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Identity, Empowerment Celebrated at WRiTERS NiGHT

Open Door Pride will host their first ever Pride Week June 19 – 23 in preparation for the second annual Open Door Pride Festival. One of the week’s events calls forth writers of any kind to share LGBTQ+-inspired material at the Holiday Music Hotel’s Tambourine Lounge. The Peninsula Pulse talked with Cathy Grier, one of the founders of Open Door Pride, about her hopes for the event.

Grier hosts WRiTERS NiGHT every Thursday at the Lounge. Her aim, week by week, is to create a safe space for writers at any stage to share their original works of poetry, prose, spoken word and song. She likes to think of it as an “anti-open mic,” she said, where people can “be [their] own human selves.”

The same philosophy especially rings true for this specific event. Since June 19-23 is the county’s Pride Week, Grier figured they should make that week’s WRiTERS NiGHT align with the festivities. She turned toward Jerod Santek, executive director of Write On, Door County and community member of Open Door Pride, to help organize the event.

While protocol at WRiTERS NiGHT is fairly laidback, for this specific event, Grier and Write On invited artists to reserve slots to perform ahead of time. They figured that since some individuals may not feel comfortable volunteering their LGBTQ+ material on their own, having that encouragement to sign up might make people feel more inspired and empowered to share.

Providing a space for empowerment is a large part of this event. Giving a stage for both the artists and the audience to experience and support the LGBTQ+ community within the Door County community as a whole is what makes this event special. The ultimate goal here is to strengthen the community and present a space where people will walk away knowing or feeling something they haven’t before.

Other events throughout the week include a film, photoshoot, t-shirt screening and dance mixer. And like these other events, WRiTERS NiGHT allows people a chance to experience art and the connections it provides within the community.

“Art is something you can’t quantify financially,” Grier said. “We all do it.”

It’s a tool people use to work through their emotions, Grier said, and it hones health in society. It teaches people how to get along and how to understand each other’s differences in playful and emotional ways.

“It creates the fabric to a stronger community,” Grier said. “It’s like walking through life with a little bit of a safety net.”

The whole week itself is meant to provide LGBTQ+ individuals an opportunity to celebrate their identities and their place within the Door County community. WRiTERS NiGHT is a way to tangibly show who they are.

“The importance of an organization and an event like the festival week is to just share that we have a lot more in common than we think,” Grier said.

Show your pride and support at LGBTQ+ WRiTERS NiGHT + Write On Door County at Tambourine Lounge, June 21, 7-9 pm. The event is free with suggested donations for Saturday’s festival.

Tambourine Lounge is located at 59 N. Second Avenue, Sturgeon Bay. For more information about Open Door Pride and Pride Week events, go to opendoorpride.org/pride-week-events.

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