OLD TOWN- Business owners and officials of Old Town express their acceptance and support of the LGBT community in many ways.
Old Town hosts the Michigan Pride March, Rally & Festival once a year where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered residents and their straight allies celebrate with a White Party kick-off. There is a march to the Capitol, a rally on East Lawn and then a return to Old Town for entertainment for all ages.
Business owners of Old Town acknowledge this Pride event but insist that Old Town’s acceptance and love for the LGBT community is a permanent thing, not just a once-a-year event.
“I would hope that everyone always feels comfortable in their own skin, walking around in this neighborhood,” said Ashley Lamb, owner of Old Town’s Lambs’ Gate Antiques.
“I haven’t run across issues where people would tell me that they didn’t feel welcomed. One way or another whether they were part of the LGBT community or not, I feel like we’re just one big happy family here,” said Lamb.
“You go to Michigan Pride and you see lots of couples holding hands and walking around and feeling like they are in an environment where that’s okay, they’re not going to get looks or anything,” said Holly Ekwejunor- Etchie, administrative manager at MICA of Old Town, the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art.
When asked if she thought that Old Town was LGBT-friendly enough, Etchie responded, “ I do feel like it is. It seems like there is a large LGBT population coming into Old Town and making a home here, which is always a good sign. So from my perspective, it seems like it’s a welcoming community.”
“We have gay lesbian bars here, we have a lot of representation of business owners that are really diverse. It’s not like all heterosexual people that own businesses here so I think we’re really well rounded and well represented,” said Louise Gradwohl, Executive Director of Old Town Commercial Association. “We’re a playful community in all regards,
“A lot of our businesses are behind and in support of Michigan legalizing same sex marriage just because it impacts some of the people in our community, so it definitely would impact their lives on a personal level,” said Gradwohl.