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Once again, it's "Hotter than July" for Detroit's black LGBT community

Leaders of Detroit's Black LGBT community at the Hotter than July kickoff.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Leaders of Detroit's Black LGBT community at the Hotter than July kickoff.

It’s time for Hotter than July, Detroit’s annual week of celebration and remembrance for the black LGBT community.

This year’s eventskicked off Tuesday evening at Detroit’s Palmer Park, with a vigil for community members who faced violence, diseases like HIV-AIDS, discrimination and oppression.

Organizers say the week of events often feels like “a big family reunion.”

But it also has its somber moments, like when attendees honored those who have passed away near a spruce tree dedicated in their honor.

“We nurtured that tree as though we’ve nurtured ourselves. And we’ve done a damn good job at that,” said Curtis Lipscomb, leader of the group LGBT Detroit, which sponsors Hotter than July.

Lipscomb noted that this is the 21st year of Hotter than July, making it one of the oldest gay black pride events in the world.

“Detroit has led. We have led,” Lipscomb said. “And we should walk in pride. You are your authentic selves at Six Mile and Woodward, at Palmer Park.”

Other events this week include a play, a religious service, and a daylong picnic in Palmer Park Saturday. LGBT Detroit is also celebrating the planned opening of a new community center.

But this year’s event acknowledges what Lipscomb called “a new reality,” with an active shooter training session, coordinated with the Detroit Police Department.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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