LGBTQ | Michigan Radio
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LGBTQ

Terry Gonda
Courtesy of Terry Gonda

Terry Gonda says she is devoted to the Catholic Church, despite being fired on Wednesday from her job as a part-time music director at a suburban Detroit parish because she is in a same-sex marriage.

In a June 12 email, Father Michael LeFevre, the current pastor of St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish in Auburn Hills, told Gonda that she was going to be fired.

Jelmer Assink / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we’re checking in with the owner of a gym and personal training facility to see how he’s approaching reopening in light of an appeals court decision upholding Governor Whitmer’s order to keep gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 yesterday. Also, a conversation with Jim Toy, who has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights in Michigan for more than five decades.

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Jim Toy sitting and State Rep Yousef Rahbi standing on stage
Courtesy of Jim Toy Center

This year’s Pride Month celebrations coincided with a major victory for the LGBTQ community. The U.S. Supreme Court last week ruled that workplace protections outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to gay and transgender people. 

The ruling comes after decades of work by activists in Michigan and elsewhere to expand legal rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. One of those activists is Jim Toy. 

Hand holding rainbow LGBTQ flag
Stavrialena Gontzou / unsplash.com

A petition campaign to add LGBTQ protections to Michigan’s civil rights law is deciding its next steps.

That’s after a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that LGBTQ rights are already guaranteed by federal law.

pride flag
Liam McGarry on Unsplash

The campaign to add LGBTQ rights to Michigan’s civil rights law has more time to collect signatures, but not in time to make the November 2020 ballot.

That decision came Wednesday from a Michigan Court of Claims judge. She said restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19 deprived the Fair and Equal Michigan campaign of the right to petition the government. But she also refused to reduce the required number of signatures.

a rainbow chalk covered sidewalk
Jasmin Sessler / Unsplash

Like most things during this pandemic, Pride Month is looking a little different this year. Many of the normal gatherings and celebrations have been cancelled. Meanwhile, protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd continue to spread across the nation. Amid the unrest and uncertainty, some activists see this Pride Month as particularly poignant. Stateside spoke with Erin Knott, executive director at Equality Michigan, and Selma Tucker with Public Sector Consultants in Lansing about the connections between the fight for LGBTQ rights and the fight for racial justice. 

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Today on Stateside, less driving statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic means insurance companies need to distribute refunds. We find out about what this means for drivers, as well as how they’ll be affected by upcoming changes to the state’s no-fault law. Also, a look at how the history of LGBTQ Pride and the Black Lives Matter movement intersect. Plus, social media’s relationship to social change.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign filed suit Tuesday in state court seeking an injunction that would reduce the number of signatures required and extend the deadline for the petition drive to amend the state's civil rights law

The group alleges it is impossible to collect the 340,042 signatures required by state law by May 27 due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Aimee Stephens, the Michigan woman at the center of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court civil rights case, died on Tuesday.

Stephens was fired from a Garden City funeral home when she publicly transitioned from male to female in 2013. The resulting legal case asked a fundamental question: do laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex apply to LGBTQ people?

doctor holding red stethoscope
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a federal judge has invalidated Michigan's Medicaid work requirements. Republican leaders in the state Legislature are already pushing back. What does this mean for the more than 200,000 people in the state subject to those requirements? Plus, we'll talk about how the Democratic candidates for president stack up when it comes to addressing the concerns of black voters.

four of the drag queens from MI Drag brunch
Michigan Drag Brunch

On Sunday mornings, the West Michigan brunch scene gets served a meal full of realness, thanks to the drag queens of Michigan Drag Brunch. The project is the brainchild of producer and CEO Trevor Straub and performer Gabriella Galore. They said the project started as a way to bring the drag scene to an earlier morning crowd in Grand Rapids.

Heather Johnson

A former University of Michigan-Flint employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the university, alleging she was fired for advocating for better resources for LGBTQ students.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan will get a new leader this weekend, and it will be a historic event on two fronts.

The Reverend Bonnie Perry will be consecrated as bishop at a ceremony in Dearborn on Saturday. She will become the first woman and first openly-LGBTQ person to lead the diocese, which covers 77 Episcopal congregations in southeast Michigan.

Ruth Ellis
Sarah Uhle

Ruth Ellis was one of the oldest openly gay black women in the world when she died at 101 years old in 2000. She was born in 1899, 36 years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, and 15 years before the First World War started.

This was a time when our country was hostile to women, black people, and gay people. Ellis just happened to be all three.

