BATAVIA – The Batavia City Council on June 7 approved a proclamation by Mayor Jeff Schielke declaring this to be Pride Month, with support for equality and diversity throughout the community.
The proclamation is specifically designed to celebrate the LBGTQ+ liberation movement and call for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification.
Schielke honored Michael Stroud of St. Charles, president of Out in Fox Valley, an LBGTG+ organization serving Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles.
“Our biggest goal is to create an alliance in the three cites,” Stroud said. “It’s about acceptance and educating the public.”
Reading the proclamation prior to the council vote was 3rd Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit, who has been a member of the council since 2010.
While Chanzit has never made it a secret that he is a gay man, neither has he promoted himself as such, especially in his role as an alderman.
“I didn’t want to be accused of a pushing a ‘gay agenda’,” Chanzit told his fellow council members.
In the past, Chanzit has said wanted to be known for his work on the council and that he did not want to be identified as “the gay alderman.”
Now, as one of the council’s most senior members, Chanzit told his colleagues that he has found “my authentic self.”
Out in Fox Valley is making plans for a Tri-Cities Pride Parade in St. Charles next year, Stroud said.
“The community has been so supportive,” said Michael Linder of St. Charles, a member of the Out in Fox Valley board. Also serving on the board is Melinda Weaver of Batavia.
Out in Fox Valley is holding two events in Batavia later this week.
At 6 p.m. on June 11 will be “Drag Queen Story Time” at Paula’s Couture Consignment, 4 and 2 W. Wilson St.
“We’ll be showing that gender expression is what you make of it,” Stroud said.
Then all day on June 12 there will be a drag show and bar-be-cue at Bulldogs Cellar Bar & Grill, 2 E. Wilson St.