In honor of Pride Month, the Detroit Red Wings are highlighting nonprofit organizations that recognize and celebrate inclusion, equality, love and togetherness every day.
Today's interview is with Kyle Taylor, development and community relations manager at Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center in Ferndale, Mich. The Red Wings have proudly supported Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center the past three seasons through exclusive game day experiences, as well as proceeds from the auction of autographed, player-used Pride Tape hockey sticks.
Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center was founded in 1989 with a mission to provide a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and cultures can find support and unconditional acceptance, and where they can learn, grow, socialize and feel safe. Among their many programs, Affirmations currently offers mental health services, a youth program, support and discussion groups, HIV and STI testing, and COVID-19 relief efforts such as a food box giveaway program every Friday at the Center.
Taylor, who's been with the organization for four years, spoke to us about the amazing work that Affirmations does in the community and its partnership with the Red Wings.
Interview with Kyle Taylor:
Q: What does Pride mean to you, and what do you enjoy most about Pride Month?
A: It means I'm able to be myself. Having the ability to actually have Pride Month is awesome. People fought for that, so just to be able to be myself is what Pride means to me.
Q: How long have you been a hockey fan, and what is your fondest Red Wings memory?
A: I've been a hockey fan since I was little. I remember going to Red Wings games when Yzerman was captain. Going to all those playoff games with my dad when I was little is one of my fondest memories. I'm not a big fan of other sports, but I could watch hockey anytime and I love going to games.
Q: As a fan, how do you like working with the Red Wings organization?
A: Working with the Red Wings for the last three years has been a gradual process. The first year was a whirlwind. It was a great partnership to start, especially to bring some diversity into the arena, so anything we could do, we were happy to bring people in that were fans of hockey. And in the second year, we got a group of our youth to go be part of Hockey is for Everyone Night, which was really, really great. It showed a connection for our constituents that we serve, especially when we're posting on social media at the game, that yes, the Red Wings do care about everyone and they're giving back and showing in different ways that they support diverse communities. And this past year was really awesome. We got to take some of our volunteers that are really interested in hockey and some of their partners to come and do the same thing. Continuing to elevate that initiative that the Red Wings do every year at Hockey is for Everyone Night is really awesome.
Q: What do you see for the partnership between Affirmations and the Red Wings, and how can fans support Affirmations?
A: I see (the partnership) progressing. The Red Wings are showing that they're really interested in giving back to the community and incorporating diversity into the organization. So keeping the partnership going and progressing as the years go on will be awesome. (Fans can) utilize our programs and services, donate, and spreading the word about what we do every time you know of someone who's LGBTQ+ in the area who might benefit from our services. Just point them in our direction, because you never know what people are going through.
To learn more about Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center, visit GoAffirmations.org