Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Detroit Homo Tour

Last year I mused that the Kilpatrick administration really needed to make an overt gesture to the gay community, to make it clear that gay people are welcome and wanted in the city. I wasn't just asking for a feel-good affirmation of my presence here - I thrive on being places I'm not welcome, just ask the hosts of the last three parties I attended. But I'd spoken with many gays from the suburbs over the years who specifically felt a gay presence was not wanted in the city. And Kwame did make several gaffes early on which definitely sent that message (they all seem so quaint now, in comparison to his later gaffes).

It turns out I wasn't the only one who felt this way. There was never any big announcement, but over the past year our man on the inside of the administration, Brad Dick, not only was officially appointed liaison to the LGBT community, but he and other Detroit gays got together to create something that is, to my knowledge, an historic first for the City of Detroit: a City-sanctioned event to promote the growth of the gay community in Detroit.

The LGBT and Friends Home Tour takes place this Sunday, September 28, in the neighborhoods of Green Acres, Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, Bagley and the University District. It is an out-and-out (and out) effort to showcase this great cluster of beautiful Detroit neighborhoods to a crowd that may not consider venturing south of 8 Mile Road when looking for a new home.

With the suburban gay community maxing out on Ferndale and turning their sights east toward Hazel Park (HAZEL PARK!), now is the perfect time to show off the absolutely gorgeous homes and fabulous neighbors that lie literally just across the street to the south.

LGBT & Friends Home Tour and Afterglow - Sunday, September 28
  • Detroit Golf Club 17911 Hamilton Rd. Detroit, MI 48203
    Home tour runs from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
    (Pick-up and drop-off for the tour at the Detroit Golf Club)

  • Afterglow runs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Detroit Golf Club
    Tickets are $20.00 (includes tour and afterglow)
    (All proceeds to benefit the Michigan Equality Education Fund (MEEF)

  • Purchase tickets online – www.lgbtevent.eventbrite.com and the day of the event at the Detroit Golf Club

  • Representatives from the City of Detroit Assessor’s Office, C.R.E.S.T. (Coalition of Realtors Empowering, Stabilizing, & Transforming Communities), Lenders, Preservation Wayne, and more will be available to answer questions
The LGBT and Friends Home Tour is a NEXT Detroit neighborhood initiative done in conjunction with with the mayor's office and the University Commons organization. It starts at the historic Detroit Golf Club and busses will take attendees to one house in each neighbhorhood. Of note, the Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel House will be on this tour - that's worth the price of admission alone! And the afterglow at the Golf Club is sure to be a who's-who of Detroit's moving-and-shaking gays.

Personally, I was absolutely thrilled to hear about this event. It may not seem like much, but in addition to showing off a fantastic area near and dear to my heart (I went to high school in the Bagley neighbhorhood), it's a sign that at least some people in our city's administration are thinking of us. I guess belated kudos to KK for sanctioning the development of this and other plans to attract the gay community (even though it was totally kept on the down-low), and also thanks to the brand-spankin'-new Cockrel administration for not bagging the whole thing. We all know gay is a touchy subject in Detroit.

More importantly, it's time that the gay community in Detroit goes on the offensive to attract gays who are looking for a more urban lifestyle but are simply unaware of what Detroit has to offer. I am tired of talking to queens at Pronto who ask if I live in one of those "new lofts" or in one of those neighborhoods they rehabbed. I need queens in the city so I can socialize and not have to give a City Living 101 lecture.

Besides, Hazel Park is simply unacceptable. What's next, Warren? Sheesh.

This is seriously the cutest house I could find in a
google image search for Hazel Park.

A photo I saved - apparently for just this moment - from a Free Press article
about Hazel Park from about four years ago.



Matt said...

This is great! Thanks for the info.

BTW Not all of us in the burbs are ignorant about what's going on in the city. I love Detroit's great historic homes but I also love my 20's bungalow and neighborhood in Ferndale.

But, Hazel Park, seriously?

Anonymous said...

report back for those of us who can't make it, will you?

Woodwards Friend said...

Fun story: When seeking out a new place, we checked out this one place in Ferndale. It was east of Woodward, well east of Woodward. East of the railroad tracks in fact. It was a sad, little vinyl-clad clump of a house with one of those little wooden front porches just large enough for the mailman. The only positive attribute was a large back deck but even that was painted this bizarre, almost toxic, blue color. After the walk through, I told my girlfriend that the taxes may go to Ferndale but this was, in body and soul, Hazel Park.

I don't know who thought Hazel Park was a good idea in the first place but that person should be drug into a field and shot.

AmyinMotown said...

Hey hey SuperGay: I am a journalist and resident of Greenacres who is 1) thrilled about this event and 2) trying to pull together a story about it for one of the publications I write for. I'm having a heck of a time tracking anyone down who is running this thing. Can you help? I'm heading out of town for the weekend and hoping I can hook into it when I get back Sunday, but I need to have made contact before then. If Blogger doesn't let you get my email just leave a comment on my blog if you can help (if you put contact info in it I just won't publish it so people's phone numbers won't be all over the whole interwebs). Thanks for any help you can give.

(And seriously? HAZEL PARK? The ugliest house in Greenacres is 10 times cuter than the cutest one there).

SupergayDetroit said...

Well I am full-on stupid, it wasn't the Turkel House on the tour after all. But you can still drive by it and check it out!

Of note, the Turkel House will be included on the Palmer Woods in-hour concert series that is going on this winter, which I will post about soon. So you'll still have a chance to check it out!

brentwelsh said...

Thought the tour was fantastic. It certainly did it's job of trying to convince potential buyers. My partner and I are now very seriously considering one of these neighborhoods once our home sells in Ypsi.

Anonymous said...

Hmm -- actually, I was a bit disappointed in the tour. Granted, the houses are generally nice and older and what the gays are looking for and the areas they are in are nice areas and well maintained and you really cannot say anything bad about price (insanely affordable comes to mind), but where was the gay part?

There was only one house on the tour that was owned by a gay couple. All other houses were owned by straight folks. If the idea was to get the gays to consider moving, it would be good to not only show them homes, but show them that gays are welcome because there are already many gays living there.

I asked not only folks I went with (who came out from Ann Arbor), but also a number of folks on the buses and there was near universal puzzlement about how this was a gay homes tour.

I hope next year, if they do this again (and I hope they do), they try to make at least the majority of homes be ones owned by LGBT folks. The houses, by themselves, are great, but gays really want to be moving into a community where they can see themselves and on that mark, this very intentioned effort was blunted a bit.

Gerry from Ann Arbor

brentwelsh said...

I would have to agree with you that the almost complete lack of GLBT homeowners was a bit off message, but I've helped put on neighborhood events before and the first year is always a learning curve for future years. With that in mind, that is why I said I thought they did a great job.
Overall though, I think they did a good job of presenting the economic comparison of those neighborhoods (with far superior architecture) with its nearby suburban counterparts. So for anyone considering Ferndale, etc. the tours put Detroit on the map as an option and in that regard, I thought they were very successful. But like you, I do have higher hopes for next year.

SupergayDetroit said...

I heard this comment a couple times yesterday, about the lack of gay homeowners, but the tour wasn't so much a showing-off of gay homes as it was a showing-off of homes to gays.

And while not all homes were gay-owned (only the Sherwood Forest and the afterglow homes were), there were gay friends as docents in many of the other homes.

Most significantly, the City of Detroit was making an invitation - in an official capacity - to the gay & lesbian community.

Personally, I had about the best gay time I've had anywhere all year. It even had me thinking about abandoning my downtown perch for a little while. It was truly fabulous!

Well, except for that one small house. That was a little less fabulous.

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