the Pride Jam to introduce its lineup of drag performers while promising to be an ally to the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Let me make this emphatically clear: we need to make sure we are protecting the trans community as well,” Johnson said. “You are seen, heard, loved and supported. … The diversity that is on display today is what I like to call the soul of Chicago.”

Check out Block Club’s photos of the Queer Fam Pride Jam:

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Bubble Lady Linda plays with kids at the Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Kids could try on wigs and receive drag makeovers at the Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Mayor Brandon Johnson poses for a photo with the Pride Jam’s drag performers.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks at the 2023 Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Kids practice the choreography they learned from Boogie McClarin at the Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Drag king Tenderoni co-hosted the Pride Jam’s drag showcase.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Miss Katie Sings leads kids in a sing-a-long at the Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Families waved colorful scarves and shook maracas during Miss Katie’s sing-a-long.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Kids could receive skate lessons from Natty Bwoy Bikes & Boards at the Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Drag queen Kenzie Couleé played the violin for kids at the Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Children dance during the 2023 Queer Fam Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Children had fun chasing bubbles at the Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
A few hundred LGBTQ+ families and their allies celebrated at the Pride Jam.
Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Children had a blast chasing bubbles around at the Pride Jam.

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