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  • Photo by Andrea Joy.

Grosse Pointe Pride Organizer Turns Symbol of Judgment to Acceptance

By | 2020-01-28T14:13:42-05:00 January 28th, 2020|Michigan, News|

In what looks much like a rainbow tree farm, 100 miniature Pride flags sprouted from the lawn of Grosse Pointe Congregational Church this month. Andrea Joy, chair of the annual Grosse Pointe Pride March, is the responsible party. She said that she hopes that her actions will catch on.

“It’s a common practice for schools to rent out space to churches on Sundays … so they don’t have the overhead of a building,” Joy said. “We found out that churches that rent out space in both Brownell Middle School and Trombly Elementary School are anti-gay marriage, so for that [they] are actually anti-LGBTQ. A lot of people were upset by it.”

By housing these churches, the schools are merely engaging in a rental agreement. However, Joy wanted to do something to send a positive message to young churchgoers.

“The thing that I thought of is kids driving in a car with their parents to a church that may not accept them when they grow up … would see that visible support at another church, which happens to be the neighbor of Brownell Middle School,” Joy said, referring to Grosse Pointe Congregational Church.

Joy called pastor Richard Yeager-Stiver, and “he just thought it was an awesome idea.”

“We decided 100 flags would represent that we want to decrease LGBTQ+ suicide by 100 percent by having visible community support,” Joy said.

The day after the flags sprouted, Yeager-Stiver posted photos and an affirming message on his personal Facebook page.

Joy admits she “stole” the idea of planting Pride flags from some churches that put up little crosses to protest abortion.

“I think it does make people look at their hypocrisy,” Joy said. “If you want to save an unborn child [when] we know — especially for transgender people — how high the suicide rates are.”

The fourth annual Grosse Pointe Pride March is slated for June 20.

About the Author:

Ellen Shanna Knoppow
Ellen Knoppow is a writer, editor and activist.