Pride to be celebrated locally through Motor City Pride Festival

A+rainbow+flag+was+flying+in+the+wind+during+the+Pride+Parade
A rainbow flag was flying in the wind during the Pride Parade

A rainbow flag was flying in the wind during the Pride Parade

Rebecca Loncar

Rebecca Loncar

A rainbow flag was flying in the wind during the Pride Parade

Rebecca Loncar, Staff Writer

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To many students around the United States, June means finals, the end of school and the official start of freedom from homework and a routine. But for the LGBT+ community June takes on one more meaning. June in the LGBT+ community is more commonly known as “Pride Month”. This is celebrated all over the country with Pride festivals, parades, and many candlelight vigils.

June was designated “Pride Month” to commemorate the Stonewall Riots,a series of violent demonstrations that started on June 28th, 1969 in response to a spontaneous police raid targeting the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay club in New York.  The police force had been targeting gay clubs more and more often, which made LGBT+ members upset and angry. During the 1960s and previous decades, solicitation of homosexuality in New York was illegal, which made gay bars and clubs a place of refuge. While many individuals in the community nowadays do not condone any kind of violence, this uprising was a start to the LGBT+ rights movement. Students in high school do get taught about this riot, but it is almost never mentioned that the woman who threw the first brick, Marsha P. Johnson, was a black transgender woman. Because of the brick that she threw, the modern human rights campaign was born. Many LGBT+ members feel as though the Stonewall Riots do not get the justice that it deserves to be taught in school. Instead it is often just brushed over as a riot due to disorderly conduct in the black community.

“Pride Month” isn’t just about the history of how it began though. For many, it is a time to feel truly accepted. Here in Michigan, Motor City Pride is one way it is celebrated. Motor City Pride 2018, which takes place June 9-10, celebrates being who you are in a few different ways. The first of this is the overall festival. The festival includes drag shows, many vendors selling shirts and flags, and music performed by LGBT+ people. Saturday at 2:00 pm there is also a candlelight vigil to remember the lives lost in attacks such as the Stonewall Riots, the Pulse Orlando shooting, and to stand with those affected by violence. As a reminder, Pulse Nightclub, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was attacked and 50 people including the shooter were shot and killed. This was the deadliest mass shooting in America until the Las Vegas shooting. Found inside the festival, was a wall of signatures from when the Pulse Nightclub shooting occurred, and what it showed was signatures and loving support from members from Prides past. It has now become a memorial in tribute to those who were shot and killed. On Sunday at noon, the Motor City Pride Parade which has a theme of Remember the Past, Create the Future and features many floats and people walking to support the community.

Every year the atmosphere in the festival is always open and accepting. Everyone there is smiling and happy, and there is no fear of what people may say. Some people may hold flags of what they identify as on their backs, others may wear crazy makeup. Most people go as they are outside of pride and enjoy the experience.

Some Milford High students went to this year’s Motor City Pride. One of these students is Isabella Barnes. Isabella has gone to Pride for two years. Her favorite part of Pride is “That you gain the confidence to not hide who you are. People can wear what they want [crop tops, high heels, flags, crazy makeup], and they aren’t judged.”  I have also gone to Pride the last 3 years and each year I have had a better and better time with new experiences every year.

Pride is a special event for members of the LGBT+ community and for those who are supporters of the community. It’s so important for the group to have a place where they know that they are accepted and loved. Barnes defines Pride and the Pride festival as “a comfort, and a community that I can turn to completely.”  Pride month is even more important because of the history behind it and it has a different meaning for each and every individual. It brings everyone together in solidarity with each other, and in who we are.

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