TRAVERSE CITY — Today marks the beginning of Up North Pride Week, a time to celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community.
But not everyone is as enthused as others.
Last week rainbows were put at crosswalks all over the downtown Traverse City area as a temporary art installation, with it came backlash ranging from questioning how it was funded, to outrage and bigotry.
"It's really sad to see a town where we're so open for tourism, for people around the world, to have so much pushback to this," said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers.
Carruthers said that security has become a bit more of a concern than usual, and that they are working closely with the Traverse City Police Department to make sure the festivities of the week run safely and smoothly.
"It's frustrating," said Carruthers, who sees the recent backlash as a loss of progress after coming so far when it comes to inclusion.
He said that it seems like attitudes started drifting back about four years ago, in part because of federal leadership.
Even in the face of opposition the organizers of Up North Pride are still optimistic.
Nick Viox, programming and events chair of the Up North Pride Leadership team, said in spite of the backlash the group is getting a lot of support from community volunteers and support through displaying pride flags, including the crosswalks.
He said that the backlash in a way proves the point for why pride is important, and that it provides a great chance for conversations and learning.
"It's so necessary for people that often don't have a safe space to feel safe and to have our community to surround each other with that love," Viox said.
Viox says that the close relationship with the Traverse City Police department is a great help and gives him confidence in the safety of all of the Up North Pride events this week.
Up North Pride Week Events This Week
More information can be found online at UpNorthPride.com/events