The Detroit Historical Museum presents Come Out! In Detroit exhibit

On June 24, 1972, the first LGBTQ+ pride celebration in Michigan was held in Detroit, as representatives from Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and other cities gathered through the Michigan Gay Coalition. On this historic day, participants paraded down Woodward Avenue, rallied to speeches in Kennedy Square, danced at the Unitarian Church on Cass, and had a picnic the next day in Palmer Park. The rally took place in recognition of the stonewall uprising in New York City in 1969.

50 years after what is now known as Christopher Street ’72, historian Tim Retzloff and freelance illustrator Isabel Clare Paul joined forces to create a 32-page nonfiction comic book, Come Out! In Detroit, telling the story of the celebration. To promote the book’s release, The Detroit Historical Museum will present a special exhibition now through Sept. 11, featuring enlarged pages of the book to highlight the stories told from eyewitness sources and oral histories from this demonstration. The exhibition will also distribute free copies of the book while supplies last.

As a historian that has been researching Michigan and Metro Detroit LGBTQ history for more than 30 years, Author Tim Retzloff explained that this celebration has been something on his radar for a while, as his dissertation was specifically focused on lesbian and gay life in metropolitan Detroit from 1945 to 1985.

“I wanted to make sure that people knew about this event 50 years after because there have been Pride celebrations every year since, and except for the few people who are still around who remember the event, people didn’t know there was a pride in Michigan and in Detroit in 1972 and there’s often this surprise about that,” Retzloff said. “I knew that there was a need to tell the story, and that’s when I reached out to Isabel.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.