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LGBTQ

Amy Hunter is the Transgender Advocacy Project Coordinator for the ACLU of Michigan.
Cynthia Hunter

“I knew at a very young age that I was actually a woman.”

Those are the words of Amy Hunter. She is the Transgender Advocacy Project coordinator for the ACLU of Michigan ,and her story is one of the many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community that she represents.

Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba)
SenatorTomCasperson.com

The State Board of Education this month released a set of guidelines and recommendations it says will help provide a safer, more welcoming environment for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ).

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Republican pushback on the State Board of Education's new LGBT guidelines, an alleged bribery and kickback scheme now plaguing Detroit's struggling school district, and State Sen. Virgil Smith's jail sentence.  


Tony Webster

  State Senator Tom Casperson, a Republican from the UP, says he’ll introduce a bill requiring Michigan students to “only use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth” sex, unless they have “written consent from a parent or guardian.”

Even then, transgender student would be barred from locker rooms or bathrooms “of the opposite sex … if those facilities are in use or could be in use,” according to a release from Casperson’s office Tuesday.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

By Friday afternoon, more than 3,000 people had submitted online comments about the State Board of Education’s new recommendations for how schools should support LGBT kids.

These are just draft recommendations, and they’re purely optional.

Here’s a sampling of what the board is suggesting schools do to create a safer space for transgender students:

https://www.iconlife.org/welcome/
The Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, University of Michigan

The Next Idea

Rob Stephenson, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, admits that he is "obsessed with HIV."

State Board of Ed meets on LGBTQ policies

Mar 8, 2016
Bryan McDonald / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan school districts need to provide a welcoming environment for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students) and protect them from harassment, violence and discrimination. 

That's the goal of a set of practices and policies that the State Board of Education discussed today and is expected to vote on in May, after a period of public comment.

"It's about no child being left behind in terms of their life chances and education," said Board President John Austin. "And we want that to be true of LGBT youth all across Michigan."

Courtesy of Gidget Groendyk

A woman from a small town outside of Grand Rapids hopes to bring improved protections for the LGBTQ community to her hometown.

Gidget Groendyk is running for township supervisor of Sparta, north of Grand Rapids. Focusing mostly on discrimination issues against LGBTQ people, she is currently the only candidate listed as running. 

Groendyk is the first openly transgender person to run for office in Sparta, according to the township. She said she hopes both her candidacy and revised local laws will encourage others to feel safe living freely in her area. 

The ballot campaign to add LGBT and women’s rights to the state constitution is kaput, at least for this year.

Suspending the campaign

The Fair Michigan campaign succumbed to the reality this past week that it was not going to get the establishment support and financial backing it needed to put the question of adding gender equality and LGBT rights to the state constitution’s equal protection clause.

Supreme Court won't take appeal from fired state lawyer

Dec 19, 2015
screen grab from CNN report

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court won't get involved in the case of a state lawyer who was fired after hounding a gay student leader at the University of Michigan.

 

In a brief order, the court says it won't hear an appeal from Andrew Shirvell over unemployment benefits and other issues.

Shirvell was an assistant attorney general when he was fired in 2010. He had criticized Christopher Armstrong on an anti-gay blog, in Facebook posts and during visits to the University of Michigan.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

There’s a fierce debate happening right now in Michigan’s LGBT community.

Some activists are launching a big campaign to put civil rights for lesbian, gay and transgender people on the ballot. 

But others say voters just aren’t ready. 

LGBT discrimination is legal in Michigan. But making it illegal? That's tough. 

Here’s the reality of being LGBT in Michigan right now:

 There’s been lots of debate over the past few days about the political wisdom of going ahead in Michigan with a couple of ballot campaigns after similar efforts suffered big defeats last week in Houston and Ohio.

OH to MI? Apples to oranges

It’s the upstarts versus the Establishment. Again.

And, this time, we don’t mean the Tea Party versus the Republicans. Rather, we’re talking about the gay rights movement in Michigan.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bipartisan group is forming a ballot committee to put gay and transgender rights into the Michigan Constitution.

