Take your pride wherever you go

By |2009-06-11T09:00:00-04:00June 11th, 2009|Uncategorized|

Thought last year’s Motor City Pride was big? Well, folks, it got bigger.
Downtown Ferndale was a happening place to be on June 7, and if you weren’t there, you were probably pretty lonely. It was estimated that over 50,000 people came to the Pride festival, which took over Nine Mile Road in a flurry of rainbows, music and crazed LGBT Michiganders eager to be out.
A common T-shirt at the festival said it all: It’s in to be out.
What a simple statement, and yet the truth of it has 40 years of history behind it that made it possible to wear such a shirt without fear of getting beaten up, made fun of, kicked out of the house or fired from your job.
Well, at least in some cities and states.
We still have a long ways to go in the next 40 years, and then, who knows where LGBT rights will be? We all have our hopes.
But for now, it’s enough to celebrate Pride with friends underneath the warm (almost) summer sun. It’s enough to wear rainbows and eat corn dogs and dance to techno music on an outdoor stage.
That’s not to say that we should be content to have Pride and stop asking for anything more. In fact, quite the contrary is true. We should use Pride festivals not just as a safe space to have fun each summer, but as a platform to voice our opinions and our rights, and to be out and proud.
Pride is about enjoying ourselves, but it’s also about visibility – and I’m sure no one driving through Ferndale had any doubt what was happening when they saw the crowds and heard the music.
Now that Motor City Pride is over, it’s time to carry that energy and passion elsewhere – to other Pride festivals, to the offices of our legislators, to family dinners, to schools. Being visible at Pride is great, but being visible as an out LGBT person in our everyday lives is even better. People who go to Pride choose to be there, and though the surrounding citizens who see the festival are impacted by it, the bigger impact is when our Pride comes into our homes, offices and schools.
Pride at the bank. Pride at the local health club. Pride everywhere.
A recent Gallup poll showed overwhelming evidence that knowing someone who is LGBT has a huge impact on that person’s views of LGBT rights and issues. Think about it: We can affect positive change just by being who we are.
It’s a profound gift that we mustn’t forget about. Being out may just be the bravest and most important thing any of us ever do – to our families, our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers.
Attend upcoming Pride celebrations in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Windsor and Detroit. But also, now and when the festivals are over, attend pride when you step out of your house and when you go to work. Attend pride every day.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.