Above: Rainbow flags on East Lansing homes.
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. The origin of Pride month, stems from the 1969 Stonewall Riot in Manhattan. That event was a major turning point for the Gay Liberation movement in the United States. Gay Pride Day, the original day of commemoration, blossomed into a month long series of parades, marches, and festivals around the country.
Above: Pastor Liz Miller
Although many East Lansing Pride events took place earlier because of MSU’s schedule, this Sunday, June 18this the annual Pride Service at Edgewood United Church. According to Edgewood’s Pastor Liz Miller “our theme this year is ‘coming out.’ Each week Edgewood has rainbows integrated into the decor and you will see many LGBTQ+ members in our church, but as long as there are Christian churches who exclude or preach hate towards the queer community, it is important for Edgewood to keep coming out as a Christian church that is radically welcoming and affirming of all people.”
Miller adds that “In worship we will hear different coming out stories from folks, the choir is singing music from Rent, and the sanctuary will be decked out in pride colors. It is a great service for anyone who has wondered if they could be both gay or trans and involved in a religious community. For me personally, as a gender queer pastor, seeing so many straight allies and LGBTQ+ people come together to celebrate the diverse spectrum of sexualities, gender expressions, and gender identities that God created is incredibly moving. It's a message of love and hope that I've realized I need to keep hearing.”
Statewide events will take place in Lansing on June 16th and 17th. This will be the 28th annual celebration of Michigan Pride, sponsored by Michigan Pride, Inc., and will feature the following events: The White Party, the Pride Parade, a Rally at the Capitol, and a Festival in Old Town. Michigan Pride, Inc. is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing “education, outreach, support, and events to enhance the lives of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender people and build[ing] quality relationships with all Michigan residents.”
The weekend will kick off tonight with the “White Party” in Old Town. Participants purchasing a $10 wrist band will have entry into Old Town bars and entertainment venues. Those attending are asked to wear white to show solidarity for the LGTBQ community.
On Saturday, the Pride Parade will leave Adado Riverfront Park at noon and head to the Capitol. The parade is said by Michigan Pride, Inc. to bring “color and flair to the streets of Michigan’s Capital city.” The parade will end at the Capitol steps where a rally will take place immediately following the parade. The rally will feature guest speaker, Shane Shananaquet, a transgender 14 year old sophomore at Adrian High School. Michigan Pride describes Shane as “a fierce warrior for LGBT equality….[Who] actively encourages other youth to stand up and be heard, speaks about the importance of amplifying youth voices, and advocates through story telling.”
Saturday, there will be a Festival in Old Town from 1pm until 10pm. Vendors will offer food and drink for sale. A variety of entertainers will be performing during the Festival including Lansing’s own musical group, “Starfarm,” who perform covers from the 1980’s. Leigha Faith, the Director of Public Relations for Michigan Pride, commented that “Pride is the biggest weekend of the year to celebrate and support the LGBTQ community. There is so much to look forward to at this year’s celebration.”
Edgewood United Church is located at 469 Hagadorn Road.