A recent publication placed Traverse City as one of the most “Friendly Michigan Road Trips” for the LGBTQ community. They sang our praises for award-winning wineries and microbreweries and the breathtaking views of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Leelanau County. While we appreciate the kind words, we especially like what they said next, “Up North Pride calls Traverse City one of the most beautiful, progressive and unique LGBTQ vacation destinations in the United States.” That’s some astonishing praise.
June is Pride Month. In recent history it’s been a time for Traverse City to show its support for diversity and inclusion. Since 2014 we’ve seen Up North Pride events flourish. For example, a Pride March that started with 200 people swelled to over 6,000 people in 2019. The pandemic forced events to cancel last year, and most of those events have now been postponed until October.
In June you can still check out three art exhibits in shipping containers at Farm Club in Traverse City, Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville and Short’s Brewing in Elk Rapids. Organizers say these art exhibits are intended to create safe, comfortable and inclusive spaces.
Safe – Comfortable – Inclusive; that doesn’t sound like too much to ask. It appears that Up North Pride has made progress over the years with that goal. “I will say we are fortunate to see the growing support we do have,” said Up North Pride programming director, Nick Viox. He acknowledges they have a way to go, but at the same time they’ve come a long way since 2014 when 200 people attended the first Up North Pride March.
This year, the Up North Pride march along with a variety of other events will happen in October. There will still be some activities in June, but they are limited.
Safe – Comfortable – Inclusive; these are attributes we would all like. Basic needs for the LGBTQ community, for their allies and everyone who comes to this region in search of a Pretty Great Place.