About Motor City Pride

Motor City Pride is a 501(c)(3) association formed to host the annual Festival and Parade along with other community events to bring people together to celebrate our advancement in equality while working towards our goal of full equality for all Michigan Residents. Motor City Pride’s activities are designed to illustrate how Michigan is a vibrant state for us to live, work, raise our families, and to have fun.

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About
Motor City Pride

The Importance
of Color

As we continue to enhance the operations of Motor City Pride for our community, we've also taken some time to consider what our festival looks and feels like. This year, we focused on the importance of each of the colors we use for festivals materials. Our focus was on representing the diverse sexualities within our community and how we could highlight each of them respectfully. We were able to create a ``super rainbow`` by pulling the colors from each of the flags to the right. We see this swatch as something that can grow over time with our community.

The Origins of Motor City Pride

Motor City Pride traces its roots back to June 1972 when the first march was held downtown Detroit to protest the homophobic laws and to work for recognition for LGBT Rights and Equality. After holding the march for a few years, it expanded to include a picnic after the march which has grown into our current festival.

From 1986-1988, the civil rights march took place down Woodward Avenue followed by a rally at Kennedy Square. A party took place at the McGregor Center on the campus of Wayne State University following the rally, organized by a small number of dedicated Gay and Lesbian groups and volunteers.

In 1989, the Gay and Lesbian civil rights march was moved to the more central location of Lansing to attract statewide participation and political awareness as well as to celebrate the 20th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall Riots, the beginning of the modern day movement of equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender citizens.  Metropolitan Detroit was left without a LGBT march, rally and party, so during this same year, the first official Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival was founded and chaired by Frank Colasonti, Jr. and sponsored by the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council (DAGLC).

It began the tradition of being held on the first Sunday of June.  That year the Pride Festival took place on the Dearborn Campus of the University of Michigan in the gymnasium. In 1990, the event’s name was officially changed to PrideFest, and was relocated to the Royal Oak campus of Oakland Community College.

In 1992, the new chairman Michael C. Lary broke away from DAGLC and created the independent organization South East Michigan Pride to continue the mission of bringing the GLBT community together.  His leadership continued until 2001. During this time period the official name of PrideFest became PrideFest Celebration!

In 2001, the PrideFest Celebration officially transferred to the Triangle Foundation as part of Triangle’s community outreach activities.  In 2003, it was officially renamed Motor City Pride and moved to downtown Ferndale. From 2002 to 2008 it was chaired by Fred Huebener and Jackie Anding, and coordinated by Kevin McAlpine, Development Director at the Triangle Foundation.

Since 2009 Motor City Pride has been headed up by a core group of Triangle Foundation volunteers that form the Motor City Pride Planning Committee.

Triangle Foundation merged with Michigan Equality to form Equality Michigan; in 2012 Equality Michigan expanded the festival to two days and saw the return of a parade to the festival lineup of events.

The festival grew to drawing over 35,000 participants and featuring over 200 performers. In 2017 Equality Michigan assisted Motor City Pride founding its own 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization so the planning committee could concentrate on growing the festival, and to allow Equality Michigan to concentrate on its core mission of victim services, education and policy work.