June is National Pride Month. Up North Pride is celebrating with multiple events throughout the month in and around Traverse City.
The non profit’s mission is to create a community where LGBTQIA+ members are celebrated and supported throughout life. They do this by creating inclusive spaces, providing education and resources and inspiring activism.
The group started in 2014, when a group of LGBTQIA+ community members met with the desired to represent and celebrate the queer community in northern Michigan. Up North Pride has now grown to be one of the largest pride marches in the State of Michigan. It’s also the leader in LGBTQ+ advocacy.
Advocacy can be many different ways a person shows support for LGBTQ+ people.
“Even the smallest thing you could do is just mention your pronouns as soon as you meet someone,” says Kendall Kotcher, Up North Pride Social Media Chair. “I/she/her pronouns and it encourages the person you’re meeting to also be comfortable, to share their pronouns. And be also comfortable with you.”
Accepting someone for who they are is an aspect of unconditional love. The theme of several immersive artist installations, inside shipping containers across the greater Traverse City area. The three artists have been asked to examine their relationship with the word ‘unconditional’ and have asked visitors to come see them with an open mind and heart, or unconditionally.
“To love somebody to have a relationship with someone unconditionally. So we think of the word unconditional to immediately be linked with love,” says Kotcher. “But there are other conditions that exist in the world. So if we’re able to give conditions to a word, we are definitely able to assign conditions to human emotions and behavior and that we pass on to others as we move throughout the world.”
Kotcher says being an ally goes beyond love, and what you can do when meeting someone who identifies as LGBTQ+. It also involves speaking out against discrimination or hate.
“We need to challenge those people and show them that we exist and we deserve to have the same rights as you,” says Kotcher.
Other ways to be an ally is to volunteer, sponsor events or donate to their cause.
For a list of Up North Pride events, or how to volunteer or donate, visit .
© 2023 - 910 Media Group