In 2012, The Advocate magazine named Grand Rapids one of the "Gayest Cities in America."
The publication, which has covered LGBTQ issues since 1967, put Grand Rapids at No. 10 on its list, which spotlighted "the per capita queerness of some less expected locales." Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents agree that Grand Rapids is an unexpected choice for this list - but they also say that our LGBT community is larger and more vibrant than the city's conservative faith tradition might suggest.
Grand Rapids has long been the "big-city" side-stop for visitors to Saugatuck/Douglas, one of America's premier LGBTQ resort destinations. Creative design opportunities in the local office-furniture industry have attracted LGBTQ people from around the world, for many decades. Michigan's oldest gay bar, the Apartment Lounge, is still going strong in downtown Grand Rapids after 40 years.
Today, Grand Rapids is one of 20 or so Michigan cities that have outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in both housing and employment. Supporters say such protections extend fair and equitable treatment to LGBT residents while making Grand Rapids an even more inviting place for young, bright, creative-minded professionals.
The Lesbian and Gay Community Network serves LGBTQ and allied communities through referrals, resources and social groups.
The annual Grand Rapids Pride celebration takes place the second weekend of June at Calder Plaza.