GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police has been celebrating Pride Month, which wraps up in a few days, virtually this year.

Pride Month is a celebration of and for the LGBTQ community. It began more than 50 years ago Monday with a series of demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village of New York City.

Today, MSP is celebrating Pride Month and sharing stories from troopers and support service staff who identify as part of LGBTQ community.

Among them is Lt. Mike Brown from the West Branch Post. He shared his coming out story on MSP’s website this month.

A courtesy photo of MSP Lt. Mike Brown.

“As it is for many, coming out was a deeply personal process for me, one that was many years in the making,” Brown wrote. “Many thoughts crossed my mind: Would my family disown me? Would my friends abandon me? Would my fellow troops, deputies, and officers still back me up? What about my career in the MSP?

“Although nearly 10 years have passed since then, I will never forget when I finally decided to be who I am,” his story continued. “My significant other (now husband) and I crept from the shadows over a long weekend knowing the MSP rumor mill would soon do what we hoped it would do. Reporting for work on an afternoon shift following that weekend, I was pulled aside by a veteran desk sergeant at the post. ‘I hope you can be a happier person,’ he said. ‘And if you have any problems here, let me know and I will deal with the person myself.'”

Brown said it was a moment of relief. He and others in the state police force now serve on department’s MSP P.R.I.D.E., which stands for Professionals Respecting the Identities of Everyone.