Flint, MI–The scent of barbecue wafted through the air as attendees of the Flint Pride Cookout on June 25 mingled and embraced each other in the rain.

The cookout was one of multiple events that Flint Pride has hosted this past month to bring Flint’s LGBTQ community together. Teresa Springer, director of programming at Wellness AIDS Services, said the decision to opt for multiple smaller events rather than a large festival was made with the health of the LGBTQ community in mind. 

“We decided to not hold a bigger event this year only because there are a lot of vulnerable populations within the LGBTQ+ community and we understand that throwing a big event as we’re coming out of the pandemic could mean that the event would cause some sort of spread and we don’t want anyone to be hurt,” Springer said.

Caprice Castano and Jessica Foote wore their “Free Mom Hugs” shirts in support of Flint’s LGBTQ community. Both of them found out about the event because they are a part of “Free Mom Hugs,” a national organization of mothers supporting the LGBTQ community. 

The two came with the daughters as well as in support of anyone else at the event who needed a hug. The Flint Pride Cookout ran from 2-6 p.m in the parking lot of the Wellness AIDS Services offices. The event featured free food from Barbecue House and free items from local vendors such as Totem Bookstore, Wellness AIDS Services, and Safe Space Ally Center.

“Hugs are a fundamental right for anyone,” Castano said. “I hope that the LGTBQ+ community in Flint keeps on growing bigger with these events.”

This past month, Flint Pride has hosted an open mic crawl and a roller-skating party, along with fundraising events such as a “crossing over” event hosted by a medium.

More information about events hosted by Flint Pride can be found on their Facebook page.

Khue Tran (she/her) is a journalist hailing from Pflugerville, TX. She is currently a student at Yale University and has written for multiple publications on campus, in addition to having words in the...