Unlocking Great Lakes Bay Pride: Your Comprehensive Guide

You’ve probably heard of Great Lakes Bay Pride, but did you know that it’s more than just a festival?

What is Great Lakes Bay Pride?
Great Lakes Bay Pride (GLBP) is a nonprofit organization serving the Great Lakes Bay Region. It serves as a hub for the region’s LGBTQ+ community and provides “education, advocacy, networking, and resources.” 
So, how does GLBP achieve this mission? 

LGBTQ+ resources
One unique tool provided by GLBP is the Resource Directory. This directory helps people find local businesses and services that welcome LGBTQ+ identities. Currently, the directory has 89 businesses listed from across the Great Lakes Bay Area. The tool allows users to search for specific resources as well, from healthcare and housing to food and entertainment.

To appear in the directory, a business or service provider must follow certain criteria outlined in a partner agreement (essentially ensuring LGBTQ+ friendliness). Businesses and service providers can apply to the directory on GLBP’s website.

Community events
To help educate and connect with the Great Lakes Bay community, GLBP regularly organizes and hosts a range of events, from big fundraisers to casual conversations.

GLBP hosts LGBTQ+ Peer Support Groups in Bay City, Saginaw and Mount Pleasant. These support groups are held once every month for LGBTQ+ and allies. There is also a support group specifically for transgender/nonbinary individuals and allies. 

If that isn’t your cup of tea and you still want to connect with your community, you may want to attend one of GLBP’s game nights. Held every third Tuesday of the month, the LGBTQ+ Social and Game Night offers a fun opportunity to meet and mingle in a safe environment. For now, these peer support groups are only for adults 18+.

For those who are more musically inclined, GLBP also dabbles in the arts with their Harmony Diversity Choir. This choir operates with the same mission of supporting the Great Lakes Bay LGBTQ+ community. Weekly rehearsals are held at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland.

These are just some of the routine events GLBP organizes for the Great Lakes Bay LGBTQ+ community. An event calendar with these and other events can be found on the Great Lakes Bay Pride website.

Michigan has made great strides in LGBTQ+ legislation. But the fight to protect Michigan’s LGBTQ+ population is ongoing. 

Part of protecting and supporting the LGBTQ+ community is staying engaged in local and state-wide government. To meet this demand, GLBP uses local events to promote LGBTQ+ advocacy, shares news and information about pressing LGBTQ+ topics and works alongside other organizations to empower and represent the Great Lakes Bay LGBTQ+ community.

GLBP works with Equality Michigan to advance their common goal of supporting and protecting Michigan’s LGBTQ+ population. Equality Michigan is a statewide political advocacy organization with a mission to ensure “LGBTQ+ people… live their best lives in the State of Michigan.”

Equality Michigan is another great organization for LGBTQ+ support. The organization’s website provides information about its accomplishments and future goals.

Upcoming events
If you haven’t attended a Pride event this month, or if you want to finish Pride Month off with a bang, GLBP’s After Party Drag Show is your golden opportunity. The show is the largest drag show in the Great Lakes Bay Region, with over 450 attendees. This is your best chance to see drag Queens and Kings from across Michigan perform in one place.

This year, the After Party Drag Show is being held on Saturday, June 29 at the Dow Event Center. Tickets can be bought online for $15 until doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door. This fee will cover entry, but remember to bring cash to tip your Queens and Kings!

The After Party Drag Show may be the last event GLBP has scheduled for June, but Pride doesn’t end when July begins. GLBP has events scheduled up to the end of 2024 on their online events calendar.

To the disappointment of many, Pride was canceled this year. GLBP is looking to reschedule the festival for later this summer (hopefully on a day without rain this time).

Get involved
If you like what Great Lakes Bay Pride is doing for your community, there are several ways you can join the mission.

The most straightforward way to help is to donate to GLBP. Donations can be made online through their website. You can also donate to the Great Lakes Bay Pride Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to a qualifying Michigan resident every May.

As a quick aside, to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, an organization cannot operate for private interests, according to the IRS. So, Great Lakes Bay Pride’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit means you can rest assured that the organization's earnings go toward supporting GLBP’s mission, not to line anyone’s pockets.

If you have more time than money, consider volunteering for GLBP. Volunteer work is a great way to help out nonprofits.

Ultimately, the easiest way to get involved is to, well, get involved. Stay up-to-date by signing up for the organization's newsletter or following them on social media; attend events organized by GLBP, learn more about LGBTQ+ topics and issues (and what you can do to help), and connect with the people in your community. 

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Read more articles by Onnie Stone.

Originally from Saginaw, Onnie Stone is currently studying Journalism at Delta College and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Delta Collegiate. They are passionate about community engagement and amplifying local voices. Outside of their work as a journalist, Onnie enjoys exploring local businesses with friends and family.