BY AJ TRAGER
TRAVERSE CITY – The Second Annual Up North Pride comes to Traverse City for a week of LGBT-centric events.
Up North Pride and The Michael Chetcuti Foundation will host Up North Pride Week beginning June 22 leading up to a Visibility Stroll June 27 at noon.
“This coming June brings high expectations for our state and our Northern Michigan community as the highest court deliberates the monumental decision of marriage equality,” Up North Pride Co-Chair Marta Turnbull said. “Our grand marshals demonstrate ‘Up North Pride’ and LGBT advocacy on different stages, and their commitment to enriching culture and community in Northern Michigan inspires us.”
Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. June 22 with a Coming Out Over Coffee event of sharing stories of coming-out with Windfire Youth Group and Brew Coffee House in Downtown Traverse City.
HereSay Storytelling, a monthly storytelling event, will host an LGBT coming-out event beginning at 7 p.m. June 22, where participants can share their coming-out stories with LGBT youth in a round table, open environment.
A sign making party for the June 27 Visibility Stroll will be held at the Rare Bird Brewery at 7 p.m. on June 23. Materials to make the signs will be provided. All materials were donated by Walmart of Traverse City.
At 6 p.m. June 24, the northern Michigan LGBTA community is encouraged to grab a bike and enjoy fresh air with a family-friendly bike ride tour around Traverse City beginning at McLain Cycle & Fitness. Then at 10 p.m., Side Traxx will host an evening of karaoke, a local Wednesday tradition, located at 520 Franklin St.
A special screening of “Milk” will be hosted at 6 p.m. June 25 at the Traverse City State Theatre, 233 E. Front St., followed by a Q&A with panelists: City Commissioner Jim Carruthers and founder of the Michael Chetcuti Foundation, Michael Chetcuti.
A weekend kickoff event will be held at the local food truck hang out, The Little Fleet, located at 448 E. Front St., Traverse City.
Saturday events will begin with a noon introduction to Grand Marshals Michael Chetcuti and his partner Kyle Evans of Royal Oak and Mario Batali and his wife Susi Cahn followed by a Visibility Stroll down Front Street at 1 p.m. starting at The Little Fleet. Participants will return to The Little Fleet for entertainment and speakers including Jay Kaplan, ACLU’s LGBT Legal Project staff attorney; Char Davenport, transgender activist and professor at Saginaw Valley State University; and Jim Carruthers, Traverse City commissioner and LGBT activist.
An after-party Drag Show will be hosted at Side Traxx beginning at 9 p.m. followed by dancing and LGBT entertainment.
“There is a rich history of Gay Pride Celebrations here in Traverse City and we welcome all LGBT people of Michigan and the Midwest to join us in our celebration,” said Michael Trudeau, member of the Pride planning committee.