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 Local residents walk along Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe City to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community during the third annual Grosse Pointe Pride March last year. Because of COVID-19, this year’s march has been replaced by a week of activities that can be done following social distancing guidelines.

Local residents walk along Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe City to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community during the third annual Grosse Pointe Pride March last year. Because of COVID-19, this year’s march has been replaced by a week of activities that can be done following social distancing guidelines.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Pride celebration takes on new format this year in Pointes

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 9, 2020

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GROSSE POINTES — This year would have marked the fourth annual Grosse Pointe Pride March, but like so many other events, COVID-19 derailed those plans.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the community won’t be showing support for neighbors, family and friends in the LGBTQ+ community. While a shoulder-to-shoulder march isn’t possible, march organizers have designed a weeklong celebration. From June 13 to 20, Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe (also known as We GP) invites the community to decorate their homes or businesses to show their support for Pride; walk the march route on their own time from Grosse Pointe South High School to Maire Elementary School, following social distancing guidelines; create artwork that will be part of a public display at Maire, with works being collected in a We GP bin at 63 Cloverly Road in Grosse Pointe Farms; bring a Sharpie or other permanent marker to sign a Pride banner at Maire; and learn about the history and future of the LGBTQ+ community via We GP social media.

Decorated homes and businesses should use the hashtags #gppride and #gpmontgomery house, or the tag @gppride, when they post photos of their homes or businesses to Facebook and Instagram, as the best-decorated home or business is eligible for the Montgomery House Award. We GP will also be posting chalk art activities and LGBTQ stories for children each day.

Andrea Joy, We GP’s Pride March chair, said last year’s march drew about 2,000 participants.

“In just a few short years, the Grosse Pointe Pride March has become so popular that we see more than 1,000 community members marching together in support of their LGTBQ+ friends and neighbors,” We GP President Shannon Byrne said in a press release. “Given the current public health regulations, we could not responsibly organize something of that size; instead we have a whole roster of activities that supporters can safely take part in that will show the LGBTQ+ community that they are a priority to Grosse Pointe.”

Lee Kirtley and his husband have taken part in the marches since they moved to Grosse Pointe Park in early 2018. He said that in the past, they lived in Boston and Seattle — large cities that had gay neighborhoods where Pride events were usually held.

“Pride in Grosse Pointe is completely different,” Kirtley said. “It’s 90% allies, which is incredible. It shows that the community is loving and accepting.”

In Kirtley’s neighborhood, residents of the 1000 block and 1100 block of Balfour Road used washable paint to temporarily tint sidewalk squares in all the colors of the rainbow. The rainbow is a common pride symbol.

Kirtley said Pride events enable parents to impart lessons of self-acceptance to all children, regardless of their sexual orientation.

“It’s about teaching them the lessons of love and inclusiveness and self-confidence,” he said.

Local businesses have stepped up each year to sponsor the march and cover the costs associated with putting it on, and this year, with those costs dramatically reduced, Joy said We GP is asking the community to return the favor by purchasing goods, meals or gift certificates from businesses that have underwritten past marches.

“This (COVID-19) crisis has been very tough on small businesses,” Joy said. “This year, instead of small businesses giving us money to do this march, we’re asking our participants to support small businesses.”

While Pride will look different this year, Joy said they still hope residents recognize it in some way.

“My goal is that we continue to provide that visible support for the LGBTQ community here in Grosse Pointe,” Joy said.

For more information, visit we-gp.org or the event’s Facebook page, Facebook/gppride.

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