Flint celebrates this year's PRIDE Month in major ways

FLINT, Michigan — June is nationally known as PRIDE Month and celebrates the significant milestones the LGBTQ+ community has made in the United States and abroad with a host of parades, festivals, drag shows, balls, and more. With the rise in anti-discrimination bills towards transgender rights and access to healthcare, the banning of books, and states making it illegal to host drag shows, this year’s PRIDE month stands proud to make a statement and pave the way for a new generation.
For Michiganders, PRIDE Month saw Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sign an executive bill to establish the state’s first-ever LGTBQ+ Commission at Detroit’s Motor City Pride. The commission aims to address the challenges of healthcare, safety, economic opportunity, and more for the LGBTQ+ community statewide. 

In Flint, Mayor Sheldon Neely’s office announced a proclamation stating that the City of Flint recognizes June 2023, ’24, ’25, and ’26 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Mayor Neely’s proclamation sets the charge for Flint to fight for equality for all identities and genders.

And Flint will celebrate the month of PRIDE in style. The 13th annual Flint Pride in The Park, provided by local HIV/AIDs business Wellness Services, will happen on Saturday, June 24, from 2 to 8 PM, at Flint’s downtown Riverbank. Perrydox and DJ Hollidaye, with vendors, activities, performances, drag shows, and a Gay Pride Mini Ball competition, will mark the annual event. 

In solidarity with Flint’s LGBTQ+ community, Social Cycling Flint is hosting its first Flint PRIDE Ride on Saturday, June 24, at 7 PM. With bikes decked out in PRIDE colors, the ride will meet at Farmer’s Market and travel through Mott Park before ending downtown in time for the after-parties.

Social Cycling Flint is hosting their first Flint PRIDE Ride on Saturday, June 24, at 7 PM. The excitement doesn’t end there. Two new LGBTQ+ bars have opened in Flint, providing opportunities for nighttime fun. Robert Roland of Rob’s G Bar & Grill and queer artist and business owner HIMHIM will host an 18+ Club Renaissance Pride Party starting at 9 PM at 2713 Layton Blvd in Flint. The District, formerly known as 501 Bar & Grill, with DJ Paradise, is hosting its after-party at 10 PM in downtown Flint. 

Flintside caught up with Robert of Rob’s G Bar & Grill and HIMHIM to talk all things PRIDE in Flint.

Flintside: You’re hosting a variety of PRIDE events this year. The first was the Pre-Pride Pink Party at The Loft. What’s different with this event compared to your Kiki Ball last year? 

HIMHIM: “This year, I wanted to cater to my artistry. I wanted to create a “Renaissance” of my own for Pride. This Pink Party is the first of three acts I will do with this year’s Pride at The Loft. The Kiki Ball last year was just the first movement I created to give [Flint’s] queer people of color something more to expect and experience.” 

Flintside: You’re a pillar in Flint’s LGBTQ+ community, notably within the rising ballroom scene. Can we expect more events like this in the future? 

HIMHIM: “As of right now, my focus has shifted. I will be walking more balls than throwing them. Flint’s ballroom scene is small, though very active. I’m sure you’ll see more ballroom events continuing in the city from other pillars in Flint’s Ballroom community such as Tiffany Bassett who assisted me behind the scenes with last year’s Kiki Ball at The Loft.”

The 13th annual Flint Pride in The Park will occur on Saturday, June 24, from 2 to 8 PM, at Flint’s downtown Riverbank.Flintside: Rob’s G Bar & Grill is relatively new. With its focus on serving Flint’s LGBTQ+ community, what impact is the bar hoping to have? 

Robert: “[I hope] to provide a much-needed safe space and try to bring the community together and create a sense of camaraderie.”

Flintside: You’re hosting a Club Renaissance Pride Party on the 24th. What can people expect once they walk into the bar? 

Robert: “They should expect a warm, friendly greeting at the door from my doorman Kermit Lyons, great music from DJ Dreke, and me standing behind the bar with great drinks and a listening ear. Also, we have two hosts keeping the party going and two drag performances.”

Flintside: Finally, with continued attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, how important is it for Rob’s G Bar & Grill to be in Flint?

Robert: “To show that we will not take a back seat. We are here, and we’re not going anywhere. We are proud people and not ashamed to be who we are. Also, we can be a safe haven when the world becomes too much. Just come and let your hair down.”
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Read more articles by Xzavier Simon.