Michigan LGBTQ Pride Parade/Rally Focuses on Families & Diversity
Rain couldn't keep away hundreds of people from celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning communities in Michigan's capital on Saturday.
About 2-dozen entries, most carrying or wearing rainbow-colored flags made their way down N. Capitol Avenue Saturday.. including church groups, businesses, and politicians.
Dozens of families watched from the sidewalks, like Nawyn family of Okemos.
Stephanie Nawyn’s son is gender non-conforming or a person whose identity or expression is not exclusively masculine or feminine.
“This is a great, fun opportunity to show him the range of sexual and gender diversity," said Nawyn. "And confirm that he belongs, that there is a place for him in the world.”
Her husband Richard said attending the parade also pays tribute to people who went public about their sexuality in less progressive times.
“This year there’s a little more space for people like my son to kinda be themselves," said Nawyn. "So I want to savor this event – feel some gratitude and then get back to work under that space of more acceptance.”
"There are resources available for us and for him to help him on this journey that hasn't been available before. And actually only have been available fairly recently and that’s really because of the work of people here.”
After a brief but intense rainstorm, hundreds of attendees gathered for a rally in front of the capitol, including Lansing mayor Andy Schor, who pointed out the city clerk and two city council members are gay or bisexual.
“These folk are trailblazers and I’m proud to call them colleagues and friends," said Schor.
Mayor Schor also pointed out that while Lansing has a non-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation.. there are no such protections on a statewide level.
Members of Lansing’s Latino community made a major presence. During the rally, Michigan State University counselor Florencio Hernandez used “call and response” to get the crowd to stand up for racial diversity within the LGBTQ community.
“We may believe in diversity and respect all differences," said Hernandez. The crowd shouted back "Si Se Puede!"
Si Se Puede means Yes We Can in English.
Many walked away from the rally feeling affirmative about living openly and honestly here in Michigan.