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From Pete Buttigieg to Dana Nessel, Michigan's Best and Brightest Show Their Pride at the White House

Reflections from Michiganders who made the trip for the First Lady's Pride celebration

Sarah Bricker Hunt

Michigan was well-represented on the White House South Lawn at the 2024 Pride celebration, though the state’s invited legislators were missed as they stayed in town, working under deadline to get the annual budget in shape. Still, many other queer and ally Michiganders from across the state made the trek to take part in the festivities.

Motor City Pride chairperson Dave Wait, who attended with his husband, told Pride Source the event was an unforgettable experience. “Seeing the White House strongly committed to celebrating diversity and inclusion during Pride Month was inspiring,” he said. “It was a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come and the importance of fighting for equality and acceptance.” 

Attendee Erin Quetell, Oakland County Chief Environmental Sustainability Officer, who attended with Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, said the last time she’d been to Washington, D.C. was in 2009 for the National Equality March. “That experience of marching to fight for basic rights to standing on the White House lawn celebrating Pride was very moving,” she reflected. “I couldn’t help but feel honored and appreciated while looking up at the rainbow pillars of the White House. I am optimistic that us changemakers are going to continue to push and fight for equity and equality for everyone.”



(Left to Right) Luke Londo, Alanna Maguire, Dave Coulter, Danna Nessel and Erin Quetell. Photo: Chris Azzopardi
(Left to right) Luke Londo, Alanna Maguire, Dave Coulter, Dana Nessel and Erin Quetell. Photo: Chris Azzopardi

Secretary of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Hazel Park City Councilmember Luke Londo said that the experience was one of the most affirming of his life. “Hosting Pride at the location that embodies the power of the presidency, and our entire system of government, conveyed a recognition of the civil rights and inherent dignity of the LGBTQ+ community in a way that no other event or proclamation could,” he said. “When First Lady Dr. Jill Biden told attendees, ‘This is your home, too,’ it embodied the principle of the White House being ‘The People’s House’ in a way that felt tangible and real to me for the first time. The sense of community among attendees, with our shared identity and similar struggles, while looking at the columns of the White House decked out in Pride colors, is honestly something I’ll always cherish.”

“At one point during the celebration I was FaceTiming my wife and greatest ally, Madelyn, who was with our 21-month-old son,” Londo added. “It felt like we were all there, together, for what I can only describe as one of the greatest experiences of my life. She has supported me in all of my endeavors, especially on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Hazel Park City Council, and nothing I have accomplished would be possible without her and others in my corner.”

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Alanna Maguire and Dana Nessel at the White House. Photo: Chris Azzopardi

Fair Michigan President and Plymouth City Commissioner Alanna Maguire, who attended with her wife, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, said she was honored to attend the Pride event. “It was a joyous event, as all Prides are, because Pride is essentially a celebration of love and the freedom of expression,” she said. “Seeing the White House columns from the South Lawn striped in rainbow colors was a very moving experience.  Having a president who supports the LGBTQ community is paramount to maintaining and expanding LGBTQ civil rights in this country."  

Also in attendance were Michigan’s favorite U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, who have a home in Traverse City. The couple graciously took photo after photo with fans (and perhaps, future President Buttigieg voters).



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