Gay pride parade rolls in Buffalo Grove, its young founder headed to college and passing torch

Gay pride parade rolls in Buffalo Grove, its young founder headed to college and passing torch

Molly Pinta was in middle school when she founded the gay pride parade in Buffalo Grove – the village’s first. Now a young adult and heading off to college later this summer, she is passing the reins of the ever-growing, annual parade on to her parents.

On June 2, 2019, shortly before the first parade rolled, Pinta, who was 13 at the time, stood on a Buffalo Grove road that morning as a rising seventh-grader, posing with her parents Bob and Carolyn Pinta for a family portrait.

The Pinta family, including Bob, from left, Molly and Carolyn, are pictured June 2, 2019 before the start of the inaugural Buffalo Grove Pride Parade in Buffalo Grove. The parade this year was held June 2, 2024 and Molly is now 18 and headed to college. (Karie Angell Luc/ Pioneer Press)
Molly Pinta, right, is pictured with her father, Bob Pinta, May 24, 2024 at the Adlai E. Stevenson High School Class of 2024 commencement at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates. Molly started the gay pride paraded in Buffalo Grove and will turn it over to her parents as she heads off to college. (Courtesy/Bob Pinta)

Since then, the “Buffalo Grove Pride Parade” has been a milestone for the Pinta family, who now live in Prairie View. The parade has adapted in format over the years, changing to a drive-by event during the COVID-19 pandemic and then moving to another reconfiguration of the parade route, including the one at this year’s parade June 2.

“I am truly turning the entire project over to my parents,” Molly Pinta told Pioneer Press. “I will serve the world taking care of animals, but my parents will continue this work into the future.”

Now 18, Molly graduated this year from Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire and was photographed again on the parade route with her family – a full circle moment for the family, they said.

Molly is headed to the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri to pursue a career as a veterinarian.

“I will be home in time to help them on parade weekend every year and I look forward to cheering them on,” Molly said.

The gay pride parade and The Pinta Pride Project, a nonprofit organization, will continue but will be managed by parents Carolyn and Bob Pinta.

“She is fully passing the reins off to mom and dad to continue this project,” Carolyn Pinta said.

This year’s pride parade had 95 entries and “was the best one yet,” Carolyn Pinta said, with an estimated 5,000 attendees. The theme was “Drag Us to the Polls.”

Among the participants this year was the local chapter of League of Women Voters.

“If people don’t vote, LGBTQ rights are first on the chopping block with a Republican administration,” said Carolyn Pinta. “Terrifying times.”

Bob Pinta said it will be important for people to get out the vote.

“It is imperative that we don’t just vote, but that we get others to vote also,” he said.

On the university campus, Molly plans to keep being an advocate of the LGBTQ community.

“At Mizzou, I plan to be a very serious student and someone who will always support my own LGBTQ community, but it is not my destiny to lead a [gay] pride group,” Molly said.

Looking back to when The Pinta Pride Project was launched in 2018, Molly said, “I am thrilled that queer teens and families in my area have the parade to look forward to every year and it is pretty exciting to think that it all started with me.

“But my parents and I started this work when I was so young that it just kind of feels like ‘what we do’ rather than something that makes me feel accomplished.”

Karie Angell Luc is a freelancer.