LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Pride Month is celebrated nationally and statewide in June, with a month of events to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride. Pride month is reported to have started after the Stonewall riots in 1969. This was a series of gay liberation riots that commenced after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, to enforce an alcohol control law. A year after the riots, the first pride marches were held in several U.S. cities.
Detroit’s Motor City Pride says on their website, “On this historic night, lesbians, gay men and drag queens came together to fight back against police harassment for the first time. The crowd inside and outside of the bar erupted into violent resistance against the officers. Word spread quickly about the confrontation and outraged crowds gathered on subsequent nights to protest the mistreatment historically inflicted on the gay community. These protests came to be known as the Stonewall Rebellion, with the uprising serving as the catalyst for the modern political movement for gay and lesbian liberation. Now, gay and lesbian pride events are planned annually each June throughout North America to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion and to continue the GLBT community struggle for equality.”
In 1999, Democratic President Bill Clinton declared the anniversary of the Stonewall riots every June in America as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month” and in 2011, President Barack Obama expanded the month to include the entire LGBT community. After that, both Trump and Biden also acknowledged June as Pride Month as well.
Michigan, just like the other states in the country, also celebrates and acknowledges June as Pride Month. Governor Whitmer sent out a proclamation today stating that June 2023 is officially Pride Month. In her statement, she says, “Michigan is home to an estimated 373,000 residents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+); and Michigan’s LGBTQ+ residents contribute to the fabric of our society, hold positions across sectors of our economy and at the highest levels of government, and live in every region of our state.” She explains that Michigan, especially during her administration, has been at the forefront of advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ people and that “Michigan must continue to support the rights of every citizen to experience freedom from discrimination and recognize the continued need for education and awareness to end discrimination and prejudice.”
Whitmer also encourages everyone “to stand against discrimination and reject violence toward LGBTQ+ individuals; to promote self-affirmation, dignity, and equity; and to continue working toward building a brighter future that promotes liberty and justice for all.”
Pride Month will be bringing carnivals, running events, special baseball game nights, parades, concerts, and much more. And a lot of the “more” is the drag queen entertainers which will be appearing all over the state.
Throughout Michigan, in cities in every corner of the Great Lakes state, Pride Month activities are being scheduled and most are putting the spotlight on drag queens as their entertainment both in private and public showings. Included in these events are Drag Bingo in Thompsonville, Drag Brunch in Elk Rapids, a huge Drag Show in Benton Harbor, a Pride Dragshow fundraiser in Lansing, a Drag Pageant in Kalamazoo, and Drag Shows in Marquette,
There’s also an “All Ages Drag Show” in Ypsilanti on Friday which includes performances and story time, a Drag Show in Fennville, and “Pride on the Lakeshore” in Ludington featuring performances by local drag artists from all along the lakeshore and a special guest from Chicago. This event will feature a drag show, live Q&A, and chance to meet and greet with the performers. And as we reported earlier, drag queens will be a big part of the Muskegon festival and parade during their family friendly event.
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In Detroit, Motor City Pride proclaims to be hosting Michigan’s largest pride celebration with more than 50,000 participants in their pride events. Their festival, parade and stage performances include “Sabin’s Drag Revue” and featured entertainers Robin Fierce and Jasmine Kennedy from Rupaul’s Drag Race.
On the Psychiatric Times website, it says, “Drag has many interpretations but is loosely defined as performing in an exaggerated way that caricatures or challenges male or female stereotypes. With bold costumes, makeup, and characters, drag taps into our human desire for fun, play, and creativity. At its core, drag is a creative act – a powerful and personal form of self-expression. Many performers also credit it with giving them a voice. Others use it to explore sexual and gender identity and expression. Still others say drag helps them accept themselves.”
They go on to say, “Drag dates back at least to Shakespearean theater, when only men were allowed to act and therefore had to play the roles of women. The term ‘drag’ is likely an acronym for ‘dressed resembling a girl.’”
With so many drag events scheduled throughout the state this month, Michiganders will get plenty of opportunity to see the LGBTQ’s version of Shakespearean theater for the next 30 days.
Editor’s note: Are there Drag Queens performing in front of children or at “family friendly” Pride events in your community? Michigan News Source wants to know. Contact us through Facebook, Twitter, or through our website.