Queering the Parks

*Queer is an umbrella term for sexualities and gender presentations that do not conform to heterosexual and cisgender norms. Originally synonymous with "strange" or "peculiar", queer has been used as a pejorative term for same-sex attraction for well over a century now. However, since at least the 1980s, queer-identified activists, have reclaimed the word as a politically charged, inclusive term for the LGBTQIA+ communities.

*Queering takes the above definition and turns it into an action. We define queering as expanding access and inclusion, in this case to our parks which serve the public, in all diverse and changing formations. 


Chicago Park District’s Queering the Parks (QTP) creates welcoming and liberatory public space by and for queer and trans youth. While prioritizing youth of color in organizing/leading QTP planning, all are welcome to participate in programming. Building on lessons from our 2019 launch, as well as our year in pandemic, we’re expanding to year-round programming focused on cultural production, popular education, resource sharing, and advocacy by and for QTPOC with a focus on the South and West sides of Chicago. 

In 2021 we are expanding our QTP Youth Leadership Committee to include more LGBTQIA+ youth of color ages 14-25. The QTP Youth committee are partnering with Chicago Public Libraries Radical Fit program to co-host a Queer Radical Fair on August 12th, at Ping Tom Memorial Park. In addition, our QTP youth committee is partnering with Chicago’s OTV on their #4TheQulture Pride Fest June 26-27th. 


What: Queer Radical Fair: LGBTQIA+ Fashion & Resource Fair 
When: Thursday, August 12th 3:00-7:00pm
Where: Ping Tom Memorial Park 
Who: LGBTQIA+ youth, adults + allies are welcome 
Expect: Co-hosted with the Chicago Public Library’s Radical Fit Program, this Queer Fashion Show and Resource Fair feature DJs, a fashion show, art making stations, OVID-19 vaccinations, HIV, and STI testing, employment and housing opportunities, as well as LGBTQIA+ accessible and culturally affirming mental health resources.


  • Najee-Zaid Searcy  -- M.C.
    Pronouns: any/all with respect
  • DJ Ca$hera
    Insta & All Socials: @djcashera
    Website: www.djcashera.com
  • Male Spice  --- Vogue Dancing Tutorial
    Pronouns: Any Insta: @male.spice
  • Chamilla Foxx 
    Pronouns: she/they in drag
    Insta/tiktok/twitter: @chamillafoxx


Health & Wellness 
Brave Space Alliance, Chicago Department of Public Health, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Midwest Asian Health Association, The Night Ministry, The Collective Yoga Cooperative

Advocacy  & Community Organizing
Chicago Freedom School, National Immigrant Justice Center, Únete La Villita, Invisible to Invincible Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, Alternatives to Calling the Police During Mental Health Crises

Arts & Culture Vendors 
Social Works, Youth Empowerment Performance Project, OnWord Skate Collective, Roots & Knots, ACRE, Chicago Artist Census, About Face Theater, Marwen, Sarita's Pleasure Pie Shop, Firebird Community Arts, Salty Brown Femme, Big Gay Soap Shop, Únete La Villita, Moth Gotha, Marimacha Monarca Press, Pisces Rising Studio, Pisces Rising Studio, for you thank you, Citlali, Lydia in the House, yourestillaflowershop, Kangmankey, poor paintings.

Accessibility Information 

  • This event will be happening in a park that has concrete paths, grass, a playground, and soft padded surfaces. The stage is wheelchair accessible.
  • Although we cannot require masks, because it is a public park - we do STRONGLY encourage them for everyone! (even vaccinated people - in order to protect our communities). 
  • There will be bathrooms on site including wheelchair accessible porta-potties
  • The nearest CTA option is Chinatown / Cermak Red Line
  • There will be noisy areas - two stages featuring DJs and there will be quiet areas for folks who may need to have a little more quite / less stimuli 
  • There is shelter in case of rain - we have rented out the Ping Tom Memorial Park Boathouse which has an indoor facility and there is coverage from rain under the overpass 
  • There will NOT be alcohol served at this event - this is a Chicago Public District event and no alcohol will be served or consumed on the premises 
  • There are shady spaces throughout the park for folks with sensory sensitivities - there are plenty of trees and two large underpasses 
  • Please let us know if you have any other access needs or questions and we’ll do our best to answer them!