Chicago leaders celebrate start of Pride Month with flag raising

The raising of the Pride flag at Daley Plaza on Monday marked more than a ceremony. It was an accounting of how Pride-related legislation and attitudes are manifesting in Cook County.

There are more elected officials who are "out" or "open" and dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ rights, several noting during their speeches they are the first openly queer, gay, or lesbian elected commissioner or alderperson, which was once a rare category.

The Cook County Pride Progress flag includes the colors of the rainbow, pink and light blue for transgender and non-binary persons, black and brown for marginalized communities. It is posted with the Cook County flag, announcing that Chicago and Cook County are welcoming and accepting.

"We are committed to ensuring that the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance protects all Cook County residents. We have a lot to be proud of," Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Mayor Brandon Johnson stressed the importance of making Chicago a welcoming community.

"Let’s make sure that people living outside the city of Chicago and Cook County can hear the joy and feel the love and know this is truly a place that welcomes them."

Officials said there is more work to be done to stop violence and discrimination, but Pride month is cause for celebration, something they can unite over.

"It is our collective responsibility to continue advocating for a world where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live openly and authentically," Cook County commissioner Anthony De Casada said.