Ann Arbor Pride is back! The first in-person event after a 2-year pandemic-induced virtual hiatus is set for Sept. 11 at Wheeler Park from 12-5 p.m. The event will feature community yoga, entertainment by Alice King, Outloud Chorus, Joanna Sterling and a drag show featuring Unveiled Belly Dance and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Aja LaBeija.
Ahead of the big event, we’re taking a reminiscent look at Ann Arbor Pride/OUTfest celebrations from years past. The commemoration has always been less corporate and more unique than many larger Prides in so many ways. Ann Arbor Pride is intimate, but unabashedly flamboyant. Loud (in color and sound), but ever sincere in a quiet reflection on the vital contributions made by some of the city’s earliest, bravest queer pioneers. Ann Arbor has long been a leader for the state and in many ways, the nation, when it comes to taking a stand on LGBTQ+ equality and for providing an example of how municipalities can extend LGBTQ+ protections and recognize the community’s contributions.
Pride in Ann Arbor: Looking Back
1972 was a big year for equality in Ann Arbor. That year, the city celebrated the first national Gay Pride Week and adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance that included protections based around sexual preference. Two years earlier, Ann Arbor’s own Jim Toy had come out publicly as gay, the first Michigan man to do so. Sadly, Toy died in January at the age of 91, but the legacy of his work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community continues today through the Jim Toy Community Center and a host of organizations where the equal rights champion was active.
Pride Source Media, including our print publication, Between the Lines, has been covering Pride in Ann Arbor since there’s been a Pride celebration in Ann Arbor, from its origins as OUTFest beginning in 1995, which coincided with National Coming Out Day in early October through to the virtual celebration for Ann Arbor Pride 2021 last year. Below, you’ll find selected highlights from some of our online coverage of the annual event — enjoy this trip down memory lane, and share your favorite Ann Arbor Pride/OUTFest memories in the comment section below or on our Facebook and Instagram pages!