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LGBTQ

injured piggy bank
Ken Teegardin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's savings account wouldn't last long if there was another economic downturn. That's according to new analysis from the Citizens Research Council.

The independent government watchdog says Michigan's "rainy day" fund is slowly recovering after it was drained during the Great Recession, but the state is still unprepared for a new downturn.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what needs to happen to get Michigan's piggy bank back in shape.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren.
bieda.senatedems.com

A teen was recently attacked in Muskegon County. Officials say it’s because he’s gay. Now prosecutors and lawmakers are calling on the legislature to expand the state’s hate crimes law.

A 17-year old boy was stripped of his clothes and assaulted. The evidence was clear to Muskegon County prosecutor D.J. Hilson – The teen was attacked because he was gay. But when he looked at the statute, he couldn’t charge the case as hate crime, which comes with increased penalties.

Hilson says it’s time for the Legislature to protect all citizens.

Commission delays LGBT bias decision, again

Nov 14, 2017
Allen Allen / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has tabled a request to interpret the state civil rights act to include protections for the LGBT community. The vote was 7-0, with one absent.

Yesterday was the second time since September that the commission has voted to delay a decision on a request made by Equality Michigan for an interpretation of whether sexual orientation and gender identity may be included under the state ban on sex discrimination. 

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The ACLU is challenging Michigan’s policy of allowing faith-based adoption agencies that accept public funds to turn away same-sex couples.

The lawsuit says the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is violating its own contracts with those agencies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. It also says the department’s policy violates First Amendment and equal protection rights in the U.S. constitution.

Kristy Dumont and her wife say they were turned away by two Catholic adoption agencies when they tried to adopt.

From left to right: Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell-Horowitz, Fair Michigan Justice Project President Dana Nessel, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP), a collaboration between the LGBTQ advocacy group Fair Michigan and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, began a little over a year ago, in July 2016.

It marks an important new approach to pursuing hate crimes committed against people who are LGBTQ. And it's especially noteworthy today, as this week the Michigan Civil Rights Commission declined a request to add protections for LGBTQ people to the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, a law designed to prohibit discrimination in our state.

Bill Schuette

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is asking state Attorney General Bill Schuette for a formal ruling on whether it has the authority to extend housing and employment protections to gay, lesbian, and transgender people. That’s after an attorney from his office torpedoed a proposal the commission was on the cusp of adopting.

The commission had just wrapped up a two-hour public hearing and weeks of work on the request from a gay rights organization. The group asked the commission to determine whether protections against sex discrimination apply to LGBT people.

Michigan civil rights commission
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A large crowd is expected Monday when the Michigan Civil Rights Commission is asked to revise how the word “sex” is interpreted under the state’s anti-discrimination law.

Michigan Dept. of Corrections

It started with a taping of a 90s daytime talk show. In March of 1995, The Jenny Jones Show did an episode about “secret same-sex crushes.” Scott Amedure, a Michigan resident, nervously gushed to the studio audience about his feelings for an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz. Schmitz was then brought out in front of the cameras, where Jones, the host, revealed that Amedure was his secret admirer.

“Did you have any idea that he liked you this much?” Jones asked.

Forty years ago, I was in a special, high-pressure graduate program at the University of Michigan designed to make trained journalists out of otherwise hapless intellectuals like myself in a year and a half. It was an amazingly successful program.

Many of my classmates went on to jobs in senior management in places like both the New York and Los Angeles Times and the former International Herald Tribune.

President Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that the government “will not accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve in United States military.

A string of rainbow flags against a blue sky
Chomiji / flickr

LGBT activists say the state’s civil rights law is too vague when it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Now they’re calling on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to clarify the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act lists attributes people can’t discriminate for – like race, religion and sex.

 

Pixabay / Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Corrections has revised its policy on transition-related care for transgender inmates. Before the change, inmates were only allowed to receive hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery if this care was already scheduled before the person was incarcerated. Now, trans inmates can start this care in prison.

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

An effort to investigate and prosecute crimes against LGBTQ people in Wayne County is expanding.

The Fair Michigan Justice Project was founded a little less than a year ago. It’s a partnership between Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office and the LGBTQ advocacy group Fair Michigan.

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Democrats in Lansing are taking another run at expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Democratic State Rep. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo and Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor have introduced bills to expand civil rights protection to people who are LGBT.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of East Lansing is being sued by a farmer who claims his religious views are being discriminated against.

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

The largest national survey on transgender people in America shows a need for policy change in Michigan. That’s what a few transgender rights groups say.

Nearly 900 people in Michigan responded to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey and 22% said they faced mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression, while 17% said they had been fired before due to being transgender. 

Over a third of the respondents have been homeless at some point in their life, while only 14% of the country's population was homeless at the time of the survey. 

flickr user visionsofgrace / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

In some schools in Michigan, being a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or questioning high school student is welcomed and embraced. In other schools, LGBTQ kids have to stay in the closet or endure a backlash from homophobic students, or even teachers and administrators. 

Jackson City Council member Dan Greer says he will attempt to bring city clerk Randy Wrozek's job performance up for discussion at the next council meeting Apr. 25
Joe Gratz / flickr

Jackson city council member Dan Greer is criticizing the city clerk for mishandling petition signatures that caused a petition challenging the city of Jackson’s non-discrimination ordinance to be invalidated.

Last week, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered Jackson city clerk Randy Wrozek to invalidate petitions that had been blocking the city’s civil rights ordinance.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Jackson city council takes up a challenge to an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The council approved the ordinance in February, but opponents quickly collected enough signatures to force it back to the council. 

