Detroit Pistons Recognize LGBTQ Community With Virtual Pride Events

By |2020-06-18T14:37:42-04:00June 18th, 2020|Michigan, News|

Motor City Pride might be rescheduled this year, but that doesn’t mean that the city is letting Pride season slip away unnoticed. The Detroit Pistons are hosting a series of virtual Pride events throughout the week of June 15. All events will begin at 6 p.m. EST, and while all are free to attend, each event is only open to the first 1,000 participants who register at

“Through the Pistons Pride Week events and discussions, the team looks to recognize and advocate for inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community as they stand behind their commitment to equality,” said Erika Swilley, Detroit Pistons senior director of community relations.

The Pride celebration started on Monday, June 15, with a virtual workout by Northern Michigan University graduate Chris Mosier. Mosier is the first transgender athlete to represent the U.S. in an international competition, the first transgender athlete in the ESPN Body Issue and the first Nike-sponsored transgender athlete. 

It continued on Tuesday, June 16, with an interactive discussion with Sara Cunningham, the founder of Free Mom Hugs, and her son, Parker. Free Mom Hugs was created by Cunningham to be an advocacy group that works toward full affirmation and equality for all. The group is primarily made up of parents and LGBTQ allies, many of whom serve as “stand-in moms” at same-sex weddings. Kevin Heard, the founder of the Detroit LGBT Regional Chamber, was the moderator for this conversation. 

On Wednesday, June 17, Hudson Taylor, the founder of Athlete Ally, hosted an Athletes for Equality Panel. He was joined by Chris Mosier, radio analyst Rick Mahorn, the first openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, Athlete Ally member Kenneth Faried and openly lesbian athlete Sharnee Zoll. They discussed the root of homophobia and transphobia in their respective sports and ideas on how to make the community more inclusive for its LGBTQ+ players and fans. 

Tonight on Thursday, June 18, the week of Pride events will be closed out with a virtual dance class hosted by Pistons dancers and the team’s mascot, Hooper. 

In addition to this week’s Pride events, the Pistons, in partnership with Delta Dental and Tricho Salon and Spa, will be raising money for donations to local LGBTQ-affirming charities that include Free Mom Hugs, Ruth Ellis Center, The Trevor Project and Athlete Ally. 

“We stand behind our commitment to equality and we are grateful to our many partners for joining in this important dialogue,” Swilley said. 

To learn more about Pistons Equality Pride week, visit To register online for an event, visit

About the Author:

Benjamin Decker
Currently an undergrad at the University of Michigan, Benjamin Decker is Between the Lines' Summer 2020 intern. He has had multiple articles published in the campus-run fashion publication, SHEI Magazine, and is pursuing a major in media communications. When he graduates, he is planning on moving to London, working for the BBC and becoming a contestant on the "Great British Bake Off."