Loud and proud: Pride 2019 in the Great Lakes Bay Region

"There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it's now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are." — Tammy Baldwin, Millennium March for Equality, 2000

Loud and proud, here are just a few of the events groups, events and efforts that happened this June or are still taking place in the Great Lakes Bay Region for Pride 2019.

The 2019 Great Lakes Bay Pride Planning Team (from L to R): Ann (Midland), Scott (Bay City), Emily (Midland), Katrina (Midland), Antione (Saginaw), Dominique (Bay City), Audra (Saginaw), Ellen (Bay City), Allison (Bay City), and Trevor (Midland).

Inaugural Film Series
Perceptions, the region’s LGBTQ+ resource group, and the Great Lakes Bay Pride Planning Team partnered with Hell’s Half Mile Film and Music Festival with an inaugural film series to begin this year’s Pride Celebration. There were four screenings in each community in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The film Saturday Church played at Saginaw’s Bradley House Theatre and portrayed the coming of age story about a transgender teen struggling with their identity after the loss of their father. At Midland Center for the Arts the documentary Gay Chorus Deep South screened only four days after its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

“This film was meaningful for us because Perceptions founded the Harmony Diversity Choir which uses the language of music to educate, network and advocate for diversity, inclusion and equality throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region,” says Scott Ellis, Pride Director for Perceptions.

The film series wrapped at Bay City’s State Theatre on Friday, June 21st with the documentary American Experience: Stonewall Uprising. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Widely considered a turning point in the modern gay rights movement, Stonewall is recognized across the country each year during Pride celebrations. We continue that tradition. It’s important that our community know how these events are closely tied to national movements and events across the country and the world,” says Ellis.

The 2019 Great Lakes Bay Pride Award winners.
Great Lakes Bay Pride Awards Banquet

Earlier this month, Perceptions hosted the 11th annual Great Lakes Bay Pride Awards Banquet at Saginaw’s Anderson Enrichment Center. Local businesses and individuals were honored for their positive contributions to the efforts of equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. (pics provided by Scott)

People gather at the 2019 Great Lakes Bay Pride Awards Banquet.

Started in 2009, Perceptions spearheaded this event to honor individuals, organizations and businesses who make positive contributions towards the advancement of LGBT+ equality in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The 2019 PRIDE Awards Banquet in June honored the following recipients:

- Rising Star Award: Allison Matthew, Jenny Bell and Ronald Owens

- Champion of Pride: Emily Simbeck, Bill Ostash, Howard Ungerleider and Kat Champagne (posthumously)

- Business Award: Midland Center for the Arts

- Lifetime Achievement Award: Stuart Barbier and Leo Romo

The Great Lakes Loons hosted Pride night on June 14.
Pride Night at Dow Diamond

On Friday, June 14th, Dow’s LGBT employee resource group, GLAD, joined with the Great Lakes Loons, Perceptions, Great Lakes Bay Pride, and other regional organizations to host the 3rd annual Pride Night at Dow Diamond.

Jim Fitterling, Dow's chief executive officer, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game and 'Valentiger' performed a post-game concert at field-level, with fans having access to go onto the field to enjoy the music and take part in games.

The Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival will be held on June 29.
Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival

Pride month celebration continues at the Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival this Saturday, June 29th, with daytime festivities at Bay City’s Wenonah Park from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. This free family friendly event offers a day of festivities with retail and resource stations, local entertainment, food trucks, beverages, free on-site health screenings, and a children’s activity area.

The festival then offers some nighttime entertainment with the After Party Drag Show. The show will be held at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw. Doors open at 9:00 p.m. The After Party is open to anyone 18+ years old and there is a $10 cover charge.

A performance at the Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival.

Commenting on the success of events as the years progress Ellis notes, “Our biggest success this year has been laying the foundation to expand Pride from only the month of June to every month of the year.”

Little Forks Conservancy is hosting two upcoming nature walks in Midland.

OUTdoors Together with Little Forks Conservancy

Little Forks Conservancy is planning a series of hikes and outdoor experiences coined OUTdoors Together for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies. Little Forks Community Programs Manager Andrea Foster will be leading this inclusive group on upcoming adventures in Midland County.

- Forestview Natural Area (1.3 miles): This hike will take place Sunday, June 30 at 1:00 p.m. For more information see the event page here.

- Averill Preserve (1.9 Miles, 0.35 Mile loop is paved, ADA Accessible): This hike will take place on Friday July 5 at 6:00 p.m. For more information see the event page here.

For more events in the Great Lakes Bay Region, visit the calendar page at www.perceptionsmi.org and the Great Lakes Bay Pride Facebook page for upcoming events and more information on Pride efforts in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

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