A photo of a group of people marching and protesting
Unsplash

The stories of great activists are recorded in history books. Their words are quoted by politicians long after their movements have instigated large scale change. For the most part, history focuses on what activists accomplished. That can obscure the personal trials and tribulations of activists who organize and strengthen movements. We spoke to two activists, on opposite sides of the political spectrum, about the personal costs of a life of activism.

group of faith leaders standing in a church
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of faith leaders gathered in Grand Rapids on Tuesday to address the lack of legal protections for LGBTQ people in Michigan.

There is nothing currently in Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act explicitly banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hand holding rainbow LGBTQ flag
Stavrialena Gontzou / unsplash.com

Today on Stateside, a new campaign wants to add protections for LGBTQ people to the state's existing civil rights law. Plus, a conversation with a Detroit-born author and Instagram influencer who wants to challenge stereotypes about fat, black, and Muslim women. 

person signing a petition while another holds a clipboard
Svetlana / Adobe Stock

A petition campaign will start gathering signatures to add protections for LGBTQ people to Michigan’s civil rights law. 

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / flickr

A state lawmaker says Michigan should expand its hate crime law.

State Senator Adam Hollier says the law should also cover violence or intimidation based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. He says the threats against LGBT people are real, and range from threats and assault to murder.

mackinac island arch rock
VIPLAV VALLURI / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

Today on Stateside, we talk to a business leader who wants legal protections for LGBTQ people, and a gay politician who says they are not needed. Plus, an updated system for driverless cars is being tested on the streets of Detroit. Are people ready for them?

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in its first-ever case dealing with transgender rights.

The Michigan transgender woman at the center of it all will be there watching.

Samantha Forsyth and Grace Trudell
Sam Corey / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what does the ongoing United Auto Workers strike against General Motors tell us about the role of American labor in the nation's economy today? Plus, two women at opposite ends of the same career path talk about what it takes to succeed in the male-dominated electrical trade.

man in white shirt and blue tie puts hand over stomach and has a holster with a gun on it on his left side
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, do federal protections against sex discrimination extend to transgender people? A federal appeals court ruled that yes, they do. We'll talk with the lawyer who's asking the U.S. Supreme Court to come to the opposite conclusion. Plus, we’ll talk about Detroit country music ahead of a new Ken Burns documentary about this "uniquely American art form.”

Jay Kaplan and Aimee Stephens stand next to each other
Rowan Niemisto / WDET

 


Aimee Stephens took months to compose a letter to her employer in July 2013. It read: 

“With the support of my loving wife, I have decided to become the person that my mind already is. I cannot begin to describe the shame and suffering that I have lived with. At the end of my vacation on August 26, 2013, I will return to work as my true self, Aimee Australia Stephens, in appropriate business attire.” 

These words propelled Stephens into the heart of a legal case soon to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court ─ a potentially landmark case for the future of LGBTQ rights in this country.

foreclosure sign outside old home
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

 

Today on Stateside, a Detroit-based company tries to mediate the “plague” of tax foreclosures in the city of Detroit. Plus, we hear from a judge who might have made a legal path for LGBTQ people to go to court for discrimination even though there are no civil rights protections for them in Michigan.

For LGBT elders, inclusive housing and long-term care can be hard to find

Aug 9, 2019
a gay pride and trans pride flag close up
Unsplash

Some 4.7 million LGBT older adults — known as the “Stonewall Generation” — will be seeking elder care services by 2030. But are our long-term senior living communities equipped to accommodate the needs of gay and transgender residents?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force

 

 

Today on Stateside, former Michigander Jimmy Aldaoud was deported to Iraq, a country he had never been to, in June. This week, his family says he died after not being able to obtain insulin for his diabetes. We talk to a family friend about what happened. Plus, the challenges of finding inclusive long-term care facilities when you're an LGBT senior.

 

Adobe Stock

The ACLU of Michigan is asking a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by parents against the Williamston Community School Board.

The lawsuit claims a board policy that’s supposed to protect LGBTQ students from harassment is unfair to their children – and that it violates their First Amendment rights.

Jay Kaplan is an ACLU attorney. He says the policy protects the rights of LGBTQ students.

Why We Remember Stonewall

Jun 28, 2019

The Stonewall Inn is a sacred place for many in the LGBTQ community. Fifty years ago, a raid and series of riots outside the New York City bar helped launch a civil rights movement.

Courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

 

 

Today on Stateside, how two new major US Supreme Court decisions will impact Michigan. Plus, with the anniversary of the Stonewall riots this Friday, we look at the history of the gay rights movement in Michigan.

 

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