DETROIT – June 1 marks the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
Wednesday, the City of Detroit kicked off pride month celebrations with a flag-raising in Spirit Plaza.
This year, they raised the Progress Pride flag with more than just the six rainbow colors you typically see.
Kevin Bain, Chair of Detroit LGBTQ+ and Friends Employment Resource Group, said, “The Progress Pride flag includes colors as far as transgender intersex as well as the racial minority.”
Bain said the flag has significance for the city.
“We (the city of Detroit) are educated and understanding of recent issues,” said Bain, “We want to say that we truly are working our hardest to be fully inclusive and welcoming to everyone.”
Cpl. Dani Woods, LGBTQ Liaison for the Detroit Police Department, said they’d implemented diversity and sensitivity training for officers over the last several years.
She also stressed the importance of representation.
“I’m proud to say that we have representation of every letter in LGBTQ+ and beyond represented within our ranks,” said Woods. “That’s paramount, that’s progress, that’s the city of Detroit.”
Detroit recently launched an LGBTQ+ and Friends Employee Resource Group to help with inclusion in the workplace.
“A lot of it is furthering workplace policy,” Bain said. “Because a lot of times, the city is ready for a new policy, but no one’s asked, and no one’s written it. So that’s why you see that we’ve accomplished really a lot in a short period of time.”
While there have been significant efforts toward change and making Detroit more inclusive, leaders said there is still plenty of work to be done.
Woods got emotional during the flag-raising celebration as she reflected on how far the city had grown.
“This work is not just my work,” Woods said. “It’s not just my role. It’s my ministry, and I’m fighting for myself. I’m fighting for my wife. I’m fighting for our community, just so that we can have the same equalities as everyone else.”