An estimated 2,000 people were on hand for last year’s Grosse Pointe Pride March, organized by Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe — better known as We GP. This year’s event will take place June 22.

An estimated 2,000 people were on hand for last year’s Grosse Pointe Pride March, organized by Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe — better known as We GP. This year’s event will take place June 22.

File photo by John F. Martin Photography, provided by We GP


Grosse Pointes to hold 3rd annual Pride March

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 18, 2019

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GROSSE POINTE CITY/GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Grosse Pointers will be showing support for their neighbors, family and friends in the LGBTQ+ community during the third annual Grosse Pointe Pride March this Saturday.

Participants are asked to gather for the march at 9:30 a.m. June 22 at Grosse Pointe South High School’s J parking lot on Fisher Road in Grosse Pointe Farms. The march, which will begin at 10 a.m., will head from the lot down Fisher and along Kercheval Avenue into the Village, ending at Maire Elementary School in Grosse Pointe City. A brief rally in the Maire parking lot will include food trucks, a peace meditation, a community choir presentation, vendors, activities such as rock painting for kids, and a performance by 2011 Grosse Pointe South graduate Evan Wittstock, an actor in New York who does drag performances under the name Sierra Misst.

Hosted by the community group Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe — better known as We GP — the march coincides with National Pride Month. The family-oriented event is an effort to draw awareness and show support of the LGBTQ+ community in the Grosse Pointe area.

By phone from New York, Wittstock said he was thrilled and honored to be returning home for this event. He’ll be addressing the crowd at South before the march about the importance of having a Pride march in the Pointes, as well as performing during the rally that follows.

“It’s honestly really special to me,” said Wittstock, who grew up in Grosse Pointe Park and whose parents now live on the east side of Detroit. “When I was living in Grosse Pointe, I never could have fathomed this tiny little conservative bubble would have a Pride March.”

Wittstock, who also does musical theater, will be performing a brief set at the rally.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s going to be my Grosse Pointe drag debut.”

Andrea Joy, of Grosse Pointe Farms, the We GP LGBTQ+ Task Force leader, is the chair of the march. She said it’s gotten more volunteers, sponsors and business support each year.

“Everybody’s welcome to attend this event,” said Joy, who’s also a mom. “It’s family-friendly. It’s pet-friendly. It’s a great place to meet your neighbors. It’s a great place to bring your kids. We want our kids and teenagers to feel our support. It’s never too early to acknowledge (with your kids) that this is a part of life. This is something that has always been, but in the past, it was swept under the rug. Now, we celebrate it.”

The group Free Mom Hugs will be at the march, and this year, Joy said, there will be a rainbow-themed float decorated by local schoolchildren.

Organizers say the event draws more than 1,000 participants.

Some proceeds from this year’s event will go to Outserve-SLDN, which Pride March organizers said offers legal services to LGBTQ military service members.

“We felt it was important to recognize the contribution LGBTQ service members have made and will continue to make to our armed forces,” We GP President Shannon Byrne said in a prepared statement. “With the (President Donald) Trump administration transgender military service ban in place, it is more critical than ever to give our support to organizations such as Outserve-SLDN, which advocate for our LGBTQ service members. We believe everyone should be allowed to serve with dignity.”

Attendees will have the chance to support an initiative in Michigan to ban so-called and scientifically discredited conversion therapy for those younger than 18. Joy said there will be postcards at the rally that people will be able to sign and send to state legislators in Lansing.

“It’s rainbows and fun, but it’s also fighting for equality,” Joy said of the march.

Although the Motor City Pride March earlier this month in Detroit reportedly was met by some Nazi protesters, Grosse Pointe Pride March organizers don’t believe they’ll have the same experience.

“We don’t expect any counterprotests,” Joy said. “We have a good relationship with our police. I have confidence they could handle situations appropriately.”

Recognizing that not everyone is able to take part in the 1.5-mile march, Joy said people are also welcome to just stop by the rally at Maire. She said people are expected to start arriving at Maire around 10:30 a.m. Vendors with information will be on hand for the rally as well.

Because We GP is concerned about the environment as well as equality, Joy said attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles, as bottled water won’t be sold.

Anyone interested in taking part in the Grosse Pointe Pride March is invited to show up Saturday morning at South; no advance registration is needed. For more information, visit the We GP website at we-gp.org or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wegrosse pointe, or email the organization at contact.we.gp@gmail.com.

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