Affirmations LGBTQ+ community center in Ferndale welcomed a crowd of over 250 to their annual Wine Party — the first since the pandemic — on Saturday, April 30. The party raised a total of $31,000 for the center, including $26,000 in cash contributions and $5,000 in corporate donations.
But the night's other major highlight? State Sen. Mallory McMorrow,
McMorrow, a first-term state senator from Royal Oak, has made headlines recently for an impassioned speech she made on the senate floor after being accused by Republicans in the chamber of grooming and sexualizing children. This came after McMorrow challenged the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws that are popping up across the country and that McMorrow said are headed to Michigan.
McMorrow told that crowd that she has a 1-year-old daughter and that attacks on children bother her greatly.
“We’ve seen all these attacks, and I want to know that my daughter is going to grow up to be whoever she or they become and feel supported and seen and not targeted and marginalized.”
As she continued, McMorrow grew emotional.
“Just the very idea that this current Republican party has made this an issue, that if you’re not a straight, white Christian kid that you are somehow the reason that the roads are bad and teachers are leaving their professions… I am pissed,” she said. “I have tried really hard for the past two weeks not to curse on national television.”
But she did at Affirmations after mentioning that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had texted her to check on her.
“The governor asked how I was doing, and I said, ‘They fucked with the wrong mom.’”
At a recent meeting she had with high school students in her district, McMorrow said she was touched and hurt by what she heard. “The first question was from a freshman, a girl. She said, ‘I’m gay. Why do they hate us?’ And that broke my heart.”
Also touching was the portion of the night that went to celebrating former Between The Lines publishers Susan Horowitz and Jan Stevenson. Dave Garcia presented Stevenson (Horowitz was home sick) with a plaque from the center and two dozen yellow roses. State Senator Jeremy Moss also presented Stevenson with a recognition from the Michigan legislature signed by Whitmer.
“Jan and Susan are the matriarchs of our community,” Moss said. “They are our moms. They are our support system, and they are our family.”
In accepting all of the accolades, Stevenson was characteristically humble.
“We’re retiring now, but we’re not done, and certainly the movement’s not done,” Stevenson said. “In fact, the movement will never be done. The movement is a process, and it’s going to keep going.”
Stevenson said that many of the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community are not new. “Susan first marched in the New York gay pride march in 1972. You know what the issues were? Trying to get civil rights. We’re still working on it.”