On a busy weekend, Whirlpool Corporation held its second annual Pride event June 29 at World of Whirlpool, 325 N. LaSalle St.
Among other things, the event featured a silent auction. DJ Marc "Moose" Moder provided the music.
Special guests included Honey LaBronx, known as "The Vegan Drag Queen" and the Hearty Boys, partners Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh. The guests were all featured in kitchens as they performed demonstrations.
Proceeds from the event benefited OutCenter, a nonprofit advocate for southwest Michigan's LGBTA community. The facility is located just minutes from Whirlpool's headquarters in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Brad Gorman, who calls himself the corporation's "chief gay officer," said, "This is an all-year celebration. We continue to make the workplace very inclusive.
"Also, we are really passionate about families. We were started in 1911 by families." Gorman then showed posters featuring LGBT families.
The OutCenter's Mary Jo Schnell said, "It can be conservative in that area of Michigan so there are family barriers and even physical barriers to getting to the center [due to the lack of public transportation]. However, the support we're getting from this event and other fundraising initiatives are so key to our success." She added that there's also no active gay-straight alliance in the three-county area.
The organization will celebrate its 10th anniversary Friday, July 26, at Lake Effect Pride at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor. (For more about that event, see http://events.stltoday.com/benton_harbor_mi/events/show/334441123-outcenters-lake-effect-pride-event-at-harbor-shores.)
Media was shown a video spotlighting employees at Whirlpool who are straight allies.
Whirlpool markets products in the United States under the brands Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air and Amana. Whirlpool, which last year incorporated benefits for transgender employees, is also the first appliance company to receive a 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, Gorman added.