Ferndale Pride returns for 12th year
Gay pride was abundant in Ferndale Saturday where crowds of celebrants turned out to celebrate Pride 2022, the city's 12th annual parade and street fair celebrating the LGBTQ community.
Members of the gay community, family members and supporters strolled Nine Mile Road perusing dozens of booths selling artwork, T-shirts and other goods. Community groups turned out to provide information on resources and services.
"It's a chance to be visible, to support others in the community," said Bill Carey, 64, of Ferndale who attended with his partner, Larry Stowell, 63. "I always learn a lot of new stuff, and I see old friends every year."
Democrats Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens and about a dozen other state and local elected officials turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ community.
"This community's been through a lot, the last few years have been more challenging than anything we've ever imagined, and here's what I know," Whitmer told the crowd. "The greatest strength of our state is the people, every one of our people — no matter who you love, how you identify, how much money's in your pocket — and as long as I'm governor we are going to fight for full rights and equality.
"As a mom, I can tell you: I want my daughters and their generation and my generation to have full rights over their bodily autonomy," Whitmer added. "My oldest, who is a member of this community, deserves full civil rights just like every one of you do -- and we will not stop until that is our reality."
Nessel, the first openly gay official elected to statewide office in Michigan, said LBGTQ rights are under attack nationally, and people need to use their votes to elect candidates who support their values.
"The right to same sex marriage in the U.S. is in jeopardy," said Nessel, who is married to a same sex partner. "I say to the Supreme Court, you will pry this wedding ring from my dead gay hand."
Kurt Manuel, 32, and Eric Wilson, 30, attended with Laura Manardo, 29, all of Ferndale. Manuel and Wilson are engaged to be married in November.
"I'm a friend and ally, here to support my friends," Manardo said.
Manuel said the event "means everything" to him.
"It means community, and seeing myself," Manuel said. "It's the first year we bought a house, and this is the main reason we bought in Ferndale — for the gay community."
Wilson, his fiance, said "Pride means being able to be your most authentic self, anthere are still people who don't always get to see themselves represented in the community."
Officer Jill Mahlmeister, a community engagement officer with the Ferndale Police Department, said there were no public safety incidents reported at the event as of mid-afternoon.
"It's very well attended, a couple of thousand at least," the officer said. "There's lots of families and pets, lots of smiling faces. It's a beautiful day."