Michael points out my use of “sexual preference” in this article as being incorrect, even potentially offensive. I have edited it accordingly.
This guide is a useful asset for journalists/bloggers like myself, who are just beginning to have any significant contact with the subject. There are some pretty interesting items in this pdf… among them the startling revelation that there is indeed no “gay agenda“… please, don’t tell the paranoid commentors on MLive, it’d break their hearts! -Scott Warren 8-9-2011
(below is a video of the Executive Director’s speech)
Denise Brogan-Kator, Executive Director of Equality Michigan, spoke about how the organization was coming back to Grand Rapids to fill a need; the state of Michigan is not making much progress in promoting an inclusive atmosphere.
Equality Michigan takes the stance that in order for this to change, Grand Rapids has to get onboard.
Equality Michigan and other local organizations are coordinating their efforts to expand basic civil liberties and rights, to make sure that all citizens are guaranteed these protections under the law. Michigan law currently protects most citizens from discrimination in work and public, making it illegal to deny services, employment, or even housing access based on factors of national origin, race, religion, or gender.
Many people assume that these fundamental protections also cover a person’s sexual orientation, but under current Michigan law these protections do not exist. It is 100% legal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identification in housing, services, and employment.
Denise Brogan-Kator spoke about attending a recent discussion hosted by the Mackinaw Center, and how Gov. Snyder spoke about the need for inclusivity in Michigan’s future.
(below is a video montage of the event with excerpts from the Executive Director’s speech)
Having an inclusive environment, where as a community we count values of tolerance, diversity, and equality as priorities, is what it will take to help get the state of Michigan back on track to being a progressive place where people want to live.
Taking the leadership role on social issues sets the example for others on how we hold ourselves accountable for a higher standard of living. We have to expect more from our government, from our fellow citizens, and from ourselves if we want to foster a creative and dynamic environment in Michigan. If we value innovation, entrepreneurialism, productivity, and growth in meaningful social and economic ways, then we owe it to ourselves to cultivate an inclusive culture in this state.
After the event I found out that Grand Rapids LGBT activist Dave Battjes who also attended the Equality Michigan event, was physically assaulted and verbally abused by 2 men who told him “you don’t deserve to live” and called him homophobic names. Grand Rapids Police are investigating this as a hate crime.
It is an unfortunate event that highlights the need for organizations like Equality Michigan. Hopefully this incident will help bring more awareness to the struggle for equality within our communities.
- Equality Michigan Names New Director (pinkbananaworld.com)
- G.R.I.I.D. on the Equality Michigan viit to G.R. and media reporting on violence against LGBTQ’s (avantdrag.wordpress.com)
- the first steps on our journey… (avantdrag.wordpress.com)