This year’s Pride Month was also the second year of my stay as a senior at Henry Ford Village (HFV) in Dearborn. The HFV “campus,” as it’s called (although it has nothing to do with academia per se), includes many residents who are retired school system teachers or university profs.
HFV has for many years now been welcoming to LGBTQ+ residents (some of whom have become my friends during my current stay). The new ownership has its own rather long history of welcoming diversity among its resident seniors and retirees in several healthcare facilities across the country.
Pride Month June here at HFV was very special. The traditional (may we now add: time-honored!) Pride Flag was flown proudly outside the HFV Chapel and dozens of little colored wind wavers spun throughout the well-trimmed lawn areas.
Two of the HFV dining areas, St. Clair and Great Lakes, were devoted to Pride Month displays of banners, flag coverings, photographs and two or three BTL newspaper clippings.
Each area also provided Pride ribbons and metallic Pride Flags, with many staff members proudly wearing these in support of the month-long celebration.
Speaker for the Chapel Pride Day major event, attended by about two dozen persons, residents, and staff, was well-known Sage spokesperson Judy Lewis. Her hour-long, informative presentation of the highlights of our LGBTQ+ history included slides of past and local heroes of our struggle.
She also spoke of three facets of her own coming out struggle, as Jewish, as a woman and as a lesbian.
Lewis herself has been specially trained and authorized by Sage Healthcare partners to serve as a spokesperson for its strong diversity expectations and programs.
During her HFV Chapel talk she spoke in passing of a little-known fact about our LGBTQ+ history: The origin of the designation of the word Pride itself.
“Few today have ever heard of an early gay/lesbian group called Personal Rights In Defense and Education, a gay political organization established in 1966. It was a precursor to ACT UP, the Radical Faeries, and The gay liberation Front. Today we honor the name by its acronym: PRIDE!”