“Fair Michigan” wants to add protections based on gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The campaign filed as a ballot committee Friday with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

ladyaceboogie.com

Linda Tellis is known as Lady Ace Boogie in west Michigan’s hip hop scene. She is a community activist and is trying to change what she calls the “broken” world of hip hop.

Tellis turned her life around five years ago. She used to be involved in gangs.

“I didn’t have anybody to look up to. All I had was what was in front of me and unfortunately that was the streets and that’s it," Tellis said.

That’s all behind her now. In her latest album, Feel Good Music, she takes a stab at the hip hop industry and how rappers and artists are focused on fame and material things.


american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

U.S. Senator Gary Peters wants service members who were forced out of the military for their sexual orientation to have their statuses upgraded.

Peters is co-sponsoring the Restore Honor to Service Members Act to help simplfy the process of getting a less-than-honorable discharge for being gay changed to honorable.

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan activists are lobbying members of Congress to pass civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The Equality Act of 2015 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It looks like we won’t be seeing an LGBT rights question on the statewide 2016 ballot.

Yet, it was not that long ago that it seemed a near-certainty that LGBT rights groups were ready to go to the ballot next year to amend Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act if the GOP-led Legislature refused to act.

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down rulings on a number of cases regarding same-sex marriage this week.
user Ted Eytan / flickr

State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, is attempting to head same-sex marriage off at the pass with a new package of bills that would take secular elected officials out of the marriage business altogether.

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ken Wilson founded Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor and served on the national board of Vineyard USA for seven years.

dream hampton

On October 23, 2011 a 19-year-old Detroiter named Shelly Hilliard was murdered and dismembered.

It happened just three days after she cooperated with suburban police, according to a civil suit filed by her family against the Madison Heights Police Department.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Controversial adoption on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would allow faith-based adoption agencies that take public money to refuse to work with same-sex couples. That’s even if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.

The legislation says adoption agencies that take public funds can turn away prospective clients based on a religious objection. That pretty much mirrors the existing state policy.

Michigan can't afford to reject rainbow dollars

Jun 4, 2015
flickr/purplesherbet

The Next Idea

As a queer man who grew up in Michigan, I sometimes wonder why I decided to come back home. I fled Detroit for New York City after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2006, and truly thought I’d never look back.

Maybe I returned because New York City was already in good hands.

Maybe I returned because I realized that Michigan still needs more love, and that I still have a lot of love to give.

Kate Wells

The ACLU of Michigan is suing Ruth Johnson, the Secretary of State, for making it difficult – and sometimes impossible – for transgender people to get a license that accurately reflects their gender.

The policy essentially requires proof of a surgical sex change

If a transgender person wants to change the gender listed on their license or state ID, Johnson’s policy requires them to first amend the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Lessenberry explains LGBT issues and no-fault car insurance headlines

Apr 29, 2015
user Marlith / flickr.com

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry breaks down what happened during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing over gay marriage bans in Michigan and other states, why the state Senate also held a hearing on a religious freedom bill that same day, and why Michigan has the highest insurance rate in the country and possible changes to fix that. 


american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage, state lawmakers took testimony on a bill that could shape how some businesses react to the court’s ruling.

State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, introduced the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). He says Senate Bill 4 would simply protect religious practices against government interference.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage later this month, and a group of young conservatives is pushing to change the Republican Party platform on gay marriage.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Indiana has been in the national spotlight this week after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Today, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will veto such a law if it comes to his desk without legislation that adds protections for LGBT people to Michigan's civil rights law.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the DeBoer decision that briefly legalized same-sex marriage in Michigan in March 2014. To that end, there were some three-hundred one-year wedding anniversaries celebrated around the state yesterday.

ma.co. / Flickr

Legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBT couples or anyone else based on moral or religious grounds is headed to the floor of the state House.

A state House committee approved the bills as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on same-sex marriage. 

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