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600 turn out for People’s History of the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids premier screening last night

November 18, 2011

Last night an estimated 600 filled the Loosemore auditorium and an overflow room in the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University to see A People’s History of the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids film. An additional 100 people had to be turned away, since we were already at over capacity.

The 1 hour and 45 minute film was the result of 69 interviews, archival photos, video, documents and a research project on how the Grand Rapids Press reported on the LGBTQ community in the 1980s and 90s.

Colette Seguin-Beighley welcomed the overflowing crowd who sat and stood for two hours and took in the rich history of organizing by those who identify as LGBTQ and straight allies.

The project has been amazing on so many levels. As one of the persons heading up the project it was amazing to learn so much about this history and to meet so many fabulous and dedicated people.

James Rider wrote, “I can’t tell you how proud I am after having seen this documentary to have been able to have had a small part in it. You really made a beautiful film showing just how far our community has come in what has really been a very small amount of time. Thank you for making the LGBTQ Community of West Michigan shine and for showing how many beautiful people have helped us to get where we are today!”

Tedi Parsons wrote, “Amazing film with some awesome interviews. Many memories shared and it reminded us all of our past struggles and what more needs to be done. Thank you to everyone involved in this film for bringing our stories to the big screen.”

We heard from dozens of people last night who were moved by the film and wanted to talk about ways to show it in other venues. If people want a copy, they can contact us at

Online Archive

In addition, we unveiled last night a new wordpress site specifically for A People’s History of the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids. On that sight you can listen to all 69 interviews that were used in this project. One can also look at archival pictures, documents and video we have collected over the past 10 months. We will be adding more archival video over the coming weeks and eventually adding the film to that site as well. We are also inviting anyone who has any additional archival material they are willing to share for this site to please contact us as well. Lastly, for anyone who wants to tell their story, we invite people to submit a video or audio history of their story or contact us about doing more interviews.

There will be other chances to see A People’s History of the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids in public venues and as of this writing the following dates are firm:

Sunday, January 8 at 6pm

Plymouth UCC

4010 Kalamazoo SE, Grand Rapids


Thursday, January 19 at 6pm

GVSU Campus Allendale, Cook-DeWitt

If you would like to do a public screening of the film and would want someone from GRIID to be involved contact us so we can publicize the screening.

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