20th Century | mid-century on
Friends North, Inc. was the largest most active and influential GLBTQ social / political organization in northern Michigan for decades. In fact Friends North was one of the larger and more active groups advocating for gay and lesbian citizens in the entire state of Michigan.

We gathered in large and small groups at least once a month. Our endeavor was to create safe spaces and co-create community. We were an advocacy organization engaged in community building through our newsletter, political activism, the production of our regions only LGBTQ dances, events, film nights, and gatherings. Hundreds of people would drive to the Grand Traverse area from all over the Great Lakes region to attend our spectacular dances and pride events.

Friends North, Inc. produced the first Pride Events and Gay Proms in Northern Michigan, and were closely affiliated with our associates and allies at PFLAG, the HIV/AIDS Wellness Networks, the Triangle Foundation, the Men’s Group, the Thomas Judd HIV/AIDS care center, GLSEN, Hate Free TC*, We Are Traverse City, Inc., TC Equality, Out n’ About Coffeehouse, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Today | we collectively remember
This project will endeavor to gather information, memories, and images from the people that worked everyday, often anonymously and invisibly out of fear, for equal rights for all in northern Michigan. It is through the hard work of these individuals the GLBTQ community of today can enjoy the access and general acceptance many take for granted.

  • June 1997 | The alliance of human rights advocates and the regional people of faith community known as Hate Free TC stopped one of the world’s largest scheduled gatherings of Neo-Nazi skinheads in their tracks, organizing a three-day community hosted counter–event called United Fest. http://www.albionmonitor.com/9704b/whitestock.html