Opponents say the ordinance gives special rights to the LGBT community.

“Granted, you want to treat everyone with dignity, respect,” says Rev. Tim Nelson, “but I think the laws we have as they are do that.”

Ordinance opponents drew a sharp rebuke from an anonymous source.

chairs stacked on a desk in a classroom
Flickr user janine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Republican-backed bill to rollback Michigan's income tax died on the floor of the state House early Thursday morning. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about fallout from the bill's failure, including a leadership change in Lansing.

We're also talking about the Trump administration's withdrawal of Obama-era guidance on transgender students' rights in schools, the state's delay on announcing which low-performing schools will be closed in the fall, and a new "fake news" course at the University of Michigan.

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

The Jackson City Council has voted 5-2 to expand its non-discrimination ordinance to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new ordinance bars discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

"There was consensus and agreement that no one should have to live in fear of losing their jobs,  being evicted from their house, or refused service at a restaurant or a store because they happen to be a member of the LBGT community," said Derek Dobies, Jackson's vice-mayor and a city council member. Dobies supports the new ordinance.

Betsy DeVos testified at a hearing earlier this month.
Screenshot / C-SPAN

About a week ago, as attorneys and staffers helped Betsy DeVos prepare and file paperwork required as part of her confirmation process to become the next U.S. education secretary, somebody asked her about her ties to her mother’s foundation.

“She said, ‘Well wait a minute. I’ve never been on that board or never been involved with that foundation.’ Nor did she ever give consent for her name to be used,” DeVos family spokesman John Truscott said. “Best we can figure it was an error on behalf of the foundation staff and was never run by her.”

Flickr user rgmcfadden / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump’s victory sent people to their favorite social media platform to express their thoughts, fears and hopes as our divided nation tries to figure out what’s next.

A Facebook post from Michigan filmmaker Amy Weber asked each side to open up to the other.

“We will brush off our bruised hearts and open our arms to LOVE for ALL people and join together, because we MUST. Let’s use our powerful voices to educate and break down the walls that divide us.”

Weber is a lesbian mother and she said when Donald Trump was elected, she felt afraid.

Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The State Board of Education voted today to adopt voluntary guidelines to help schools with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students.

The guidance is intended to help schools create a safe and supportive learning environment for LGBTQ students.

The guidance was voted on after more than three hours of public comment where approximately 60 people were given three minutes to speak on the issue. Those who spoke included school principals, state legislators, students, and medical professionals.

Several parents of LGBTQ students spoke in favor of the guidance, including Joe Adcock. Adcock has a transgender son and said while his son’s school is very supportive, not all schools are.

“We’ve found a lot of schools don’t have this in place,” he said. “And they don’t allow the children to be themselves and it puts them at a great risk for drug abuse and suicide and just not being able to be who they really are.”

But others were not convinced that the guidance was necessary. Some say LGBQ students don't need additional protections. Others, like Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, say adopting this guidance will harm non-LGBTQ kids.

“This isn’t going to reduce bullying,” Colbeck said. “This is going to increase bullying. In particular against people of faith that stand up for what they believe. I think there is going to be a significant increase in bullying against them.”

The guidance, which passed with six votes in favor and two against, addresses issues like bathrooms and locker rooms, student privacy, and parental involvement.  

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

Transgender students in Michigan should be able to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that fit their gender identity.

That's what the state school board will advise in its finalized guidelines later this month, says board President John Austin.

These guidelines are totally optional for schools – but even so, they’ve been controversial, with a draft version drawing some 13,000 public comments online.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Marc Lamont Hill says we're in the midst of a war in America -- a war being waged on the vulnerable, the destitute, the struggling. Hill is a journalist and a political contributor to CNN.

Most often, he says, those vulnerable people are black, immigrant, LGBT and poor. Easily overlooked. Nobody. 

Marc Lamont Hill explores what life is like in 21st century America if you're nobody. 

Simon Kittock has said that rights for trans people are 30 years behind the rest of the gay community.
flickr user torbakhopper / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports attacks against transgender individuals jumped 13 percent in 2014, and nearly half of transgender individuals, 41 percent, attempt suicide.

When compared to the general population, trans people are nearly four times more likely to have an annual income of under $10,000.

A new West Michigan nonprofit is hoping to help trans youth get beyond these challenges. 

Leaders of Detroit's Black LGBT community at the Hotter than July kickoff.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s time for Hotter than July, Detroit’s annual week of celebration and remembrance for the black LGBT community.

This year’s events kicked off Tuesday evening at Detroit’s Palmer Park, with a vigil for community members who faced violence, diseases like HIV-AIDS, discrimination and oppression.

Organizers say the week of events often feels like “a big family reunion.”

But it also has its somber moments, like when attendees honored those who have passed away near a spruce tree dedicated in their honor.

Outside the RNC in Cleveland.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Rebecca Kruth and Jack Lessenberry wrap up the Republican National Convention and look toward Philadelphia where the Democratic National Convention is set for next week. Kruth and Lessenberry also discuss a federal ruling that blocks Michigan’s ban on straight ticket voting and the loss of one of the state’s most prominent LGBT rights advocates.


Jeff Montgomery at the The NAMES Project's AIDS Quilt Memorial Display Candlelight Vigil in October, 1992
flickr user Elvert Barnes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Jeff Montgomery was one of Michigan's first leading gay-rights activists. 

A personal tragedy drove him to become a fierce advocate for LGBT rights in Michigan and found the Triangle Foundation, which later became a part of Equality Michigan

Montgomery died this week in Detroit.

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