Monday, June 6, 2011

A safe space for the misfits

Yeah, it has been more than a week. Part of why I didn't write is because there wasn't anything to write about -- why waste my time on yet another vile thing the Fundies, the anti-gay crowd, or the GOP has been doing. Especially since the latest isn't all that different from what they did last week or yesterday.

And when I did have something to write about other things crowded my schedule. One of those things yesterday was Motor City Pride. Since I've been going to this event (which hasn't been all that long or all that frequently) this is the first time it has been held at Hart Plaza, on the riverfront in Detroit. There was a lot more space compared to the previous venue of 9 Mile Rd. in Ferndale, but no shops to duck into. There were lots of booths of various kinds -- gay clubs, gay service providers (including Ruth Ellis Center), gay businesses, gay friendly churches, supposedly gay friendly political organizations (including an Obama Campaign booth), and those companies that don't want to miss a chance to sell to anyone (gay home insulation?). There were also a couple performance stages. While I was there the main one held a mass commitment ceremony, then a drag queen program. I stayed only 90 minutes.

I'm very aware a big reason for Pride is to provide a safe space for the misfits to be who they are. And there were a lot of people in unusual clothing. At that Pride succeeded. No pictures -- I left my camera at home. I wore a polo shirt and felt overdressed.

Perhaps a week ago my dad asked me about PFLAG, the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. So while at Pride I stopped by their booth. They give great hugs. The Detroit chapter meets in Troy, which is about an hour drive from my place, so I've never attended. There is also a chapter in Ann Arbor, which would be closer. I also checked about a chapter that meets near where my dad lives. Yes one exists.

In the issue just before Pride, the gay newspaper Between the Lines had a series of articles on gay leaders. One of them was on PFLAG. Another was a fine article on the director of Ruth Ellis Center. In the picture with this article just over our director's left shoulder you can the pass-through into the kitchen where I spend most Wednesday evenings. Sorry, the picture was taken at a time when the center was closed -- no glimpse of me.

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