Redrawn Election Maps May Impact Queer Vote, #HateWontWin Lobby Day, First Downriver Pride Announced and More

LGBTQ+ Michiganders Urged to Voice Opinion on New Proposed District Maps

In what has become a years-long process, the citizens commission established during the 2018 election to redraw Michigan’s election district maps is once again holding public sessions on a set of proposed maps that could dramatically change the landscape of the Michigan electorate. A federal judge ruled in December in the Agee v. Benson case that the maps submitted by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) violated the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment by diluting the votes of Black Detroit residents.

The judge ordered the MICRC and a special court-appointed master to draw up new maps and will choose which map to accept in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the MICRC invites residents to voice their opinions at a Feb. 22 hearing at Second Ebenezer Church or online at, where you can learn more about the process. Importantly, the new map could establish a new LGBTQ+ community of interest that encompasses Ferndale, Detroit’s Palmer Park neighborhood and smaller nearby areas like Pleasant Ridge, strengthening the power of the queer vote in Southeast Michigan.

Read more about the potential impact of new election maps here.

Michigan Husbands Win Big on 'Wheel of Fortune'

Greg Ruvolo and Tom Bayer on "Wheel of Fortune." Courtesy photo

Lathrup Village husbands Greg Ruvolo and Tom Bayer appeared on the classic game show earlier this month during Sweethearts Week — only the second time in the show’s four-decade history that a same-sex couple has appeared. While they didn’t manage to win an especially tough bonus round, they still walked away with $6,000 in cash and a trip to Paris and Normandy. The couple held a viewing party at the Birmingham Village Players Playhouse, where Ruvolo serves as president. 

“The best part of being on 'Wheel of Fortune' was to be able to experience it as a couple and, eventually, share that experience with our friends and family,” Bayer told BTL. “We had so much fun,” Ruvolo added. The couple will jet off on their trip to France in the fall.

Read more about the couple’s trip to California for the taping here.

#HateWontWin Lobby Day Announced

Equality Michigan’s second annual #HateWontWin Lobby Day is set for April 25 at the State Capitol in Lansing. The free event brings together LGBTQ+ organizations, community members and allies from across the state to discuss, plan and rally together in support of pro-equality policies. 

The chief focus of the 2024 event will be on House Bills 5300-5303, which would remove onerous barriers to legal name changes and codify access to accurate gender markers for trans and non-binary Michiganders. Attendees can also participate in training on meeting with legislators and their staffers, network with like-minded community members and get some face time with local representatives. 

Breakfast and lunch to be provided. Sign up at

New Season of Drag Queen Reality Show ‘We’re Here’ Announced

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Season four of “We’re Here,” on HBO and Max, centers on popular drag queens Sasha Velour, Priyanka, Jaida Essence Hall and Latrice Royale as they travel through small-town America to spread the Gospel of Drag. The new season, premiering April 26, will take the performers to Tennessee and Oklahoma and dive into the recent national wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and its effect on the community. 

First Ever Downriver Pride Fest Announced

Set for June 21-22 in Wyandotte, the first-ever Downriver Pride will feature all the familiar trappings of a good Pride fest, including food, drink, entertainment and rainbow-infused good times, in a part of the state that seems to be growing more queer-friendly every year. Learn more about the event at

Kristen Stewart’s Super Queer Photo Shoot

When Kristen Stewart sat down for a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the conversation was a wild, freewheeling romp into the actor’s upcoming wedding to her writing partner, director Dylan Meyer, her flexible views on gender and sexuality, cutting her own mullet, and what she wanted to do for the article’s photoshoot. Was the jockstrap her idea? We may never know, but clearly there was some genius involved, because we may have never seen such a perfect photo representation of queerness.