On June 1, the city of Ypsilanti kicked off it's LBGTQ+ Pride month with the second Annual Ypsi Pride community celebration. Part of the first Friday is a series of events to draw members from LBGT+ community with local businesses around downtown Ypsilanti.
Despite the rain, members of the LBGTQ+ community packed into the two-block area on Washington Street. The event, having grown since its inaugural festival in 2017, now included two stages -- one at the farmers market area and the other by Michigan Avenue.
Rainbow flags and various other flags of individual parts of the community decorated the area, spreading a sense of community to those who attended. Once the rain stopped a rainbow was reflected in the sky over the event. The rainbow often is seen as a symbol of the LBGTQ+ community, with the colors representing life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), serenity (blue), and spirit (purple).
According to one event-goer, the pride month events “mean acceptance of the authentic honest expression” of yourself. This not only can be freeing for many people but also builds a sense of acceptance and community.
Members of the LBGTQ+ community were encouraged to bring family. In addition to the more family friendly show on the market place stage, Elements Preschool for Natural Learning sponsored a craft and water activity station.
The two stages held a variety of entertainment, such as a Drag show, a review, and a burlesque show on one stage and more family friendly shows on the other. Performers included folk artist Katie Peterson and Kitty Delicious Queer Burlesque in addition to various local artist and bands. Ypsi Pride Go Ice Cream held belly dancing and body positivity workshops.
Numerous food trucks, vendors, and local organizations -- including EMU’s LBGT Resource Center (LBGTRC) -- lined the two blocks of Washington. Organizations like EMU’S LBGTRC and Planned Parenthood handed out gifts including free LGBT supportive pins, while large items such as T-shirts and rainbow flags were available for purchase through several vendors.
Although the sun set around 9:30 p.m., for those over twenty-one the party was not over yet. The local bar and sponsor of Ypsi Pride, Buena Cera, held an after party. “Ypsi After Dark” included a special performance by local DJ Sleezy.