Michigan's Cool Cities: ANN ARBOR & YPSILANTI


In 1972, the City of Ann Arbor became the first city in the U.S. to pass a gay rights ordinance. Ann Arbor is home to the renowned University of Michigan, which in the 1970s was the first university in the country to provide a professionally staffed LGBT office. The Ann Arbor School System, the U-M and the City of Ann Arbor all offer domestic partnership benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees.

The 2000 U.S. Census reported that Ann Arbor has the gayest zip code in the state, and Ypsilanti's zip code came in second. Ann Arbor was the third highest city in Michigan for total same-sex couples reporting.

Where to meet:

Ann Arbor's gay hub is the Braun Court area, where there's \aut\ Bar and Restaurant and the Common Language bookstore, both owned and operated by Keith Orr and Martin Contreras. It is also the home of the Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project, the area's community center project, which hosts the annual OutFest celebration each October. For people on campuses, the U-M LGBTA Office is an excellent place for support and resources, as is Eastern Michigan University's LGBT Resource Center.

Politics

Washtenaw County was one of only two counties in the state of Michigan that voted down the anti-marriage amendment (Proposal 2) in the 2004 election. State Rep. Chris Kolb (D) from Ann Arbor is the only openly gay person in Michigan's legislature.

The Coalition for Adoption Rights (CARE) in Ann Arbor has taken the lead in the fight for second parent adoption in Michigan, and they are joined by the Lesbian Mom's Network and a new Gay Dad's Network which provide social and community support for LGBT parents.

Arts & Culture Spots:

Ann Arbor has great live professional theater at The Performance Network and in nearby Chelsea at The Purple Rose Theater. The Ann Arbor Symphony and the University Musical Society regularly bring world-class musicians into town. The University also has excellent museums and exhibits throughout the year. Before and after the show, enjoy the many wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and watering holes, or browse Ann Arbor's Farmer's Market.

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