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Originally Posted on September 28, 2017

Last Saturday (a very hot Saturday), the second Love is Love rally took place. This time the rally was held in Hamtramck, the last one being in Ferndale. The turnout was nice. Many came out and showed their support. There were maybe one or two hecklers but the positivity drowned them out. The Love is Love rally is about LGBT equality, love for each other, and self-love.

LGBT equality is something that we still fight for now. In August, a LGBT leader's residence the target of an arsonist in Jackson, Michigan. The alleged hate crime took place not too long after the city passed its non-discrimination ordinance. ACLU Michigan has recently filed a lawsuit to challenge Michigan's practice of allowing state contracted child agencies to reject couples solely based on their sexual orientations. LGBT activists have also fought for LGBT people to be included in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, Michigan Civil Rights declined their requests. Our president proposed a bill to ban all transgender people from the military. Let's not forget the "bathroom" debate.

The LGBT rally kicked off with upbeat songs like "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga, and "I Wanna be Your Lover" by Prince. The wall decorated with heartwarming posters about LGBT equality, made by high school students across Detroit. 

Avery Grey, Huffington Post Queer Voices Contributor, member of MDPAN, gave an emotional speech about their life as an intersex person. They also read a beautiful poem about self-love titled "The Greatest Love of All". Avery's speech and poem was definitely the highlight of the rally. It represented what the rally was all about. The Mayor of Hamtramck, Karen Majewski spoke about her support for LGBT equality. She let the audience know that everyone is welcome in Hamtramck. It was nice to see a government official stand up for LGBT rights. Abhay Sinh Rathwa, a local musician, also performed acoustic guitar covers of "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King and "What a Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke.

Love is Love was full of peace and support. There were nothing but positive vibes in the atmosphere. MDPAN plans to have more rallies in various locations around Metro Detroit. MDPAN will announce the city for the next rally soon. We hope to see you at the next one.


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Originally Posted on September 11, 2017

Recently, I attended a Slutwalk protest in Detroit. I had been anticipating it for weeks. I was so excited to see all the signs and the outfits. But the Slutwalk is so much more than signs and outfits. It's not just about women walking around half naked. It's about taking a stand against rape culture. It's about speaking out against victim blaming, slut shaming, transphobia, sexism, homophobia, racism; I can go on and on. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't just about women being proud to be sluts. It does play a part in it ,though. And I'm not mad about that.

Detroit's Slutwalk took place in Palmer Park. One of the bordering streets of Palmer Park, is Woodward Avenue and West Seven Mile. Woodward Avenue is a notable street for sex workers. Many transgender sex workers have lost their lives on Woodward Avenue and West Seven Mile, making it an important street to have the protest at. I remember one of the speakers asking everyone to have a moment of silence to think about all of the sex workers who had lost their lives on the street we were standing on. That was the first time I had heard about that. I remember riding past those women as a child. I never thought about how dangerous it was for them. I never realized how many had actually died on that street.

Counselors had took the time out to support the cause and to also provide support to people who could be triggered by the stories of the speakers. I will be honest and say that a lot of the stories about rape were triggering for me. I tried to hold it in and distract myself, but my friend encouraged me to talk to one of the counselors. The counselor understood that I was angry. She told me that attending the protest was a step forward to me, and I agree that it was.

Hearing stories from victims of sexual assault and domestic violence gave me mixed emotions. I balled up my fists from anger as I listened to the things they experienced. It felt like I would burst into tears at some moments. I also thought about how much courage it took for everyone to share their stories.

Screaming "Sexual assault is not our fault!" with the other protesters was empowering for me. We also screamed, "Who's streets? Our streets!" and it made me feel so happy. It felt better to know that I wasn't alone. There was no judgement. No one was there to spread violence and hate. The protest was filled with love and support. I hope to see more of it in the future.

 

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19 Aug 20
3128 Goodson Street, Hamtramck, MI, United States
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7 Aug 20
300 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
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25 Jul 20
Philadelphia, PA, United States
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5 Nov 20
London, England, United Kingdom

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